EVEN BEFORE man had landed on the moon, Snoopy had landed his name on NASA equipment. Now, “Peanuts” and the space agency will launch a new phase of partnership.
Peanuts Worldwide and NASA will announce on Tuesday that they have entered into a multiyear Space Act Agreement, executives at Peanuts tell The Washington Post’s Comic Riffs. The partnership is engineered “to inspire a passion for space exploration and STEM” education among students, according to Peanuts Worldwide.
Jean Schulz, widow of “Peanuts” creator Charles M. “Sparky” Schulz, said that the initiative continues the cartoonist’s enthusiasm for NASA, noting: “It was all very personal for Sparky.”
NASA first approached Schulz in the mid-1960s about putting Snoopy — famously an aviator in “Peanuts” fantasy sequences — on its spaceflight safety materials. This year marks the 50th anniversary of the creation of the agency’s Silver Snoopy Award — an honor that recognizes achievements by NASA employees and contractors — and in 1969, the Apollo 10 lunar mission named modules for hard-luck Charlie Brown and his beagle, Snoopy.
Craig Schulz, the cartoonist’s youngest son and “The Peanuts Movie” producer, noted that his father called the Apollo 10 naming “the proudest moment in his career.”
Added Jean Schulz: “Sparky saw that if these men were willing to risk their lives for a mission such as this, he certainly could bless the use of his characters.”
The new era of collaboration aims to create entertainment content — including publishing, merchandising and interactive projects — that can help popularize science and tech education.
“With its new mission for ‘Peanuts,’ NASA now has the chance to branch off, or rather ‘STEM-off,’ its 50 years of success using Snoopy as a symbol for human spaceflight safety, while at the same time being able to engage a new generation with a set of highly relatable and widely recognizable characters,” said Robert Pearlman, the editor of collectSPACE and past online program director for the National Space Society.
“The ‘Peanuts’ gang are as diverse in their personality and approach as are the many opportunities that await those who embrace science, technology, engineering and mathematics subjects,” continued Pearlman, an expert on the cultural intersection of space and pop culture, from collectibles to educational guides.
For the new campaign, Astronaut Snoopy will be the face of STEM-based school curriculums with a focus on America’s latest explorations into deep space.
“The stars aligned — we all wanted to reach kids together,” said Roz Nowicki, executive vice president at Peanuts Worldwide.
Peanuts Worldwide plans to unveil details next week at Comic-Con International in San Diego.