February 19, 1998


Space artist David Seal's colorful depiction of Mars and the next pair of spacecraft to explore its atmosphere and icy southern pole has been selected as the project insignia for NASA's 1998 Mars Polar Lander and Mars Climate Orbiter mission.

The logo carries the inscription, "Unlocking Mars' history," in a bold gothic font, highlighting the scientific theme of the 1998 mission. On opposite sides of this triangular decal are the polar lander and next-generation Mars orbiter, which are set to launch from Cape Canaveral, FL, in late December 1998 and early January 1999.

"The central idea of this insignia is shown in the globe of Mars, which is split down the middle to depict what Mars may have looked like in the past (on the left) and what it looks like today (on the right)," said Seal, a systems engineer in the Mission Design Group at NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory, Pasadena, CA. "This illustrates the science objectives of the mission, which are to study the history of Mars' climate and the behavior of related volatiles, such as water vapor and ground ice."

Seal, who holds a master's degree in aerospace engineering from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, has designed many of NASA's spaceflight mission insignias, including the Mars Pathfinder, Mars Global Surveyor and Cassini mission logos. His computer-generated graphics have also appeared in numerous magazines, including Sky & Telescope, Astronomy, Science, Space News and Newsweek.

Since joining JPL in 1991, Seal, 29, has worked on projects such as the Cassini mission to Saturn and the Shuttle Radar Topography mission. A resident of La Crescenta, CA, he specializes in orbital design, systems engineering and computer programming.

The Mars Polar Lander and Mars Climate Orbiter are the second set of launches in a long-term program of Mars exploration known as the Mars Surveyor Program. The mission is managed by JPL for NASA's Office of Space Science, Washington, DC. Lockheed Martin Astronautics, Denver, CO, is NASA's industry partner in the mission.


January 14, 1998


Budding artists and those with a flair for computer graphics have an opportunity to support NASA's next mission to Mars by designing a logo for the Mars Surveyor '98 orbiter and lander mission.

Anyone may enter the contest, said Cathy Davis, logo contest coordinator and a member of the Mars Exploration Program Office at JPL. "We're interested in flashy, eye-catching designs that convey the excitement of this mission to Mars," she said.

Logos, which are multi-colored and typically about the size of a person's palm, can be any shape, such as square, oval or rectangular, and depict a variety of scenes relevant to the Mars Surveyor '98 mission. "Artists should avoid adding a lot of small detail to their designs because the detail will be lost in the final format, " Davis said. Designs can include images of the orbiter and lander spacecraft, the planet Mars, the southern polar cap region in which the Mars Surveyor '98 lander will land, or the spacecraft's trajectory from Earth to Mars. Designs may also carry the institutional logos of JPL, the NASA "meatball" and Lockheed Martin Astronautics, Denver.

Designs will be judged on style and content, and the winning entry will become the property of JPL for use as the Laboratory sees fit, Davis said. The Laboratory also reserves the right to modify the winning design for accuracy and compliance with JPL graphics standards. Entries are due no later than February 4, and should be mailed to Cathy Davis, Jet Propulsion Laboratory, 4800 Oak Grove Drive, Mail Stop T1129, Pasadena, CA 91109. For further information, contact Cathy Davis at 818-354-6111. The winner will be announced on February 6.

"The contest winner will have the prestige of seeing his or her creation on the Mars Surveyor '98 spacecraft, as well as on Mars Surveyor '98 memorabilia, T-shirts, coffee mugs, posters, CD ROMs and other merchandise," Davis added. "These products will be developed for educational and public outreach purposes."

For additional information about the Mars Surveyor '98 mission and logo designs from the last two missions to Mars -- Mars Pathfinder and Mars Global Surveyor -- visit JPL's Mars Missions home page at

The Mars Surveyor '98 mission is the next set of spacecraft to be launched to Mars under the auspices of NASA's Mars Surveyor Program. The mission is designed to trace the evolution of Mars' climate and search for water in the Martian soil. The Mars '98 orbiter will be launched Dec. 10, 1998, from Cape Canaveral, FL, and arrive at Mars on Sept. 23, 1999. A companion lander will be launched from Florida on Jan. 3, 1999, and touch down near the south pole of Mars on Dec. 3, 1999.

The spacecraft are in development at Lockheed Martin Astronautics in Denver, which is NASA's industrial partner for the mission. NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory, Pasadena, CA, manages the mission for NASA's Office of Space Science, Washington, DC. JPL is a division of the California Institute of Technology, Pasadena, CA.

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