I'm watching the documentary "The Real Right Stuff". Around the 14 minute mark they show a clip of a news interview of the 7 mercury astronauts describing how their family feels about them embarking on their historic mission.

After this clip the film mentions just how articulate John Glenn was during the interview and present this picture as they discuss further.

enter image description here

What is the pin on John Glenn's jacket in this image?


1 Answer 1


It's the Project Mercury / Mercury Seven emblem.

enter image description here

The astronauts went under the name Mercury Seven, and the program design includes the number seven. The symbol represented around the seven is the astronomical symbol for the planet Mercury, and the medieval sign for the element mercury as well. It consists of the biological sign for female, topped with “horns” to represent the winged hat that Mercury is usually depicted as wearing.

All from https://space.abemblem.com/products/mercury-program-patch

  • 10
    $\begingroup$ Thanks! In hindsight I guess that sure makes a whole lot of sense... // Also honored to have you answer one of my questions. Of all the browsing I do across all StackExchange sites I rarely remember very many usernames. But I must say you're right after Jon Skeet on my list of memorable names and active users. $\endgroup$
    – KDecker
    Oct 21, 2021 at 2:24
  • $\begingroup$ Wasn't the whole project named Mercury, and Mercury's seventh mission Friendship 7? It certainly was Friendship 7 when as a child I climbed on Glenn's capsule in a London museum. $\endgroup$ Oct 21, 2021 at 23:56
  • $\begingroup$ @RobbieGoodwin all the Mercury capsules names ended with a 7. It was again a reference to the number of astronauts. Friendship 7 was the vehicle for the 3rd manned / first orbital Mercury mission. There were only 6 manned Mercury missions, Slayton didn't fly in space till much later. See historicspacecraft.com/mercury.html $\endgroup$ Oct 22, 2021 at 1:23
  • 1
    $\begingroup$ "It consists of the biological sign for female" which, coincidentally, on its own is the medieval sign for the planet Venus. And also the element copper. Mars, whose symbol is the one we nowadays often refer to as the "biological sign for male" was also used for the element iron. According to Wikipedia, it was Carl Linnaeus who started that particular gender symbol convention. $\endgroup$
    – Arthur
    Oct 22, 2021 at 8:39
  • $\begingroup$ @KDecker: this is when we discover that Organic Marble is John Skeet. $\endgroup$ Oct 22, 2021 at 11:12

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service and acknowledge you have read our privacy policy.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.