Clubs for the Modern Explorer:

(An internal gift from the JPL Director to lab employees)

Consider sending your kids to Proxima b City College, only four light years from Earth. Join a rowing team on Titan for the Solar System’s only Liquid Hydrocarbon Racing. Cheer on your favorite team from the Enceladus Hockey League, or modify your space-rig to withstand the brutal storms inside Jupiter’s atmosphere.

In 2017, Dr. Michael Watkins, the new director of JPL, wanted us to create something that could reinforce the sense of team spirit and shared celebration for the work we do to drive space exploration forward. So we looked at the work load of the lab, including anniversary events and developing initiatives. This became a snapshot in time of discoveries, inventions and ideas. And we wondered, if each of these could end in success, what kind of future could this create? If we could travel to that future and bring back some artifacts, what would we bring back? It is from these questions that the idea of “Clubs for the Modern Explorer” was born. Each gift packet contains emblem designs for 12 “Clubs and Societies” that one could presumably join in this future world (although waivers will be required!)


Understanding Ourselves:

Developing these designs required us to dive deeply into JPL culture and get a better understanding what motivates us all. We held brainstorms in our studio with a wide range of JPL employees, from student interns to the people responsible for landing rovers on Mars. What we found out through these conversations was that there was a widely shared value in what we termed “expanding the edge of possibility.”

Many of the projects that JPL works on have not ever been done before and require a lot of problem solving, testing, and invention. And when its “show time” and (for example) the rover settles its wheels on the surface of Mars, there is a sense of deep honor and satisfaction that this represents not only a success for NASA/JPL, but for all of humanity. These times make us all proud to be human. These times expand the boundaries of what we as a species can accomplish. And it is this process of incremental expansion that will build an incredible future. The question we all have is “what kind of future will it be?” And when thinking about our goal to celebrate the work of the lab, we thought the more exciting question was “what kind of future do we want to create?”

This set of “clubs" represents the dream of what could be possible in the future, and at the same time celebrates the reality of what JPL is currently working on. Our intent was to create a playful vision of hope that would induce a little chuckle and serve as story telling devices to explain JPL's contributions to “expanding the edge of possibility.”

This project was created for JPL internal distribution only and was not paid for with public funds.

Project Lead:
David Delgado
Creative Strategy:
David Delgado, Dan Goods and THE STUDIO
Always With Honor (Enceladus, Titan)
Liz Barrios De La Torre (Mothership) 
David Delgado (Earth, Europa, Rover Wheel, Poster, Stars Are Calling Patch)
Dan Goods (Poster)
Joby Harris (Jupiter, Stars Are Calling Patch)
Invisible Creature (Saturn, Proxima-b)
Lois Kim (Asteroid Patrol, Stars Are Calling Patch)
Tobias van Schneider and Verena Michelitsch (Dark Matter, Proud to be Human)
Jay Thompson, David Delgado