ad astra

So, way back last year when we were coming up with a name for Mach 30, we also decided on a tag line (something to help communicate what type of organization we are).  The tag line we choose was “Foundation for Space Development”.  It is part of our logo, and shows up as part of the page title on all of our web pages (thanks to a setting in Drupal).

Since sometime in the spring, I have wondered if there is a tag line that would more closely capture our values/goals and that could inspire us and future volunteers.  One idea that came to mind was to follow along the lines of what some other groups have done, which is to quote Virgil with “ad astra“, literally latin for “to the stars”.  Some groups simply use “ad astra”, while others use classic variations like “ad astra per aspera” (to the stars through difficulties), and there is at least one modern variation – “ad astra per alia porci” (to the stars on the wings of a pig).  All of this got me to thinking, could there be a Mach 30 twist on ad astra?

So, I started talking with Greg, and we went through lots of ideas (I think Greg had like 25 at one point), all trying to capture the sense of collaboration, openness, etc of our mission.  And then I remembered a presentation Greg gave at a conference in March – Reclaiming the Dream: A community based approach to space exploration, what about “to the stars through community“?

The result, is “ad astra per civitas”.  I have talked to a few other board members, and so far there is a general sense of approval.  What I am wondering is

  1. What do people think?  (both in terms of revisiting the tag line/motto, since I just kind of ran with an idea without checking it out, and in terms of this specific idea)
  2. Is this something that people think can be used in place of “Foundation for Space Development” in our printed materials or should it be reserved for other use? (assuming question #1 shows support from the group for the motto)


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4 thoughts on “ad astra

  1. Maureen Carruthers

    I certainly like the idea of “to the stars though community” and while I get the point of doing it in Latin and wouldn’t stand in the way of going that way, Latin leaves me (personally) cold–I can’t spell it, usually can’t say it, and rarely remember what it means.

    I would also be sad to leave behind “foundation for space development” as it’s double meaning warms my heart.

    All of that having been said moving away from traditional language toward a tagline that captures the value we are putting on community is a very important thing and, I think, ultimately of value to the organization.

    1. J Simmons Post author

      I had forgotten the double meaning in “foundation”, it is quite clever (though not completely obvious, so not sure how often the connection is made).

      My thought to go with latin was to borrow from a tradition in space exploration. It may be a good idea to look for other traditions in mottos relating to space exploration to see if there is an alternative tradition to follow.

    2. J Simmons Post author

      Not the first to think “hey we need a latin motto”…

      So, while doing some more digging around on mottos (and latin mottos) for space related mission/groups, I came across this blog post from 2006, where a company’s founder had the same reaction I did – “hey we need a latin motto.” This is not meant to be an endorsement of the idea, I just thought it was funny.

  2. Greg Moran

    Not to the exclusion of the other…

    As J mentioned, he and I discussed the concept of having a Latin motto. And “Ad Astra Per Civitas” is just the best version that we’ve come up with to date. I also agree with Maureen about liking the double meaning of our first tag line too. I don’t have a very strong preference about which to use in certain situations, but I like them both. One could be a “motto” and the other could be the organizations “sub-title.”

    • When dealing with the aerospace community we could use “Ad astra…”
    • When dealing with the non-profit community we could use “Foundation…”
    • Does that mean we need a third one for the open source community then ????

    There’s my $0.02.


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