To mark the one-year anniversary of its space program, North Korea has released a new logo for its National Aerospace Development Administration (NADA), and it looks unabashedly like NASA's iconic emblem — right down to the blue globe, lettering, and swooshed ring.
According to the North Korean Central News Agency, the choice of the globe expresses the nation's ideal of peaceful exploration. The blue rings represents satellites, and the constellation of stars shows its desire to "glorify Kim Il-sung's and Kim Jong-il's Korea as a space power."
But as the Guardian reports, the name "NADA" is right on the mark, though not in the way intended:
...[T]he logo was released to mark the first anniversary of North Korea's National Aerospace Development Administration, a name shortened on the emblem to Nada, the Spanish word for "nothing", arguably also an unfortunate coincidence given this seems to be precisely what the country's only successfully launched satellite is transmitting to Earth, leading overseas scientists to assume it has malfunctioned.
North Korea's space programme is a major source of pride to a hermetic and repressive state, which was condemned this year by a UN report as an abuser of human rights unparalleled in the modern world, with strong echoes of the Nazis.
The orbiting satellite was launched into December 2012, on a three-stage Unha rocket. Unha is Korean for "galaxy". It was the country's fifth attempt to put a satellite in orbit, with the previous mission, in April 2012, failing very publicly when the rocket exploded shortly after lift-off. North Korean scientists said the satellite would study crops and weather patterns. While it appeared the satellite was initially orbiting normally, US astronomers said soon afterwards that it was not transmitting any signals and was most probably tumbling in orbit.
[Via The Guardian]