The MacLean Mission insignia commemorates and symbolizes all aspects of Canada's participation in Shuttle Mission STS-52.
The red maple leaf represents Canadian participation in the flight: flight hardware and software were developed in Canada, and Canadian experiments were performed by Canadian astronaut Steve MacLean. The larger, purple maple leaf rising over the horizon recalls the Northern Lights (Aurora borealis) over Canada. Canadian space science beginnings stem from research into the Aurora.
The Canadarm is depicted extending from the shuttle and grasping the maple leaf since the Canadarm was used extensively during the mission in the evaluation of the Canadian Space Vision System (SVS). The Canadarm also represents other Canadian hardware aboard, such as the SVS, which improved the Canadarm's operational performance. The Earth is shown with a blue band, symbolizing its fragile atmosphere and the significance of space research applied to atmospheric science. During the mission, two Canadian experiments provided data about the upper atmosphere: one investigation examined data on night glow phenomena and the other researched the stratosphere with respect to the Earth's protective ozone layer.
The five stars to the left of the tail of the shuttle and the two to the right indicate the mission flight number (52), as well as the number of Canadian experiments performed during the mission (5+2-7).
Mars is depicted to the left of the sky, just above the Earth. The research being conducted on this flight will contribute towards future missions to the red planet. Research in the material sciences will help increase our knowledge of how plastics and composite materials used in the construction of spacecraft degrade in the harsh environment of space. Scientists and engineers will be able to try new protective coatings and test materials designed for use on specific space hardware such as the International Space Station (ISS). The Canadian SVS technology may be used in the future to explore Mars. The life science experiments, which help increase our understanding of the body's adaptation to space flight, will enable humans to prepare for more extended periods in space, such as missions to Mars.