The meaning behind NASA's iconic logo

Conspiracy nuts are often accusing Nasa of covering up all manner of things such as; UFOs, secret space technology and even controlling the weather. And, although you'd think the space agency's logo is pretty innocuous, there are those that believe it also has a hidden meaning.

So what does the famous 'meatball' insignia, as insiders call it, actually represent?

Well, the surprise is that there's no big secret! The blue disc and stars represent a planet and space, with the red chevron adding the upward flight of aeronautics. The grouping of stars is said to mirror the constellation of Andromeda. However, some ufologists claim that it doesn't match current star maps and may actually be linked to Nasa's alleged work on extraterrestrial life.

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How NASA went to space
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How NASA went to space
The Kennedy Space Center Visitor Complex is the visitor center at NASAs Kennedy Space Center in Florida. It features exhibits and displays, historic spacecraft and memorabilia, shows, two IMAX theaters, a range of bus tours of the spaceport, and the Shuttle Launch Experience, a simulated ride into space. It also encompasses the separate Apollo/Saturn V Center and United States Astronaut Hall of Fame. There were 1.5 million visitors in 2009 and it had some 700 employees.
Astronaut footprints on the Moon. Computer artwork recreating a photograph of boot imprints left by astronauts on the Moon. A total of twelve US astronauts have walked on the Moon as part of NASAs Apollo missions. Neil Armstrong was the first, in 1969, and Harrison Schmitt and Eugene Cernan were the last, in 1972. There are plans to return to the Moon by 2020.
Astronaut Edwin E. Aldrin
This photograph depicts a busy Launch Control Center at Kennedy Space Center during the Apollo 8 mission launch activities. Apollo 8 served as the first manned lunar orbit mission. Liftoff occurred on December 21, 1968 with a three man crew consiting of as
Space Shuttle Discovery
A look at NASA's mission control room at the Johnson Space Center, also known by its callsign, 'Houston,' during a simulation of a space mission. Photo circa 1985.
Astronaut Bruce McCandless during the first use of the nitrogen-propelled, hand-controlled MMU, allowing far greater mobility than previous spacewalkers who were confined by restrictive tethers. Space Shuttle Challenger, February 1984.
1960s SIDE VIEW OF ASTRONAUT WEARING HELMET NASA SPACE SUIT (Photo by H. Armstrong Roberts/ClassicStock/Getty Images)
'Jay Bodnar watches as the first televised pictures of the moons surface are beamed back to earth in detail. The Ranger 9 unmanned probe shows Americans an unprecedented view of the surface, and Jay wears his space helmet in celebration of the live event.'
Apollo 17 astronaut. US astronaut and geologist Dr Harrison Schmitt exploring the Taurus-Littrow region of the Moon, as part of NASAs Apollo 17 mission. He landed on the Moon on 11 December 1972, with mission commander Eugene Cernan. They spent 75 hours on the surface. Ron Evans remained in orbit in the command module. Dr Schmitt is the only scientist to have landed on the Moon. Apollo 17 was the last Apollo mission, and Schmitt and Cernan are the last people to have walked on the Moon. A total of 12 US astronauts walked on the Moon during the eleven manned Apollo missions, from 1968-1972.
NASA/Johnson Space Center,Space Center Houston,control room
A group of eight astronauts and flight controllers monitor the console activity in the Mission Operations Control Room (MOCR) of the Mission Control Center (MCC) during the Apollo 13 lunar landing mission. Seated, left to right, are MOCR Guidance Officer R
NASA's very large Vehicle Assembly Building at the Kennedy Space Center, Florida, USA.
Astronaut Floating Outside Space Shuttle
Astronaut Robert L. Stewart moves away from space shuttle Challenger during an extravehicular activity (EVA) session using a nitrogen-propelled manned maneuvering unit (MMU).
Three of the four Apollo 13 Flight Directors applaud the successful splashdown of the Command Module 'Odyssey' while Dr. Robert R. Gilruth, Director, Manned Spacecraft Center (MSC), and Dr. Christopher C. Kraft Jr., MSC Deputy Director, light up cigars (up
Apollo 14 mission. Astronaut Ed Mitchell on lunar surface. The crater beyond Mitchell is Old Nameless.
