Many spacecraft have been decorated or embellished with logos, slogans, names of people or research groups, or small stowaway items. Does NASA have a term for this practice?
NASA's Perseverance Mars rover isn't just shuttling sophisticated science instruments and tubes to be filled with Earth-bound rock samples. It's carrying symbols, mottos, and objects that range from practical to playful - everything from meteorite fragments to chips carrying the names of 10.9 million people.
The "extras" are part of a tradition that harks back to the early space age and is now called "festooning" in NASA lingo. A plaque aboard Pioneer 10 and 11 displays a man and a woman for distant spacefarers who might find the spacecraft. The Golden Record aboard Voyager 1 and 2 serves a similar purpose. Metal from the wreckage of the Twin Towers on 9/11 was installed on the rovers Opportunity and Spirit, while Spirit also carried a memorial to the crew of Space Shuttle Columbia.