On July 29, 1958, President Dwight D. Eisenhower signed the 1958 National Aeronautics and Space Act and on October 1, NASA opened its doors. In 2018, NASA is celebrating this momentous occasion all year long with a look back at its incredible list of accomplishments via a 60th Anniversary webpage. And as part of the year-long celebration, NASA has just unveiled a special 60th anniversary logo:
The logo was created by NASA graphic artist Matthew Skeins and the agency explained its meaning in a recent press release:
“NASA” and “60” are stacked, bold and tall, atop the continental United States, the curvature of Earth, and the light of an approaching dawn. This placement captures the spirit of a metaphor about knowledge and discovery, often attributed to 17th century physicist Isaac Newton: “If I have seen further than others, it is by standing on the shoulders of giants.” Similarly, NASA was built from the legacy and expertise of giants in government-sponsored research and development, including the National Advisory Committee for Aeronautics (NACA), the Naval Research Laboratory, the Army Ballistic Missile Agency, and the Jet Propulsion Laboratory.
The United States is shown at night beneath a sparkling web of yellow lights. This symbolizes NASA’s vibrancy and relevance, the inspiration derived from NASA’s work, and the solid foundation of the “best and brightest” among industry and academia upon the agency’s leadership in space is built. The light blue and white arc just below the alphanumeric elements recalls the sunrise, seen 16 times each day aboard an Earth-orbiting spacecraft, and symbolizes opportunity yet to come through exploration of the Moon, Mars and destinations far beyond.
Two vectors, one blue and one red, circle the alphanumeric elements and point toward the dark outer edges of the logo as if zooming into the unknown. In doing so, they form a “6,” which is emblematic of the number of decades since NASA was established. The blue vector represents NASA’s roots in aeronautics research and the societal impact of our first views of Earth as a solitary “blue marble” in the vast blackness of space. The red vector represents NASA’s leadership of an innovative and sustainable exploration program that engages commercial and international partners; enables expansion of human presence to the Moon, Mars and throughout the solar system; and brings new knowledge and opportunities back to Earth. Depicted at the tip of this vector are the key elements of NASA’s deep space transportation system, the Space Launch System rocket and Orion crew vehicle.
A crescent moon, a ringed planet and a field of stars amid a nebula of light blue represent NASA’s scientific underpinnings, particularly the enduring quest for answers to age-old questions about the workings and evolution of our planet, our solar system and the universe.
The new logo is a powerful representation of NASA’s continuing efforts to explore space for the benefit of mankind while also paying respects to the agency’s 1950s origins with an atomic age representation of the Orion spacecraft, which will eventually bring astronauts to Mars — a mission we’ve already celebrated with the RSVLTS Wolves of Mars Bomber Jacket and Hoodie.