The Space Shuttle costs around 1.7 billion dollars, flying at altitudes of between 190 and 350 miles above sea level at speeds of around 17,500 mph. Since the first orbital flight in 1981, shuttles have launched countless satellites (relatively) cheaply.
Technicians and astronomers operate an infrared telescope in the Kuiper Airborne Observatory, a flying observatory in a converted C-141 capable of lifting the telescope 41,000 feet in the air.
Astronaut Clay Anderson, Expedition 15 flight engineer, waves to the camera while participating in a session of extravehicular activity (EVA) as construction continues on the International Space Station. During the 7-hour 41-minute spacewalk, Anderson and
Astronaut
Lunar Module approaching the Command Module for docking, Apollo 11, July 21, 1969
Planetary nebula NGC 2440 has an intriguing bow-tie shape in this stunning view from space. The nebula is composed of material cast off by a dying sun-like star as it enters its white dwarf phase of evolution. Details of remarkably complex structures are r
Gravity Probe B satellite (GP-B). Composite image of the GP-B satellite in Earth orbit over Florida, USA. This NASA probe, built to test Einsteins General Theory of Relativity, was launched on 20 April 2004. The main part of the probe is a 2.7- metre-tall central vacuum flask that keeps four gyroscopes at very low temperatures. Just under 4 centimetres wide, each gyroscope houses a spinning metal sphere. A telescope (shield at upper centre) will position the probe using a guide star. During the year the probe spends in its polar orbit, it is predicted that the warped space-time around the rotating Earth will drag the gyroscopes out of position. Power comes from 4 solar panels (blue).
Dr. Wernher von Braun explains the Saturn Launch System to President John F. Kennedy. NASA Deputy Administrator Robert Seamans is to the left of von Braun. 11.16.1963
This artist concept features NASA's Mars Science Laboratory Curiosity rover, a mobile robot for investigating Mars' past or present ability to sustain microbial life. In this picture, the mast, or rover's head, rises to about 2.1 meters (6.9 feet) above ground level. This mast supports two remote-sensing instruments: the Mast Camera, or eyes, for stereo color viewing of surrounding terrain and material collected by the arm; and, the ChemCam instrument, which is a laser that vaporizes material from rocks up to about 9 meters (30 feet) away and determines what elements the rocks are made of.
NASA astronaut Mark C. Lee tests the Simplified Aid For EVA Rescue (SAFER) backpack during an untethered spacewalk.
A look at NASA's mission control room at the Johnson Space Center, also known by its callsign, 'Houston,' during a simulation of a space mission. Photo circa 1985.
Mars Exploration Rover on the surface of Mars, artwork. The first of two identical NASA rovers, Spirit, landed on Mars on 4 January 2004. The second, Opportunity, landed on the other side of the planet on 24 January 2004. The rovers are powered by solar panels (black) and are mobile. Cameras mounted on the white mast give scientists panoramic views of the Martian surface. This enables them to instruct the rovers which rocks to analyse and where to look for water. Tools on board the golf buggy-sized rovers include spectrometers for analysing rock samples, a microscope and an abrasion tool. Each rover has a 90-day mission on the surface of Mars.
This photograph depicts a busy Launch Control Center at Kennedy Space Center during the Apollo 8 mission prelaunch activities. The first manned Apollo mission launched aboard the Saturn V and first manned Apollo craft to enter lunar orbit, the SA-503, Apol
Astronaut Peggy A. Whitson, Expedition 16 commander, dons a training version of the Extravehicular Mobility Unit (EMU) space suit prior to being submerged in the waters of the Neutral Buoyancy Laboratory (NBL) near the Johnson Space Center.
Astronaut Michael Foale being lowered into a buoyancy tank during training for shuttle mission STS-84, (1997), at the Johnson Space Center, in Houston, Texas. He is testing The Russian Orlan space suit in the Weightless Environment Training Facility, (WET
Astronaut With U.S. Flag On Moon.
Texas, Houston, Johnson Space Center, International Space Station Training Hardware.
