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  Matthias Maurer's 'Cosmic Kiss' mission patch

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Author Topic:   Matthias Maurer's 'Cosmic Kiss' mission patch
Robert Pearlman
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European Space Agency (ESA) release
Cosmic Kiss mission patch

ESA astronaut Matthias Maurer has been assigned to his first flight to the International Space Station during a meeting of representatives from the US, Russian, Japanese, Canadian and European space agencies at the beginning of December.

Matthias' mission is expected to begin in autumn 2021. He will be the second ESA astronaut to fly under NASA's Commercial Crew Program and is expected to be launched from the agency's Kennedy Space Center in Florida, USA, as part of SpaceX Crew-3, along with NASA astronauts Raja Chari and Thomas H. Marshburn.

A declaration of love for space

Alongside his official assignment, Matthias Maurer also revealed the name of his first space mission: Cosmic Kiss. He describes this carefully selected mission name as a "declaration of love for space."

"It communicates the special connection the Station provides between Earth's inhabitants and the cosmos," explains Matthias. "It also conveys the value of partnership in exploring farther to the Moon and Mars, alongside the need to respect, protect and preserve the nature of our home planet as we seek a sustainable future on Earth."

"I look forward to building on the curiosity and knowledge of those who went before me, and sharing my own experiences as an ambassador for Europe in orbit," he adds.

Creating the perfect patch

In developing the Cosmic Kiss mission patch, Matthias took inspiration from the Nebra sky disc ("Himmelsscheibe von Nebra") – the oldest known realistic illustration of the night sky – as well as the Pioneer plaques and Voyager Golden Records that were sent on space probes into the unknown carrying messages from Earth.

"These artifacts show a fascination with space that spans the ages. Since the beginning of time, humans have looked skyward for knowledge about the origins of life, the Universe," he says.

The mission patch features several cosmic elements including Earth, the Moon and the Pleiades star cluster. It also depicts Mars, one of ESA's three key destinations for exploration over the next 10 years, as a small red dot beckoning in the distance. However, its most prominent feature is a simplified, almost heart-like International Space Station, connected through a human heartbeat that stretches from Earth to the Moon.

Cosmic Kiss mission patch

The name of European Space Agency (ESA) astronaut Matthias Maurer's first mission to the International Space Station, Cosmic Kiss, is a declaration of love for space. It communicates the special connection the Station provides between Earth's inhabitants and the cosmos. It also conveys the value of partnership in exploring farther to the Moon and Mars, alongside the need to respect, protect and preserve the nature of our home planet as we seek a sustainable future on Earth.

The Cosmic Kiss patch takes inspiration from the Nebra sky disc ("Himmelsscheibe von Nebra") – the oldest known realistic illustration of the night sky – as well as the Pioneer plaques and Voyager Golden Records that were sent into the unknown carrying messages from Earth.

These artifacts show a fascination with space that spans the ages. Since the beginning of time, humans have looked skyward for knowledge about the origins of life, the Universe and our place in the cosmos. The Cosmic Kiss mission builds on the curiosity of all those who came before us, as exploration advances our understanding of Earth, our Solar System and life itself.

Like the Nebra sky disc, the patch features several cosmic elements including Earth, the Moon and the Pleiades star cluster. It also depicts Mars, one of ESA's three key destinations for exploration over the next 10 years, as a small red dot beckoning in the distance.

Earth is shown borderless and backlit, with only a delicate line of atmosphere visible. This phenomenon is often described by space travelers, who marvel at the wonder of all human life and events taking place in one thin and precious layer.

The most prominent feature is a simplified, almost heart-like International Space Station. This is connected through a human heartbeat that stretches from Earth to the Moon. This heartbeat symbolizes the human presence and passion that propels exploration forward and connects us to the Universe, as well as the vital life science experiments the Space Station enables.

As a unique oasis in space, the International Space Station is a hub of science, research and operations like no other. The continuous human presence that it supports beyond our Earth leads to greater knowledge, technological advances and a better understanding of fundamental and applied sciences. The Space Station is a lifeline for Earth's future and paves the way for our next steps into space as we go forward to the Moon and Mars. It is the Cosmic Kiss that unites us and brings light to the unknown.

The Cosmic Kiss mission patch features black, red, gold and white. Each color has been selected for its significance:

  • Black – represents the Universe and its mysteries that we seek to understand.

  • Red – stands for love and passion. It represents our human presence today and the martian soils that await us as we explore farther into the Solar System.

  • Gold – is the color of the stars that share their warmth and light to enable life.

  • White – is the heartbeat that flashes in the atmosphere. It stands for technology and scientific progress, bringing light into the dark.

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