In a moment of what can only be thought of as pure brilliance, NASA and JPL (Jet Propulsion Laboratories) have created a series of beautiful, evocative travel posters for celestial destinations, entitled “Visions of the Future.” They are at once futuristic and nostalgic, with colorful retro art reminiscent of the old WPA national park posters. You can imagine them casually hanging in a travel agent’s office or maybe in a spaceship station, decades from now.
More importantly, you can imagine them hanging in your hallway in a simple, elegant frame, or tacked to the wall above the bed of a young aspiring world traveler or someday astronaut. Because NASA/JPL are offering these posters for FREE— just download the files and print out your 20×30 travel art.
There are 14 different NASA travel posters available for download. I was able to whittle my favorites down to a mere seven:
There’s no place like home. Warm, wet and with an atmosphere that’s just right, Earth is the only place we know of with life – and lots of it. JPL’s Earth science missions monitor our home planet and how it’s changing so it can continue to provide a safe haven as we reach deeper into the cosmos.
The rare science opportunity of planetary transits has long inspired bold voyages to exotic vantage points – journeys such as James Cook’s trek to the South Pacific to watch Venus and Mercury cross the face of the Sun in 1769. Spacecraft now allow us the luxury to study these cosmic crossings at times of our choosing from unique locales across our solar system.
Ceres is the closest dwarf planet to the Sun. It is the largest object in the main asteroid belt between Mars and Jupiter, with an equatorial diameter of about 965 kilometers. After being studied with telescopes for more than two centuries, Ceres became the first dwarf planet to be explored by a spacecraft, when NASA’s Dawn probe arrived in orbit in March 2015. Dawn’s ongoing detailed observations are revealing intriguing insights into the nature of this mysterious world of ice and rock.
The Jovian cloudscape boasts the most spectacular light show in the solar system, with northern and southern lights to dazzle even the most jaded space traveler. Jupiter’s auroras are hundreds of times more powerful than Earth’s, and they form a glowing ring around each pole that’s bigger than our home planet. Revolving outside this auroral oval are the glowing, electric “footprints” of Jupiter’s three largest moons. NASA’s Juno mission will observe Jupiter’s auroras from above the polar regions, studying them in a way never before possible.
Frigid and alien, yet similar to our own planet billions of years ago, Saturn’s largest moon, Titan, has a thick atmosphere, organic-rich chemistry and a surface shaped by rivers and lakes of liquid ethane and methane. Cold winds sculpt vast regions of hydrocarbon-rich dunes. There may even be cryovolcanoes of cold liquid water. NASA’s Cassini orbiter was designed to peer through Titan’s perpetual haze and unravel the mysteries of this planet-like moon.
Astonishing geology and the potential to host the conditions for simple life make Jupiter’s moon Europa a fascinating destination for future exploration. Beneath its icy surface, Europa is believed to conceal a global ocean of salty liquid water twice the volume of Earth’s oceans. Tugging and flexing from Jupiter’s gravity generates enough heat to keep the ocean from freezing. On Earth, wherever we find water, we find life. What will NASA’s Europa mission find when it heads for this intriguing moon in the 2020s.
Discovered in October 2013 using direct imaging, PSO J318.5-22 belongs to a special class of planets called rogue, or free-floating, planets. Wandering alone in the galaxy, they do not orbit a parent star. Not much is known about how these planets come to exist, but scientists theorize that they may be either failed stars or planets ejected from very young systems after an encounter with another planet. These rogue planets glow faintly from the heat of their formation. Once they cool down, they will be dancing in the dark.
Incredible, right? I just love them.
Learn more about how the NASA travel posters were conceived and download the files so you can print yours out pronto.
P.S. I just checked; to have a 20×30 photo-quality poster printed at Walgreens for same day pickup is $23.99; Snapfish is $21.99 plus delivery but they have discount codes out there all the time.
It looks like you can get a lower resolution poster at Staples for a lot cheaper, but it would be on a 24×36 sheet.