back to article NASA's classic worm logo returns for first all-American trip to ISS in years: Are you a meatball or a squiggly fan?

NASA has brought back its sleek iconic logo, lovingly named the worm for its curvy red font, in time for its first crewed spaceflight using American rockets in almost a decade. Jim Bridenstine, the US space agency’s administrator, announced the resurrection of the graphic this week. It has been splashed across one of SpaceX’s …

  1. EvilGardenGnome
    Devil

    Sperm or worm?

    Team worm.

  2. redpawn Silver badge

    Everything old is new again

    Pandemics also make a comeback.

    1. Yet Another Anonymous coward Silver badge

      Re: Everything old is new again

      They had considered going back to the earlier logo used by von Braun

      1. TeeCee Gold badge
        Coat

        Re: Everything old is new again

        Not a great idea. All the ones with that logo on them blew up!

  3. Snake Silver badge

    Meatball

    Definitely. It says more that just text and it harkens back to the very best of NASA, the ultimate heroism.

    1. Richard Boyce

      Re: Meatball

      The heroism is real but often needless. Uncrewed missions are far cheaper, and deliver more science. Failures may be personal disasters for the people behind the missions, but they'll live to explore another day.

      1. Quantum Leaper

        Re: Meatball

        A maned mission can do far more Science than an Uncrewed mission. Also get the people to support Nasa more, which is what they need more than anything else if we are to return to the Moon and Beyond.

        1. Gonzo_the_Geek

          Maned?

          What difference will having more hair have?

          1. KittenHuffer Silver badge

            Re: Maned?

            Don't you know that in space nobody sees your hair wave!

          2. Jimmy2Cows Silver badge
            Coat

            Re: What difference will having more hair have?

            To baldly go where no one has gone before...?

            (respects to Captain Jean-Luc Picard)

          3. Teiwaz Silver badge

            Re: Maned?

            there's always the 'alleged' sixties excuse for non-short back and sides, crew cuts, buzz cuts, duckies, etc.

            That hair are your antenna for contacting the cosmic alien zen masters.

        2. GruntyMcPugh Silver badge

          Re: Meatball

          @Quantum Leaper "A maned mission can do far more Science than an Uncrewed mission."

          Horse puckey son. Manned missions are very limited in scope to the very few trips we've have to the Moon (although we'd already had regolith reruned to Earth via a lander, and there's a long list of non-manned missions), plus Skylab, Mir and ISS time. Manned missions have told us nothing about Mars, nor any of the other celestial bodies probes have visited. We've been further, and done far more, sans meatsacks.

          1. Anonymous Coward
            Anonymous Coward

            Re: Meatball

            @GruntyMcPugh

            "We've been further, and done far more, sans meatsacks."

            Suggested correction:

            "We've been further, and done far more, sans ugly... ugly... giant bags of mostly water."

          2. el_oscuro
            Boffin

            Re: Meatball

            Manned missions have definitely told us nothing about Mars - since we haven't been there. 50 years later, we are still learning science from the Moon ones.

            Any manned trip to Mars is by definition long term and somewhat self sustaining - if for no other reason than planetary alignment. The amount of science meat bags could collect on a trip is absolutely mind blowing.

        3. Version 1.0 Silver badge
          Joke

          Re: Meatball

          Had the Apollo 13 mission been un-manned then it would have probably been passing Pluto this week, yes, theoretically more science but with no way to get the science back because that wasn't in the design.

          But you have a point, had the Niña, the Pinta, and the Santa Maria been uncrewed then it would be a different world today.

      2. Spanners Silver badge
        Meh

        Re: Meatball

        Uncrewed missions are far cheaper

        But this is investigation (still a good thing) and not exploration.

        1. bombastic bob Silver badge
          Trollface

          Re: Meatball

          uncrewed space missions are like haaving sex through VR and video games.

    2. Benchops

      Re: Meatball

      First time I saw the meatball logo I was reminded of the Blake's 7 logo.

      Perhaps some obvious themes going on in both, but more than a passing resemblance I think!

      https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Blake%27s_7

      1. jelabarre59 Silver badge

        Re: Meatball

        First time I saw the meatball logo I was reminded of the Blake's 7 logo.

        My understanding was the "arrow" in the Blakes7 logo was meant as an intentional swipe at Star Trek's Starfleet emblem. In fact, the United Earth Space Probe Agency emblem looks even more like the B7 logo.

      2. The Oncoming Scorn Silver badge
        Gimp

        Re: Meatball

        Meatball, begat/subverted into the Enterprise Arrow (Rotated 90 degrees), subverted back again for BBC & Blakes 7*.

        Icon - Closest thing to a Federation Trooper

        *As some Federations really need taking down.

