Monday, January 28, 2008

NASA "meatball" logo

i just read the print on the back of a NASA sticker i picked up at the AAS meeting in austin. i learned that the NASA insignia was designed in 1959 and has been referred to as the "meatball" since 1975!? the sphere represents a planet, the stars represent space, the red chevron wing represents aeronautics (the latest design in hypersonic wings at the time the logo was developed), and the spacecraft orbiting around the wing represents space travel.


i spy with my little eye, three stars close together in a line....

i still dont quite understand how the word "meatball" fits into this insignia, but i give huge props to NASA anyway, for giving out some great stuff this year at AAS! the calendar i picked up is fantastic, the image changing COBE/WMAP postcard is cool, and i love my little black cleat bag! thanks NASA! (where is this kind of positive press for NASA in the popular media?)

7 comments:

Ed said...

This was called the Meatball because the mid-70s NASA logo was just a stylized version of the letters NASA, which some called the "worm" or "spaghetti" logo. Ergo, spaghetti and meatball.

astropixie said...

ah.... that makes more sense! thanks ed!

Harvestar said...

The "worm" logo had been in use for a while when Dan Goldin became director (late 90's). He then set out to eradicate it from use (in favor of the "meatball"). The stories I heard while working there for a summer included people having to tape over any "worm" logos if he would be visiting an office.

So there became a sort of "look for the worm" hunt that summer with the most prominent one being on the side of NASA headquarters (where Dan Goldin had his office).

changcho said...

Never heard of the term 'meatball' to refer to the NASA logo...In any case, and imho, it's one of the coolest logos ever.

wanderingspace said...

the logo is fantastic. i love that thing.

wanderingspace.net said...

i makes logos for a livin' and that one is the cream in my coffee and the top head on my totem pole.

vincent g said...

In a nut shell:

1915 NACA is formed, wing logo

1958 NACA is dissolved and NASA is formed, seal is designed

1959 NASA simplifies the seal for its new logo

1975 NASA has a new logo designed because the old logo is difficult to reproduce with current technology. A mudslinging campaign against the old logo is started to promote the new logo. The term Meatball logo is coined, it looks like a meatball.

1992 NASA, Administrator Daniel Golden, longs for the good old days and the old logo and starts his campaign to eradicate the Worm from existance.

Egos, egos, egos.