Monroe man’s Mars lottery ticket a winner

The Martians are coming.

A mild-mannered software engineer from Monroe is responsible for the alien invasion.

Steve Jensen came up with “Life on Mars” last summer to win Washington’s Lottery “Design a Scratch Ticket” contest.

The $2 game he designed debuts Monday, with an orbital 1.2 million “Life on Mars” tickets printed.

The game has $1.4 million in prizes, including four with a $20,000 payout.

Scratch the red rocks. Find Martians. Win money.

The lottery kept Jensen’s extraterrestrial Red Planet theme, but gave it a glossy makeover. He said his original design was “more alien looking.”

“I’m not really an artist,” said Jensen, a Microsoft contractor and married father of two teenagers.

An occasional lotto player, he was checking the state lottery site for winning numbers last year when he saw the teaser for the online contest to design a scratch ticket.

“Some of the early entries were rather stupid looking,” he said.

So, he decided, why not give it a whirl?

“At the time NASA had landed their latest rover, Curiosity, on Mars,” said Jensen, a fan of “Star Trek” and “Dr. Who.”

“It took a couple hours. I knew what I wanted in my mind. I sat down at the computer, Googled for images of Mars and found one.”

He asked his friends to vote for him with the campaign promise: “If I win, I’ll buy you all a ticket.”

His design got 2,665 of 12,722 votes in the contest that had 151 entries.

Jensen’s name is displayed in the top corner of each “Life on Mars” ticket. He got bragging rites, but no cash prize out of the deal. He didn’t even get a free ticket.

The design win is actually costing him money.

“I have to buy tickets for all my friends,” he said.

Andrea Brown; 425-339-3443; abrown@heraldnet.com.

More in Local News

Minutes mattered the day Pat Ward was brought back to life

The Mukilteo police and fire chaplain died at breakfast. She got a second chance thanks to a waitress.

Cool additions at an elementary school in Everett

A totem pole and new gardens grace the courtyard of Whittier Elementary School.

Kids suspected in school’s smashed windows and other damage

The cost of the damage at Explorer Middle School in south Everett is estimated to be $5,000.

Recall issued for about 1,250 pounds of meat

Camano Island’s Sausage Haus products might be contaminated.

3 women seek open seat in 39th District

The GOP nominees hope to fill the opening created by the resignation of Republican John Koster.

Lake Stevens High senior has an entrepreneurial mind

John Cramer crafts and sells designer pens to help pay for college

Marysville-Arlington fiber-optic link planned by Comcast

The high-speed internet line, to be ready next year, is seen as a boost for business development.

Cellphone carrier substation in Snohomish vandalized

Detectives with the Snohomish County Sheriff’s Office are investigating a… Continue reading

Driver flees deputy in Everett, then crashes, injuring 2

The suspect fled on foot but was tracked down and captured nearby. He was treated for injuries.

Most Read