The winning mission patch is among the 22 entries to the MULA Mission Patch Contest opened in October 2022. The patch is the creation of Jaden Tomacruz, a 20-year-old Multimedia Studies major from the University of the Philippines Open University. | Photo from PhilSA

The country’s space agency has unveiled an official mission patch for its next-generation Multispectral Unit for Land Assessment (MULA) satellite, created by a 20-year-old student from the University of the Philippines Open University (UPOU).

The Philippine Space Agency (PhilSA) stated that the mission patch designed by UPOU Multimedia Studies student Jaden Tomacruz topped 21 other entries in a contest that opened in October 2022 during Design Week Philippines. It was held in partnership with the Department of Trade and Industry-Design Center of the Philippines (DTI-DCP).

“Visually, this patch design draws heavy inspiration from both Neo-Cubism Art and Abstract Minimalism present in modern Filipino painters. The color schemes used are a nod to previous mission patches. The shape, instead of being a circle, embodies a pentagon (can be a shield or crest) with rounded edges to signify the real testament of MULA’s future: wisdom, nationalism, and sovereignty. The three prominent stars are hoisted in a homogeneous position as the national flag though the top-most star shines with eight primary rays mirroring the golden-yellow sun in the flag,” PhilSA said in a statement.

PhilSA said even in the midst of immense hardship, there remains hope to rebuild and rejuvenate; this is the message that is sent by the encircling arches of MULA, which portray an ever-present shining flame rising.

Jaden Tomacruz, designer of the official MULA Mission Patch. | Photo from PhilSA

Alongside, a silhouette of strands of wheat is embroidered through it, in correlation with the long historical and cultural significance of rice production in the Philippines. Intrinsically, this satellite technology will help ensure, safeguard, and sustain the rich natural and human resources of the Philippines.

The typeface Cubao Free, popularly known as signboards hung on jeepneys, was used to manifest the amount of orbital commute MULA accomplishes. The bold presence is sensed as space research and development progress to the next generation of satellites. Furthermore, subtle likenesses of Balatik and Moroporo (constellations) allude to an acknowledgment of pre-colonization Filipino ethnoastronomy.

The contest aimed to involve and inspire more Filipinos through the arts and design community to #JoinTheMission of MULA.

The entries underwent two rounds of judging. A panel of judges composed of scientists from PhilSA, including MULA Satellite engineers, evaluated the mission patches based on relevance (35%), originality and creativity (20%), technical execution (20%), overall impact (20%), and audience impact (5%). The winner will receive P20,000.00 and a limited edition MULA plushie. All participants will also get the MULA plushie as a consolation prize.

Growing up, Jaden has always enjoyed observing the vast night sky and, subsequently, the celestial bodies and phenomena that occupy it. She feels that investing in space allows people to better understand and care for the natural world due to humanity’s inherent curiosity.

Now, at 20 years old, she has utilized astronomy through the lens of creative expression in design, writing, and performance. She hopes to work in the space industry professionally as a creative individual and through her work, potentially spark more interest from the younger generation (like the way she did.)

MULA is the biggest Earth observation satellite being built by the Philippines to date.

It weighs 130 kilograms and carries a TrueColour camera capable of capturing 5 m resolution images covering around 73-thousand square kilometers in 24 hours.

Data from MULA are envisioned to contribute to the country’s food security, disaster resilience, environment conservation, and national security.