Children's Patches Tell Toy's Story
For nearly 40 years, NASA astronauts have designed mission patches to symbolize their individual space missions and flight accomplishments. Carrying on this tradition, Disney Parks and NASA launched a search for the most creative mission patch design to honor Buzz Lightyear as America's first and longest-serving space ranger. After serving 15 galactic months aboard the International Space Station, the 12-inch action figure returned to Earth in September 2009, aboard space shuttle Discovery with the crew of STS-128.
Students from across the nation submitted designs and a brief essay to commemorate Buzz Lightyear's achievement. As part of the Buzz Lightyear Mission Patch Design Challenge, students had the opportunity to learn about the requirements of spaceflight and the science surrounding NASA programs, helping to create a strong understanding about the importance of space exploration.
The winner, 11-year-old Adam, of Tampa, Fla., a parent, and two guests will receive a three-day, two-night vacation to Walt Disney World Resort in Lake Buena Vista, Fla., as well as a VIP tour of NASA's Kennedy Space Center in Cape Canaveral, Fla. The winning design will be made into a patch and flown in space.
More than 600 unique and creative submissions were received, which made selecting a winner a very hard decision. Below are the top ten entries and their essays.
Adam, Tampa, Fla.
"I dream of someday becoming an astronaut, so I'm excited to share my mission patch design. My design shows Buzz blasting-off and soaring past the ISS! This illustrates the thrill and adventure of space travel. The three yellow strands trailing Buzz represent the Astronaut Office. Orbiting Buzz are space shuttle mission STS-124 and return shuttle mission STS-128. The shuttles' rocket trails form a circle to symbolize NASA's unending commitment to space exploration. The 15 stars represent the 15 months Buzz spent on board the ISS. I hope this design helps to inspire my generation to reach for the stars!"
Stephen, Pearland, Texas
"When I first saw the contest, I was so excited. My two favorite things, NASA and Disney, had joined together to promote education in science. I loved Disney the few times I've gone and want to become a pilot for a NASA space mission. I may only be 12, but I know that I can do what I want to by keeping up my grades and planning ahead. I drew Buzz flying from the ISS into space going on another one of his adventures as he flies past Earth and the moon. Can you spot the two hidden Mickeys?"
Ian, Idaho Falls, Idaho
"This drawing commemorates the Buzz Lightyear flight into space in 2009. I choose the background colors because they are Buzz Lightyear colors, purple and green. I also included the Buzz Lightyear saying 'To Infinity and Beyond,' because that is what the space program is all about. The space program inspires us to push our limits and not give up. Having Buzz Lightyear on the International Space Station reminds us to have fun in everything we do. I added the words Disney because Walt Disney encouraged us to never stop dreaming and to go for our dreams."
Sammira, Starkville, Miss.
"When I was 5, we went on a family trip to Disney World where I saw a large model of the amazing Buzz Lightyear! When my dad saw my excitement, he put me on Buzz's shoulders. Then, I imagined myself flying in outer space with Buzz. My inspiration for designing my patch is my love for drawing and my dream of one day becoming an animator for Disney or an astronaut for NASA. My patch shows the space view of Earth and the Disney castle. I chose Buzz's colors for the arch which formed by the shuttle's rocket exhaust."
Bailey, Madison, Ga.
"The Buzz Patch contest has been an interesting opportunity to win a great prize. When I heard about this amazing opportunity, I went full blast! What inspired me the most was the shuttle I was supposed to draw. I searched various sources for an hour looking at the different pictures taken of the shuttle. I then borrowed my sisters Buzz Lightyear figure. I looked closely to see the colors worn by Buzz and the colors on the shuttle. I chose to put 'NASA' on the shuttle because this is a NASA project. I put a lot of work into research, sketching, and painting my drawing. I think my patch should be chosen because it will inspire others to be interested in NASA from a Disney point of view."
Elliot, Mesa, Ariz.
"On July 20, 1969, on the Apollo 11 mission, Edwin 'Buzz' Aldrin became the second man to walk on the moon. Upon stepping foot on the moon and being asked what he saw, Buzz remarked to Houston, 'Beautiful, beautiful. Magnificent desolation.' The mission patch 'Magnificent Education,' for Buzz Lightyear's mission is a tribute to Buzz Aldrin and the contributions that he made to space research and exploration, and also for training Buzz Lightyear. The action figure's shuttle mission will encourage kids to study space and follow the paths of these brave astronauts who have gone 'to infinity and beyond!'"
Aubrianna, Jacksonville, Fla.
"My mission patch represents Disney and NASA together. The number 37 represents Discovery's 37th mission to space. STS-128 represents the space shuttle Discovery. With all three symbols, the logo sign NASA, Buzz Lightyear representing Disney, and then with the space ship representing the space shuttle, this is a space vision. I think this would be a great logo for NASA because it represents so many things in space such as the stars, an astronaut and his ship all together in one snapshot."
Collin, Severna Park, Md.
"My patch represents how Buzz Lightyear achieved his goal of space travel. If Buzz can achieve his goal as a toy, then anyone can achieve their goal in life. In my patch Buzz goes to infinity and beyond trying to educate all of the kids around the world all about space and space travel. In the Toy Story movie he always thought he was on a space mission and he finally gets to do that. On my patch it shows everything Buzz had to see and think about while he was in space. He will help a lot of people."
Michaela Jo, Belgrade, Maine
"I really wanted to respect the classic look of Toy Story, and still have NASA's sophistication and put it together to create my patch. I looked up the planets and my favorite one was Saturn, so I added that in the corner to add a little more color variety. I read the rules -- they said that you have NASA, Disney, the space shuttle, and of course Buzz Lightyear himself. I decided instead of just drawing I'd plan it out so it would fit neatly. Next just to tie it all together I wrote Buzz's catch phrase, 'to infinity and beyond!' And that was my inspiration."
Grace, Bishop, Ga.
"My dream is to be a meteorologist for NASA. My name is Grace and I am a sixth-grader. I have always wanted to be a meteorologist. Just recently Dr. Morales from NASA came to visit the school. He told that everyone, even meteorologists, can work for NASA. That's when my dream changed. I would like to be a meteorologist for NASA. Dr. Morales also mentioned the patch contest. That was when I was inspired to do this contest. My patch shows Buzz Lightyear standing in front of the part of the Earth with the International Space Station to the left of Buzz with the words, 'Toy in Space, NASA and Disney.' I can't wait to bring my family to the Kennedy Space Center and hope I get the opportunity."
The Mission Patch Design Challenge commemorates Buzz Lightyear's achievement and NASA's educational goals of encouraging students to pursue studies in science, technology, engineering and mathematics. NASA’s current "Kids in Micro-g!" Challenge invites students to design an experiment for the International Space Station. Students in grades 5-8 will have the opportunity to design an experiment or simple demonstration that could be performed both in the classroom and aboard the space station. The 10 regional winners, one national winner and one national runner-up winner will have their experiments conducted by the astronauts aboard the space station in the April-May 2010 timeframe.
On the Web:
> Kids in Micro-g! Challenge
> NASA Mission Patch Explorers Games
> NASA Kids' Club
> NASA Kids' Club -- Buzz Lightyear -- To Infinity and Beyond! Games
> NASA Education
Heather R. Smith/NASA Educational Technology Services