The NASA Worm Is Back. Actually, It Never Really Left.

The Worm is Back: A Discussion with Designer Richard Danne, NASA

"NASA Worm creator Richard Danne answers your questions in a conversation about the relevance of the Worm in the 1970s and today, and why the Worm continues to be so popular, now available online at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bLe4lOrj3Ck. Bettina Inclán, Associate Administrator for Communications, hosts this conversation, which includes a presentation from NASA's Worm Working Group on the philosophy of the comeback of the logo, led by David Rager and Bert Ulrich."

LOST IN SPACE; Meatballs Devour Worms!!, NY Times, 10 January 1999.

"For the past six years NASA has been trying to wipe out the tubular red logo (''the worm'') that has symbolized space exploration since 1975. The chief exterminator is Dan Goldin, NASA's administrator, who says that the original 1958 emblem (''the meatball'') better commemorates the program's mission. But wasting the worm, which has adorned everything from welcome mats to wind tunnels, is taking longer than Goldin would like. Keith Cowing, an ex-NASA payload manager who documents worm sightings on the NASA Watch Web site raps Goldin's subordinates for obsessively hiding the worm from the boss."

Keith's note: I sent a note to NASA PAO the other day: "Decades before the current leadership's time at NASA, as you know, I ran "worm watch" on NASAWatch which traced Dan Goldin's attempt to eradicate the worm. I believed in the worm when no one else did. I even ended up in the New York Times as a result. I had many interactions over the years with worm designer Richard Danne. Bettina asked me to submit a question for him to answer in the video but she did not include it. This is the question I submitted to Bettina:"

"The worm logo is on the records carried by the twin Voyagers which are now traversing interstellar space. It adorns the Hubble which has opened the universe to us. Simple question: what is it like to have something so simple in form spring from your mind - something that goes on to become the symbol that adorns humanity's tools for exploring the universe?"

I got this response from Richard Danne today:

Hello Keith! Well it finally happened... and the Worm is Back. Thanks for this great question which I wish had been asked in the Town Hall video. My response: I'm fully aware of your ongoing support of the Logotype over these many years, and I greatly appreciate it. One of the things I'm most proud of is that those extraordinary missions, Voyager and Hubble, still proudly carry our mark through interstellar space. Even when the program was scuttled, I could still point to that profound fact. It's a glorious feeling to have helped create one of the most famous logos of the last half century. "Simplicity" is one of our guiding principles and it played a major role in the development of the NASA worm. We knew back then as we know today, that if a mark is to be useful and successful for decades it must be born of simplicity. I think we got it right... and all has been proven out over some 46 years now. It's thrilling, especially seeing how the younger people have gravitated to it. Very rewarding with great validation! Thanks again Keith for your good work and long-term support. And, as always, Onward! Dick"

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This page contains a single entry by Keith Cowing published on November 18, 2020 3:31 PM.

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