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I love the NASA "worm" logo. It's a futuristic, stylish rendering of the agency's acronym. But they "retired" it in 1992. WHY???

NASA worm logo

It was replaced with NASA's original logo, the "meatball":

NASA meatball logo

Not be confused with the NASA seal, which is supposed to be used only by NASA's administrator:

NASA seal

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  • $\begingroup$ same reason disco was "replaced"? Also, it's always dangerous to try to look "modern" (e.g. modern architecture and these) $\endgroup$ – uhoh May 21 at 1:20
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    $\begingroup$ @uhoh: Hey, I used to... oh, never mind. $\endgroup$ – DrSheldon May 21 at 1:25
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Because NASA Administrator Dan Goldin didn't like it.

After hearing complaints from employees across the nation, new NASA Administrator Daniel S. Goldin announced unexpectedly on Friday that he was changing the agency's logo. Goldin killed the despised "worm," which spelled out "NASA" in high-tech red lettering, and restored the insignia affectionately known as the "meatball."

(Personal note: many employees at the time would have taken issue with the veracity of the claims in this quote - that they "despised" the worm and were clamoring to replace it.)

But he loved that meatball logo. You can see in this picture how much he loved that meatball logo.

enter image description here

PS the aircraft in the picture is the first Boeing 737 ever built, which served as a research aircraft at NASA-Langley for years. It's now in the Museum of Flight, and ironically has a worm on its tail. And that is an air data probe.

enter image description here

Image source

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    $\begingroup$ I've just asked How did NASA Langley end up with the first 737? Feel free to edit it or let me know if needs editing or if linking here is awkward. Thanks! $\endgroup$ – uhoh May 21 at 1:56
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    $\begingroup$ That skinny, low-bypass engine.... $\endgroup$ – Tristan May 21 at 14:04
  • $\begingroup$ Not that airplanes are LEGO elements, but it'd be amusing to see someone try to build one with a GE9X engine: s3.amazonaws.com/dsg.files.app.content.prod/gereports/… $\endgroup$ – Tristan May 21 at 14:09
  • $\begingroup$ It's a JT8D...it would hardly count as a turbofan these days! Bypass ratio of 1! That GE9X is 10. $\endgroup$ – Organic Marble May 21 at 14:43
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    $\begingroup$ First time I saw the GE9X, my thought was, "I didn't even know airplanes could be stung by bees!" $\endgroup$ – Tristan May 21 at 15:04

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