The HI-SEAS Crew 2 mission patch- design and photo by @rosslockwood and Ron Williams
Every mission has one. You’ve seen in photos on the astronaut’s flight suits.They can be any shape, size, or color. They adorn the press releases, collectable pins, and sometimes on the spacecraft itself. It’s the mission patch. The symbol that represents a specific flight or expedition. Each one tells a story through symbology. And ours is no different.
Each crew selected for the HI-SEAS analog program will design it’s own mission patch. Like the mission patches worn by astronauts on real spaceflights, our patch was designed to represent the significant aspects of this specific expedition. It includes a “swoosh” that depicts the retrograde motion of Mars through the constellation Virgo. The vector also evokes NASA and the agency’s Human Research Program (HRP) grants helped to fund the study. The stars and planets in the night sky are placed in the correct positions, as they would be seen from the habitat. The colors red and white are the same as those found on the official HI-SEAS program logo. The habitat module itself is placed among the lava fields of Mauna Loa volcano- which is an analog for the mighty shield volcanoes found in the Tharsis region on Mars.
You can see that we also included the surnames of all the primary crew members on the patch as well. We initially debated this- there are so many other people involved in making this program, we didn’t want to exclude the members of our support teams. Like any spaceflight mission, those that ride the rocket are only the tip of a vast iceberg. It takes hundreds of dedicated individuals working as a cohesive team to make a mission possible. In the end, we elected to include our names. As there wasn’t room for the names every member of the HI-SEAS program, there is a star in the night sky to represent the institution they hail from. And the stars depicted in the swoosh vector form the Greek symbol Psi to symbolize the psychological research focus of the program.
Each of the crew wear this patch everyday. It is emblazoned on uniform shirts, our equipment, even our simulated spacesuits. It has been sent to friends and family of the crew, mission support personnel, and schools in several countries. It has been posted on social media and projected in videos seen around the world. Someday a crew not unlike ours will wear a mission patch like this to Mars.