Uncommon color glossy 8 x 10 photo of the NASA mission patch for a Biorack experiment conducted on the Mir Space Station, which depicts Homer Simpson, in sperm form, hurtling away from Earth wearing an astronaut helmet, signed in blue felt tip by Matt Groening. Reverse of photo bears a label indicating that the autograph was obtained at a private signing on February 9, 1999. In very fine condition. Accompanied by a certificate of authenticity from Beckett Authentication Services.
The pictured Biorack patch, which remains exceedingly scarce in its own right, was issued in connection with two NASA experiments flown on shuttle missions STS-81 and STS-84 on January 12 and March 15, 1997, in an attempt to test the movement of sperm in microgravity. Dr. Joseph Tash, a physiologist at the University of Kansas Medical Center who led the experiment, is the brother of Max Tash, whose wife's sister is married to Matt Groening. A fan of The Simpsons, Dr. Tash asked Groening to design the patch for the experiment, to which the latter agreed. The humorous result is reminiscent of Homer's brief appearance as a sperm cell in the classic season six episode 'And Maggie Makes Three.'