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

‘Come talk to me. Don’t jump, come talk to me’

State Patrol trooper Yaroslav Holodkov just happened to be driving by when he saw a suicidal man.

Marysville educators reach out to a newly traumatized school

Several affected by shootings in 2014 offered to talk with counterparts in Eastern Washington.

Hurry! Target will take your old car seat, but not for long

The seats will be taken apart and the various materials recycled.

Sheriff’s Office receives national recognition

Sheriff accepts award “notable achievements in the field of highway safety” over the past year.

Edmonds-Woodway High School briefly locked down

A student tried to stop a fight and a boy, 16, responded by threatening the student with a knife.

Study considers making it legal to grow marijuana at home

The Liquor and Cannabis Board is considering two scenarios for allowing a minimal number of plants.

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.

Woman fatally shot at home near Everett

Another woman and three children, who were also in the home, were not injured.

Cool additions at an elementary school in Everett

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

Most Read