The logo for the Institute for Interstellar Studies was designed jointly by Kelvin F. Long and Adrian Mann during the summer 2012, with input from George Abbey Junior, Rob Swinney, Richard Osborne, Stephen Ashworth, Gemma Long and Jonathan Brooks. HMS Challenger was a peaceful scientific expedition that set out in 1872, on a voyage around the world, making many discoveries along the way. Can we build ships which also venture to explore the ocean of knowledge before us, and so cross the technological horizon, and build similar vessels which cross the sea of Suns – Starships. Once this technological barrier is reached, our trajectory to the stars is guaranteed, and the star at the top of the logo represents the stretch goal that ‘interstellar flight’ provides to develop the technologies and capabilities to explore interplanetary space, interstellar space and the voids in between.
The International Space Station is a crowning achievement in our exploration of space. It is the first great modern wonder of space made by human hands, and is an example of what can be accomplished when peaceful co-operation between nations is embraced with scientific discovery as the driver. Pegasus is a constellation of the stars, with 51 Pegasi being indicated as the first exosolar planet to be discovered orbiting another Sun-like star, some fifty light years away. Pegasus is also the name of the Greek mythological winged horse, an artefact of our imagination. Starships too, are considered pure fantasy by many, but Pegasus symbolises our quest to turn imagination into reality and make Starships come to life. Pegasus is also a creature like none we have ever observed, which reminds us that as we explore space, we are likely to encounter life forms, some perhaps intelligent, which surprise us in their construction, evolved from within an alien atmosphere and habitat. Another way to view the logo is that it represents the four key sides of the interstellar square.
Firstly, the need to develop the science and the technology, symbolised by the atom, with the motto “Scientia ad sidera” or “Knowledge to the stars” being the key cultural value underpinning the mission. Second, the motivation for discovery and the political and cultural courage to embrace the exploration opportunities within our grasp, symbolised by the ship. Third, the need to develop the appropriate capabilities and infrastructure to support such missions, symbolised by the ISS. Forth, the need to have a destination to go to, symbolised by the constellation of Pegasus.
Finally, the ship can be viewed as our quest to explore Earth (our past), the ISS as our quest to explore interplanetary space (our present) and the constellation as our question to explore interstellar space (our future) and ultimately evolve to an interstellar civilization.