NASA Space Mission Control, Space Centre, Houston, Texas, United States of America, North America
Ceraunius Tholus and Uranius Tholus, ancient inactive shield volcanoes in the Tharsis region of Mars. Ceraunius Tholus rises about 3.4 miles above the surrounding desert, with a base diameter of about 81 miles. Between them is Rahe Crater, an oblique meteorite impact scar. A thin cloud cover can be seen. North is to the right. Mosaic composite photograph. Mars Express, November 25, 2004–June 22, 2006
Jupiter imaged by NASAs Cassini spacecraft. The shadow (black, lower right) of one of Jupiters moons is also seen. Jupiter is the largest planet in the solar system. Its outer layer is composed of the gases hydrogen and helium, with some water, carbon dioxide, methane, and other simple molecules. High-speed winds in the outer layer are confined to wide bands which encircle the planet: light bands are known as zones, dark bands are known as belts. The Great Red Spot (lower left) is a high-pressure region which has been visible from Earth for over 300 years. This image was taken by Cassini as it passed Jupiter on its way to Saturn.
Pasadena (CA), USA - September 21, 2012: the NASA space shuttle Endeavour is shown atop a Shuttle Carrier Aircraft flying over the Jet Propulsion Laboratory.
Earthrise at the Moon's south polar horizon, with Shackleton Crater in the foreground. We're 'upside down,' with Australia visible at the top of the terrestrial globe. Because Earth always hangs in the same position above the Moon's near side, it never seems to rise or set from a fixed location—but in this case, the spacecraft's motion makes it appear to. Kaguya, November 7, 2007
A long eruptive prominence was seen as it broke away from the Sun on June 6, 2007. The image was taken by the EUVI instrument in the 304 Angstrom wavelength of extreme ultraviolet light. Generally unstable, solar prominences are cooler clouds of gases that
Model of the EVA (Extravehicular) suit worn by Edward H. White II in the Gemini 4 mission of 1965. The extravehicular suit differed from the regular Gemini suit in three ways: an extra layer for thermal and micrometeoroid protection was added, as well as t
Apollo 11 astronaut climbs a ladder from the lunar module Eagle to the lunar surface. Neil Armstrong and Edwin 'Buzz' Aldrin became the first humans to walk on the moon in this mission, July 20, 1969.
Technicians in clean suits monitor the Hubble Space Telescope, before its launch aboard the space shuttle.
The Lunar Roving Vehicle was first deployed on Apollo 15 mission (June 1971), allowing astronauts far greater range for scientific experiments. The Apollo 15 crew drove the vehicle over a range of approx. 17 miles.
A NASA high altitude balloon is launched in Alice Springs, carrying Cal Tech's Gamma Ray Imaging Payload, or 'GRIP', for a trip high in the atmosphere in order to observe Supernova 1987A.
SpaceX chief Elon Musk speaks during a press conference after the launch of SpaceX Crew Dragon Demo mission at the Kennedy Space Center in Florida on March 2, 2019. - NASA and SpaceX celebrated the successful launch March 2 of a new astronaut capsule on a week-long round trip to the International Space Station -- a key step towards resuming manned space flights from US soil after an eight-year break. (Photo by Jim WATSON / AFP) (Photo credit should read JIM WATSON/AFP/Getty Images)
SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket with the company's Crew Dragon spacecraft onboard takes off during the Demo-1 mission, at the Kennedy Space Center in Florida on March 2, 2019. - SpaceX's new Crew Dragon astronaut capsule was on its way to the International Space Station Saturday, March 2, 2019, after it successfully launched from Florida on board a Falcon 9 rocket. With only a dummy named Ripley on board, the launch was a dress rehearsal for the first manned test flight -- scheduled for later this year with two NASA astronauts. (Photo by Jim WATSON / AFP) (Photo credit should read JIM WATSON/AFP/Getty Images)
SpaceX chief Elon Musk speaks during a press conference after the launch of SpaceX Crew Dragon Demo mission at the Kennedy Space Center in Florida on March 2, 2019. - NASA and SpaceX celebrated the successful launch March 2 of a new astronaut capsule on a week-long round trip to the International Space Station -- a key step towards resuming manned space flights from US soil after an eight-year break. (Photo by Jim WATSON / AFP) (Photo credit should read JIM WATSON/AFP/Getty Images)
SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket with the company's Crew Dragon spacecraft onboard takes off during the Demo-1 mission, at the Kennedy Space Center in Florida on March 2, 2019. - SpaceX's new Crew Dragon astronaut capsule was on its way to the International Space Station Saturday, March 2, 2019, after it successfully launched from Florida on board a Falcon 9 rocket. With only a dummy named Ripley on board, the launch was a dress rehearsal for the first manned test flight -- scheduled for later this year with two NASA astronauts. (Photo by Jim WATSON / AFP) (Photo credit should read JIM WATSON/AFP/Getty Images)
CAPE CANAVERAL, FL - FEBRUARY 28: In this NASA handout, A SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket with the company's Crew Dragon spacecraft onboard is seen as it is rolled out of the horizontal integration facility at Launch Complex 39A as preparations continue for the Demo-1 mission, Feb. 28, 2019 at the Kennedy Space Center in Florida. The Demo-1 mission will be the first launch of a commercially built and operated American spacecraft and space system designed for humans as part of NASA's Commercial Crew Program. The mission, currently targeted for a 2:49am launch on March 2, will serve as an end-to-end test of the system's capabilities (Photo by Joel Kowsky/NASA via Getty Images)
CAPE CANAVERAL, FL - FEBRUARY 28: A SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket with the company's Crew Dragon spacecraft onboard is seen after being raised into a vertical position on the launch pad at Launch Complex 39A as preparations continue for the Demo-1 mission, February 28 2019 at the Kennedy Space Center in Florida. The Demo-1 mission will be the first launch of a commercially built and operated American spacecraft and space system designed for humans as part of NASA's Commercial Crew Program. The mission, currently targeted for a 2:49am launch on March 2, will serve as an end-to-end test of the system's capabilities. (Photo by Joel Kowsky/NASA via Getty Images)
CAPE CANAVERAL, FL - FEBRUARY 28: A SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket with the company's Crew Dragon spacecraft onboard is seen illuminated by spotlights on the launch pad at Launch Complex 39A as preparations continue for the Demo-1 mission, February 28 2019 at the Kennedy Space Center in Florida. The Demo-1 mission will be the first launch of a commercially built and operated American spacecraft and space system designed for humans as part of NASA's Commercial Crew Program. The mission, currently targeted for a 2:49am launch on March 2, will serve as an end-to-end test of the system's capabilities. (Photo by Joel Kowsky/NASA via Getty Images)
CAPE CANAVERAL, FL - FEBRUARY 28: In this NASA handout, A SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket with the company's Crew Dragon spacecraft onboard is seen as it is rolled out of the horizontal integration facility at Launch Complex 39A as preparations continue for the Demo-1 mission, Feb. 28, 2019 at the Kennedy Space Center in Florida. The Demo-1 mission will be the first launch of a commercially built and operated American spacecraft and space system designed for humans as part of NASA's Commercial Crew Program. The mission, currently targeted for a 2:49am launch on March 2, will serve as an end-to-end test of the system's capabilities (Photo by Joel Kowsky/NASA via Getty Images)
In this image taken from NASA Television, SpaceX's swanky new crew capsule, above, takes off after undocking from the International Space Station, right, Friday, March 8, 2019. The capsule undocked and is headed toward an old-fashioned splashdown. The Dragon capsule pulled away from the orbiting lab early Friday, a test dummy named Ripley its lone occupant. (NASA TV via AP)
In this image from video made available by NASA, the SpaceX Crew Dragon capsule is hoisted onto a ship in the Atlantic Ocean off the Florida coast after it returned from a mission to the International Space Station. It marks the first time in 50 years that a capsule designed for astronauts returned from space by splashdown in the ocean. (NASA via AP)
Esta image proveída por la NASA muestra la cápsula Dragon de SpaceX amarizando en el Atlántico frente a la costa de Florida el viernes, 8 de marzo del 2019. (NASA via AP)
