NASA's Most Awesomely Weird Mission Patches

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Perhaps the best thing about NASA’s military provenance is that the agency picked up the armed services’ habit of making patches.

We’ve long loved the Most Awesomely Bad Military Patches series that our sister blog, Danger Room, runs. Then, earlier this week, space collectors bid up the accidentally limited edition Stephen Colbert treadmill patch to more than $175 on eBay...

... The patches above were drawn and worn by the wives of the astronauts on those respective missions. They are nearly identical to the actual patches, but the central figure is a woman instead of Leonardo Da Vinci’s Virtruvian Man.


The Stephen Colbert patch commemorating the treadmill that sort of bears his name on the International Space Station combines the new photorealistic style with the line drawings of older patches.


Older mission patches tend to be more iconographic than their contemporary counterparts. The sailing ship of the Apollo 12 mission patch played on the golden age of exploration on Earth.


NASA hasn’t shied away from using well-known figures on its patches in recent years. In 2003, Daffy Duck and Marvin Martian made appearances on two patches for Mars Exploration Rover missions. (Many thanks to CollectSPACE for these images.)


The Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles were featured on a patch for the Multi-Purpose Logistics Model of the International Space Station. Why? Three of the four modules of the MPLM shared their names with the famous “heroes in a half shell.” (Turtle Power!)

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