    3. bombastic bob Silver badge
      Devil

      Re: Meatball

      yeah, the old meatball logo looks more "science fiction"-y than the worm.

  4. Dan 55 Silver badge

    I'm a fan of meatball and spaghetti

    May his noodly appendage touch us all.

    1. Anonymous Coward Silver badge
      Alien

      Re: I'm a fan of meatball and spaghetti

      Exactly. It's not a worm, it's a noodle. in homage to His almighty noodliness

      1. Androgynous Cupboard Silver badge

        Re: I'm a fan of meatball and spaghetti

        Oh, to slip the surly bonds of earth and lick the face of god.

  5. Flocke Kroes Silver badge

    Meanwhile in Boca Chica

    We need a SpaceX logo in hulkbusters font because they are really crushing it with SN3.

  6. Mr Dogshit
    Thumb Up

    Worm!

    As used on the orbiters, which were awesome!

    1. Dave559 Bronze badge

      Re: Worm!

      When I was a kid (and I suspect age may be a significant factor in our logo preference here), the worm undeniably said Heading Into the New and Bold Future [1], without a doubt, so I have a particular soft spot for it.

      At the same time, the meatball has a definite classic mission patch look to it.

      So, may I suggest an addendum to the style guide?

      If you can stitch it to something := meatball.

      If you can stick it on something := worm.

      [1] Of course, it now looks like a very 1970s version of the future, but the future always does, won't it?

    2. adam 40
      Pint

      Re: Worm!

      I had a black mug with the NASA worm logo in gold - awesome (although you couldn't microwave it) I bought it at the Kennedy Space Centre.

      Sadly the mug was broken recently.

      A contractor friend of mine, Trevor, once asked me "Cool, where did you get that from?"

      I replied "Nasa". We both smiled.

      Sadly Trevor died a few years later.

      RIP Trevor.

      RIP Nasa mug.

  7. Julz Silver badge

    When

    An organization turns to messing around with it's logo instead of it's products, it tends to be a bad sign for that organization. I hope I'm being a bit too pessimistic.

    1. LDS Silver badge

      "We've got a logo, everything is fine!!"

      "What about the SLS delays??? What about that Boeing capsule that can't set a watch properly???"

      "Did you see the logo? Look at the logo, isn't cute?"

      1. John Brown (no body) Silver badge

        Re: "We've got a logo, everything is fine!!"

        AKA the Trump Defense

    2. JClouseau

      Re: When

      https://www.gocomics.com/calvinandhobbes/1989/10/31

      (I'm totally allowed to post this, I've bought the "Complete" books !)

      I'm more of a "wormer" myself, but I'm almost a boomer and 70's stuff kind of hit a chord. That being said the meatball with the orbiting spermatozoon is also cool, "Jetsons' style".

    3. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: When

      To be fair, they're not messing with the logo just pulling one they'd used before back out of retirement.

      No PR/Design consultants blowing millions to come up with helvetica and two letters in a circle required <cough>BT</cough>.

      Anon because I might be working for them.

    4. Snake Silver badge

      Re: When

      Yes, maybe you are being to pessimistic

      https://www.theatlantic.com/entertainment/archive/2015/09/how-the-meatball-triumphed-at-nasa/403171/

      The meatball seems to be a fantastic internal moral booster, and in that case I'll vote a double-hearty YES! to it.

    5. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: When

      I don't think all 17,000 NASA employees were tied up with the logo decision.

  8. Christoph

    We may not have a rocket, but we have TWO logos!

  9. This post has been deleted by its author

  10. Joe Gurman

    I worked for that outfit for 33 years

    ....and another six as a contractor. The only day I felt lower about the place than the days we lost Challenger and Columbia were when I read the "No meatballs with worms and no worms with meatballs" (that is, don't mix old and new letterhead and envelopes) memo from Hindquarters. That was how trivial and mean-spirited the agency's management had become under Smilin' Dan Goldin. (To give the devil his due, his "Faster, Better, Cheaper" push for robotic spacecraft was a good idea for science, no matter how much it was opposed by the stodgy geezers of the day with "Which two out of three do you want?")

    I get the impression that Mr. Bridenstine wants to associate NASA in the public mind with exploration, adventure, discovery, and the future — which is a lot of what attracted public favor in the 1960s. If he can actually get an agency that is mired in "governmental" bureaucracy in a way it never was sixty years ago to produce excitement, NASA will have earned the right to wear the worm logo again.

    1. myhandler

      Re: I worked for that outfit for 33 years

      Nothing mean spirited or trivial about it - it's very bad communcation to use two different logos on one thing. Shouldn't use two diffferent logos at the same time either.

      Brand identity has knock on effects. Using two logos clearly displays that the organisation is NOT a single integrated, coordinated entity.