In this image taken from NASA Television, SpaceX's swanky new crew capsule undocks from the International Space Station, left, Friday, March 8, 2019. The capsule undocked and is headed toward an old-fashioned splashdown. The Dragon capsule pulled away from the orbiting lab early Friday, a test dummy named Ripley its lone occupant. (NASA TV via AP)
In this image taken from NASA Television, SpaceX's swanky new crew capsule undocks from the International Space Station Friday, March 8, 2019. The capsule undocked and is headed toward an old-fashioned splashdown. The Dragon capsule pulled away from the orbiting lab early Friday, a test dummy named Ripley its lone occupant. (NASA TV via AP)
In this photo provided by NASA, the SpaceX Crew Dragon is pictured about 20 meters (66 feet) away from the International Space Station’s Harmony module, Sunday, March 3, 2019. SpaceX's new crew capsule arrived at the International Space Station on Sunday, acing its second milestone in just over a day. (NASA via AP)
In this photo provided by SpaceX, the SpaceX team in Hawthorne, Calif., watches as the SpaceX Crew Dragon docks with the International Space Station’s Harmony module, Sunday, March 3, 2019. SpaceX's new crew capsule arrived at the International Space Station on Sunday, acing its second milestone in just over a day. (NASA via AP)
This Dec. 6, 2018 image made available by NASA shows the InSight lander. The scene was assembled from 11 photos taken using its robotic arm. The two white stalks between the center and the solar panels are weather sensors. Starting Tuesday, Feb. 19, 2019, NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory is posting the high and low temperatures online, along with wind speed and atmospheric pressure from the InSight lander. (NASA via AP)
This Jan. 1, 2019 photo made available by NASA on Friday, Feb. 22, 2019 shows the Kuiper belt object Ultima Thule photographed by the New Horizons spacecraft, minutes before its closest approach. (NASA/Johns Hopkins Applied Physics Laboratory/Southwest Research Institute, National Optical Astronomy Observatory via AP)
Esta foto sin fecha proveída por la Agencia Espacial Europea (ESA) muestra la superficie de Marte. Científicos dicen que las imágenes de cráteres en Marte tomadas por sondas espaciales europeas y estadounidenses indican que muy probablemente existió en el planeta una red de lagos subterráneos. (NASA/JPL-Caltech/MSSS vía AP)
This photo made available by NASA on Aug. 6, 2004, shows sand dunes less than 1 meter (3.3 feet) high in the "Endurance Crater" on the planet Mars, seen by the Opportunity rover. (NASA/JPL/Cornell via AP)
This July 26, 2004 photo made available by NASA shows the shadow of the Mars Exploration Rover Opportunity as it traveled farther into Endurance Crater in the Meridiani Planum region of Mars. (NASA/JPL-Caltech via AP)
FILE - This photo released Thursday, Feb. 5, 2004 made by one of the rear hazard-avoidance cameras on NASA's Opportunity rover, shows Opportunity's landing platform, with freshly made tracks leading away from it. Opportunity rolled about 11 feet on Thursday, the first day it has moved since it left the lander on Saturday. Engineers commanded Opportunity to turn slightly during the drive, to test how it steers while rolling through the martian soil. (NASA/JPL via AP)
This Jan. 5, 2016 photo made available by NASA shows the tool turret at the end of the the Opportunity rover's robotic arm on the southern side of "Marathon Valley," which goes through the western rim of Endeavour Crater. (NASA/JPL-Caltech via AP)
FILE - This composite of March 2015 photos made available by NASA shows a shallow crater called Spirit of St. Louis, about 110 feet (34 meters) long and about 80 feet (24 meters) wide, with a floor slightly darker than surrounding terrain. The rocky feature toward the far end of the crater is about 7 to 10 feet (2 to 3 meters) tall, rising higher than the crater's rim. (NASA/JPL-Caltech/Cornell University/Arizona State University via AP)
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'The worm'

In-house designer James Modarelli, was originally asked to create a simplified version of the agency's official seal in 1959. The insignia, is just one of three to be used by the agency - with their official seal more common for formal occasions.

The Nasa 'worm' logo was a modernist typeface, synonymous with the design styles of the 1970s and 80s, and while very retro and funky was retired in 1992.

While the theories over the space agency's logo are fun, there are more earthly reasons and explanations for this iconic design.

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