The Center for the Advancement of Science in Space (CASIS), which manages the International Space Station's U.S. National Laboratory, has announced the creation of new mission patch that features Marvel characters Groot and Rocket Raccoon from the Guardians of the Galaxy movie.
These new mission patch aims to encourage young students toward space exploration and STEM research. The announcement was made during the 2016 San Diego Comic Con last July 21 to 24 at the San Diego Convention Center.
The new mission patch was designed by Juan Doe, a famous artist from Marvel. The 2016 payloads scheduled for the U.S. National Laboratory onboard the ISS will be represented by this new patch. The lab is planning to conduct over 100 scientific experiments onboard the space station. The studies will range from Earth observation, material and physical sciences and technology development.
While the two Marvel characters didn't really audition or had interviews for the ambassadorial jobs, they did beat out several competitors. According to Mark Basso, the project manager and editor from Custom Solutions, the Marvel universe is filled with so many characters that picking out ones for the new mission patch could have been a "stumbling block" for the team.
During the Comic-Con announcement, CASIS representative Patrick O'Neill explained why Rocket Raccoon and Groot were chosen for the new mission patch. To begin with, the two Marvel characters already have a "bit of space-based background."
"Both of [these] characters already embody some of the characteristics associated with what's happening on the space station," said O'Neill.
In a Twitter post, Guardians of the Galaxy director James Gunn called the new project "so cool."
So cool. NASA Oasis has paired with Marvel and is using Rocket & Groot as an official emblem for the mission to Mars pic.twitter.com/0ox5vnMEFS
— James Gunn (@JamesGunn) July 22, 2016
CASIS team members also took part in a panel discussion where they talked about their cooperation with Marvel in the creation of the new patch.
The new mission patch features the two Marvel characters staring at the ISS. The stars on the patch were designed to look like the Guardians of the Galaxy shield's flames. CASIS is planning to use Groot and Rocket Raccoon in the new educational flight contest that will inspire young children to venture into science and engineering.
Ken Shields, CASIS Director of Operations and Educational Opportunities, said that very few brands have a large impact similar to Marvel. Shields added that they are delighted to work with Marvel on the new project and they look forward to how the two characters will inspire the next-generation space station researchers.