    2. Yet Another Anonymous coward Silver badge

      Re: I worked for that outfit for 33 years

      I worked with the ESA team that did the original european camera on Hubble

      When it had its little optical problem there was an urgent push to release some pretty pictures to show it was still usable.

      They press releases had both the Nasa logo and ESA logo. But printed the same width the square ESA logo looked bigger than the rectangular Nasa and so Nasa blocked the publication until they reached an agreement.

  11. The Mighty Spang

    meatball

    The worm feels like technology. Meatball is the wonder of space

  12. OssianScotland Silver badge
    Pint

    Meatball, definitely...

    ...and all together, to the tune of "Gimme that Old Time Religion"

    "If it's good enough for Glenn, then it's good enough for me"

    TFI Friday. Is it Beer O'Clock yet?

  13. Down not across

    Both

    Why not use both? Meatball is great for earthly signs and stationary. Worms/noodles looks good on the (space) vehicles.

    1. Emir Al Weeq
      Headmaster

      Re: Both

      So that would be

      stationary - meatball

      moving - worm

  14. Klimt's Beast Would
    Holmes

    Opportunty lost?

    If only they had made small modifications to the worm logo so that all the letters join up.

    Why?

    Because you could then practice moving a metal loop through the letters without touching and try not to get a shock! Now try doing that in space.

    https://www.instructables.com/id/Wire-Loop-Game/

    Sherlock icon, because that is not pipe tobacco.

  15. JK63

    Why not the meatball logo on one side and the worm logo on the other? Old and new.

    Too much weight?

    1. Dave 126 Silver badge

      Like the story of the Mercedes racing team finding their car was over the weight limit... so they sanded the body back to bare aluminium.

      1. Yet Another Anonymous coward Silver badge

        Although being MB they would make you choose and pay for a colour, paint it that colour and then charge you again for sanding it back.

  16. Michael H.F. Wilkinson Silver badge
    Thumb Up

    Honestly, just use both

    The meatball reminds me of the heady days of Apollo, which got me hooked on astronomy and space exploration, the worm carries equally fond memories of the shuttle and many other missions. So just use both.

    No, I won't come down, I am quite comfortable on this fence

  17. Mike Moyle Silver badge

    Worm weirdness

    A friend, back in the late '70s - early '80s had a disposable cigarette lighter that he had apparently bought on a tour of the Cape. It was lying on the coffee table one day and, curious about it and not being familiar with the worm logo yet, I had to ask him what VSVN was.

  18. aregross

    I always thought the "A" in the worm logo looked like the nose of The Shuttle. Maybe intentional?

    Still, I voted Meatball

  19. Marketing Hack Silver badge
    Alien

    The "Worm" has (re)turned???

    Sorry, that's all I've got.

    1. Fruit and Nutcase Silver badge

      Re: The "Worm" has (re)turned???

      I really must get my eyes tested, or am just getting old - didn't spot this before I posted (below)

  20. Fruit and Nutcase Silver badge
    Thumb Up

    The Worm

    that [re]turned

  21. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Why not use neither?

    Shouldn’t the Falcon have SpaceX proudly displayed all over it? What have NASA contributed except a launch pad and an utterly irritating obsession with giving Boeing second chances?

    1. Mike Richards Silver badge

      Re: Why not use neither?

      NASA awarded Space X about $400 million for the development of The Falcon 9 and committed itself as the first customer for the rocket. So - quite a lot really.

  22. Christian Berger

    BTW they use a somewhat different logo in Germany

    https://www.nasa.de/

  23. FrankAlphaXII

    I'm actually from the Space Coast, I lived there for about 30 years, and I've never liked the Worm Logo. It sucked then and still sucks now. When they brought the meatball back (mostly to cover up the Bicentennial Star on the VAB, more than 20 years after 1976) it was a great day. The meatball looks much better, the Worm looked like something a Federal Agency would come up with to look "sci-fi" and "cool"

    1. The Oncoming Scorn Silver badge
      Coat

      Space Force in other words....

  24. el_oscuro

    Should have an option for both

    The worm looks awesome on the side of a rocket. The meatball should be on all letterheads and coffee mugs.

  25. Captain Quack

    the old days

    The Meat Ball represented the dream for those of us who remember the early days and watched he Moon Landing live for the very first time it had ever been seen by man kind. the worm is the symbol of pissing it all away.

    "we used to be able to put a man on the moon. so why can't we do ..."

  26. Big_Boomer Silver badge

    Hmmm,.... 60s' vs 70s? For fashion 60's, for music 70's, for cars 60's, for TV the 70's. For NASA logos why not hold a competition to design a new one for the 2020s rather than try to decide which of the two very dated old ones is best? FFS, the 1970s is now over 40 years ago!

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