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

District takes steps to secure school campuses

Safety measures have been enhanced at Hawthorne and Silver Firs elementary schools in Everett.

Hard work is paying off for Mariner High senior

Mey Ly has excelled in school since moving here from Cambodia; she also serves as an intrepreter.

County under flood watch; back-to-back storms promise heavy rain

The National Weather Service issued a flood watch Monday for… Continue reading

1 arrested after SWAT team moves in on Marysville house

The incident was connected to an earlier robbery.

Yes to turn signal — eventually

Adding a right-turn signal at 112th St. and 7th Ave. is turning out to be a bit more complicated.

A federal court considers Everett’s bikini-barista case

Does the city’s dress code suppress free speech — or deter crime? A judge asked tough questions of both sides.

Is the state Transportation Commission irrelevant?

A report says the citizen panel often is ignored, and its duties overlap with the Transportation Department.

No easy exit from Smokey Point shopping complex

There’s just no easy exit on this one. A reader called in… Continue reading

Most Read