As with every mission that preceded it, Human Exploration Research Analog (HERA) mission 10 will have its own unique patch. It will be worn by the 4 crew members, adorn equipment and apparel, and one day hang alongside the previous mission’s symbols on a wall at Johnson Space Center.
The patch design reflects the various aspects of the HERA campaign. This particular missions simulation is C3M2- or, “campaign three, mission two”. Counting the total number of HERA crews that have used the analog habitat module, ours will be number ten. Hence the big Roman numeral “X”. The X has another significance this particular study will take place during the 50th anniversary of Gemini 10, which also used the large Roman numeral 10 in the mission patch design.
Each of the crew members names appear, as do 4 stars representing the number of crew. Occupying the foreground is the asteroid Geographos, an actual asteroid found near Earth, one that actually crosses our planet’s orbit, and the simulated target for this mission. (Conveniently closer than the asteroids found orbiting the sun in the asteroid belt). Earth is to the right, eclipsed behind the asteroid representing both the origin and final destination of the spaceflight. Mars is there too- always in the background, on the horizon of all NASA’s human spaceflight projects.
Finally, you can see our spacecraft or a representation of what a craft might look like if one were to attempt a human mission to a nearby asteroid. The design we chose to use was NASA’s “Nautilus X“, a conceptual deep-space craft for beyond Earth orbit (BEO) exploration. Although such a vehicle is likely decades away from actually transporting astronauts anywhere, it follows the existing engineering principles necessary for such a journey.
I’m really looking forward to wearing this patch on my uniform!