shutterstock_365222975How’s this for bragging rights, graphic designers and artists? “Oh yes…I designed a logo for NASA.” Start practicing your casual hair flip and bored tone now, because NASA is, in fact, inviting you to try your hand at designing their next logo. Specifically, they’re looking for a logo and/or patch for the In-Space Manufacturing (ISM) project, which is exactly what it sounds like: a program dedicated to the development of on-demand manufacturing capabilities to be implemented on NASA exploration missions, both in transit and on the International Space Station, the moon, Mars, etc.

At the heart of In-Space Manufacturing is 3D printing, and the biggest achievement the project has made so far has been the delivery of a 3D printer (and the new 3D printer!) to the International Space Station, a historic accomplishment that has led to the first items ever to be manufactured in space, including an ’emailed’ wrench. The next step is to build a permanent manufacturing facility or FabLab in space, where astronauts can 3D print parts in multiple materials as well as embed printed electronics and recycle printed parts and packaging.

An astronaut displays a 3D printed tool on the ISS. [Image: NASA]

ISS Commander Butch with his new 3D printed ratcheting socket wrench [Image: NASA]

The ISM project, which falls under the NASA Human Exploration and Operations Mission Directorate (HEOMD) Office of Advanced Exploration Systems (AES) and is headquartered at the Marshall Space Flight Center, embraces the philosophy of “make it, don’t take it.” The cost of sending supplies into space is prohibitive, so the goal is to develop the capability to manufacture everything needed for a long-distance, long-duration space mission while in transit, or to replace parts as needed without having to rely on emergency supplies delivered from Earth.

ntl-platform-graphicNASA turned to crowdsourcing several years ago with the launch of the Center of Excellence for Collaborative Innovation (CoECI), an initiative intended to accelerate research and development with the help of the broader community. Those crowdsourcing efforts frequently take the form of challenges presented by the NASA Tournament Lab, and they’ve included everything from requests for 3D printed tools for the ISS to the development of technology for building habitats on Mars.

The NASA In-Space Manufacturing Logo Challenge is less daunting than some of the others. To enter, design a logo that “graphically convey(s) the key theme of space exploration and on-demand manufacturing/repair,” and submit it in both color and black and white with dimensions of 1024 x 1024. The NASA insignia should not appear anywhere in the design. Entries are only being accepted until April 14, so get cracking. The winner will receive $300, plus his or her logo will appear on all ISM presentation materials, as well as T-shirts, mugs, and other promotional items.

The contest is being hosted by Freelancer.com, which has partnered with NASA on several of their other challenges.

download (2)“We have received some really great designs in past crowdsourcing challenges posted on Freelancer.com,” said Steven Rader, Deputy Manager for the NASA Center of Excellence and Collaborative Innovation. “Once again, we’re leveraging the Freelancer community by engaging the crowd to design a logo for a project that is crucial in advancing deep space exploration.”

It would certainly be a heck of a thing to put on a resume. Full rules and entry guidelines for the contest can be found here. Discuss over in the NASA In-Space Manufacturing Logo Challenge forum at 3DPB.com.





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