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PPG donates PPG CORAFLON ADS coatings to restore flying saucer in Mars, Pennsylvania

May 31, 2019 - PPG announced that it has donated PPG CORAFLON ADS coatings, including primer, metallic topcoat and clearcoat, to refurbish the famous flying saucer that has been a fixture in downtown Mars, Pennsylvania, since the early 1980s. The new coating system is expected to last a minimum of 15 to 20 years.

The spaceship, which measures about 9 feet (2.7 meters) in diameter and weighs nearly 2,000 pounds (907 kilograms), was removed by crane from its perch in the Mars town square near the end of March 2019. Oesterling’s Sandblasting & Painting in nearby Butler, Pennsylvania, sandblasted and recoated the saucer, with the Mars Historical Society choosing the silver-metallic color.

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Experts from the PPG TRUEFINISH® industrial coatings business recommended PPG Coraflon ADS coating system for its durability and texture. The system is formulated with an advanced fluoroethylene vinyl ether (FEVE) fluoropolymer resin to provide decades of corrosion protection and brilliant chalk- and fade-free color on skyscrapers, storefronts and other high-visibility architectural applications.

The restored flying saucer was reinstalled on May 23 in time for the Mars Exploration Celebration being held May 31 through June 2 and sponsored for the first time by the PPG Science Education Council. The event is an extension of the town’s Mars New Year celebration, which was held on March 21. A new year begins on the planet every 678 days.

Jackie Kulfan, PPG proposal and contract manager and Mars resident, got the idea to donate the PPG coatings after the last Mars New Year celebration in 2017.

“I saw a photo from two years ago with Chris (Clutter, secretary of the Mars Area History and Landmark Society) standing on the spaceship and painting it with a roller,” said Kulfan. “We are pleased to help protect and beautify this iconic town landmark, which is located about 25 miles north of PPG’s global headquarters in Pittsburgh.”

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According to Gregg Hartung, mayor of Mars, a local resident built the spaceship as a gag by welding the ends of two fuel tankers together and adding a top. Now a roadside attraction, the flying saucer has been the backdrop for a handshake between an American astronaut and a Russian cosmonaut following their journey to one of the early space stations. It was also filmed for a British Broadcasting Company (BBC) documentary.

Mars Exploration Celebration is a science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) event that is hosted in conjunction with NASA. Attractions will include a flight simulator, robots, rockets and a professional drone show featuring 100 drones flying over Mars.

“Greater Pittsburgh is our headquarters community, and we remain committed to increasing the educational, cultural and recreational opportunities for our employees, customers and neighbors,” said Sharon Bird, PPG TrueFinish marketing manager. “By investing in educational activities like the Mars Exploration Celebration, we help grow today’s skilled workforce and develop tomorrow’s innovators in fields related to coatings and manufacturing.”

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