Comic characters Groot and Rocket will head to space in new NASA mission

Keeping the next generation on mind and to ensure that research opportunities provided by in the field of space exploration are used to their full potential, the US government recently announced a latest space mission patch that is expected to appeal to sci-fi fans and space enthusiasts. The mission will have two front-and-center characters on the new patch: Rocket Raccoon and Groot, the two beloved Marvel comic universe characters from ‘Guardians of the Galaxy’ franchise.

The project was conceived by the US government in 2011 and a special agency, the Center for the Advancement of Science in Space (CASIS), was created to manage the US National Laboratory aboard the International Space Station (ISS). The path is also expected to encourage students to get involved in STEMs research.

The patch, designed by Marvel Comic’s Custom Solution Group, will represent all payloads that are destined for the ISS’ US National Laboratory for the remainder of 2016.

The prject is being overseen by US space agency NASA, which has really ramped up its efforts to use pop-culture tie-ins to engage with the public in recent years.

The main job of CASIS, which manages the National Laboratory on ISS, is to ensure US astronauts get a return on our country's investment in sending them there.

“A major mission for us here at CASIS is to find unique and innovative ways to bring notoriety to the ISS National Laboratory and the research that is being conducted on our orbiting laboratory”, CASIS Director of Operations and Educational Opportunities Ken Shields said in a statement. There are very few brands in the world who have as large an impact as Marvel, and they are thrilled to partner with them on this project and look forward to Rocket and Groot inspiring a new generation of researchers interested in the space station, Shields added.