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Welcome to the middle school challenge page for Challenge 2 of the Fairchild Challenge! Read below to find challenge information, entry requirements, resources and more for the challenge.

Challenge 2: Logo Design

Title: National Challenge: The Next NASA Mission Patch
For individuals or groups | Maximum points: 200

Due Date: Fri., Dec 2, 2022 by 5 p.m.

Download challenge rubric here

Your Challenge:

Mission patches are a NASA tradition used to commemorate significant milestones in space exploration. Each patch is designed to highlight the purpose and goals of the mission. And now, NASA is looking for our help to create their next patch commemorating the “VEG-05” plant growth experiment where Red Robin tomatoes will be grown aboard the International Space Station. Your challenge is to design a mission patch that celebrates this historic experiment and accurately depicts the next space plant experiments aboard the International Space Station! Along with your design, write a brief (one typed page) explanation of your inspiration, including the story behind mission patch designs and any symbolism you used in your patch.

Your artwork for the patch must be an original hand-rendered design drawn on an 8.5 x 11 sheet of paper. Your design may be in black and white or color and made using ink, pen, pencil, fine-point marker, or paint. Simple lines are best and avoid color gradients. Designs can be submitted to NASA (see instructions below), and the winning design will be chosen and reproduced by NASA. Each entry must be saved as a PDF file labeled SchoolName_StudentName_NationalChallenge.

Important: Your two entries must be submitted electronically to BOTH:

  1. Phipps Conservatory via email for points for your school
  2. The Fairchild Botanical Garden submission form for entrance into NASA’s mission patch competition.

Entry Requirements:

  • Challenge Entry Form, include the school name and the participating students’ names.
  • One or two entries. Design and written description must be saved as a single pdf file and uploaded to entry form. PDF file name must include school name and student name
  • Entry accurately depicts the next space plant experiments aboard the International Space Station
  • One-page written description includes story behind mission patch design and any symbolism used
  • Artwork must be an original hand-rendered (2-D flat) design created by the student
  • Entry should be drawn on an 8.5 x 11 sheet of paper. Entry may be in black and white or color: in ink, pen, pencil, fine-point marker, or paint. Simple lines are best and avoid color gradients
  • Bibliography must be submitted citing at least 1 source, following MLA or APA format

The following list of online resources may be used when preparing your entry:

Project Introduction by Dr. Gioia M., Plant Scientist at NASA Kennedy Space Center (video)
Project summary on VEG-05 (video)
Project details on ’Red Robin’ dwarf tomato plants and light levels (PDF)

Background information:

NASA: Growing plants in space
NASA: Veggie fact sheet
NASA: Veggie activate to growth system activated on International Space Station
NASA: Veggie Patch

NASA eClips: Our world: Mission patches
National Air and Space Museum: The meaning of mission patches
NASA: Mission patches
NASA: History: Mission patches
Space Center Houston: Colorful, creative, and iconic NASA mission patches


Read below to find the standards for each grade level for Challenge 2 of the Middle School Fairchild Challenge

  • Grade Six – Eight

    • 4.3.8.A Compare and contrast alternative sources of energy.
    • 4.4.6.A Explain how different plants and animals in the United States have specific growing requirements related to climate and soil conditions.
    • 4.4.7.A Describe how agricultural practices, the environment, and the availability of natural resources are related.
    • 4.4.7.D Identify the positive and negative effects of technology used in agriculture and its effects on the food and fiber system and the environment over time.
    • 3.1.6.A1 Describe the similarities and differences of major physical characteristics in plants, animals, fungi, protists, and bacteria.
    • 3.1.6.A2 Describe how energy derived from the sun is used by plants to produce sugars (photosynthesis) and is transferred within a food chain from producers (plants) to consumers to decomposers.
    • 3.1.7.B4 Describe how selective breeding and biotechnology can alter the genetic composition of organisms.
    • 3.2.8.B6 PATTERNS. Explain how physics principles underlie everyday phenomena and important technologies.
    • 3.4.8.A1 Analyze the development of technology based on affordability or urgency.
    • 3.4.8.A3 Compare how a product, system, or environment developed for one setting may be applied to another setting.

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