NASA Exoplanet Travel Posters
January 8, 2015 8:06 AM   Subscribe

3 awesome downloadable NASA designed Travel Posters for places we haven't been to yet NASA's Kepler telescope is still discovering new, distant exoplanets in our corner of the Milky Way, but oftentimes they're hard to visualize and easily forgotten about by some of us normal folk. Now, to get everyone dreaming about these potentially habitable worlds, NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory has drawn up a trio of beautiful posters by the "Exoplanet Travel Bureau." All three echo the WPA's iconic travel prints from the mid-1930s, with classic typefaces and swathes of flat, contrasting color.
posted by bobdow (23 comments total) 55 users marked this as a favorite
 
You might also like the work of astronomer and artist Tyler Nordgren, including "Department of the Exterior" planetary parks, the parks after dark, and 2012 solar eclipses.
posted by BrashTech at 8:21 AM on January 8, 2015 [12 favorites]


These are cool, but I am struggling a little trying to figure out why skydiving is the to-do thing on a planet with high gravity (when the atmospheric density is undefined).
posted by achrise at 8:24 AM on January 8, 2015 [4 favorites]


These are really gorgeous, and I'm wondering about the possibility of getting one of the printed out and framed. How difficult would it be to get this printed in approximate poster size, I wonder? Would a copy shop be able to handle something this size, or do I need to go to a bona fide print shop?
posted by Gilbert at 8:30 AM on January 8, 2015 [2 favorites]


Steve Thomas has some neat space travel posters too. (scroll down)
I especially like the idea of zip-lining between asteroids.
posted by Kabanos at 8:42 AM on January 8, 2015 [1 favorite]


I personally prefer the original, less literal version of the Kepler 186f poster (it was for Gliese 581 with a different illustration but the same "grass is always redder" reference), which you can see in this tweet.
posted by chimaera at 8:45 AM on January 8, 2015 [1 favorite]


Ooh, two things I love rolled into one! Thank you!
posted by Naberius at 8:47 AM on January 8, 2015


A new life awaits you in the off-world colonies! The chance to begin again in a golden land of opportunity and adventure!
posted by kyrademon at 8:49 AM on January 8, 2015 [18 favorites]


Gilbert, the downloadable tiff files are large enough to be printed at 27"x39". Some copy shops only print up to tabloid size (11"x17"). A print shop could definitely handle a larger size and would be able to offer you better quality paper and therefore a better quality print. More expensive of course, but worth it if you're framing the art.
posted by Kabanos at 8:51 AM on January 8, 2015 [4 favorites]


A new life awaits you in the off-world colonies! The chance to begin again in a golden land of opportunity and adventure!


IT'S 3AM! BACK HERE ON EARTH, SOME OF US ARE TRYING TO SLEEP!

Damn blimp.
posted by TheWhiteSkull at 9:16 AM on January 8, 2015 [2 favorites]


Btw, if you want any of the Steve Thomas posters, please buy via the Intergalactic Travel Bureau, do not print yourself.
posted by Kabanos at 9:21 AM on January 8, 2015 [3 favorites]




If anyone cares, the image use policy for the JPL says "[u]nless otherwise noted, images and video on JPL public web sites (public sites ending with a jpl.nasa.gov address) may be used for any purpose without prior permission".
posted by Sangermaine at 9:58 AM on January 8, 2015 [3 favorites]


On a planet under a redder sun, evolution would tend to favor plants that absorbed more red, not ones that reflected more red! I'd expect plants on a planet of a red sun to be bluer, not redder.
posted by lupus_yonderboy at 10:28 AM on January 8, 2015 [1 favorite]


BrashTech, Tyler Nordgren was my professor (he does an amazing study abroad to Galileo's Italy). He's an all-around awesome guy so it's exciting to see his name pop up--and the posters are pretty great as well.

Yay for the WPA style applied to space. The posters are beautiful but what they stand for (government-funded science exploration, optimism about the future, etc) is also very true to the WPA aesthetic.
posted by librarylis at 10:39 AM on January 8, 2015 [5 favorites]


(Tyler Nordgren was a grad student with me and BrashTech. Small world.)
("With" as in we were all students in the same department at the same time.)

posted by RedOrGreen at 10:44 AM on January 8, 2015 [2 favorites]


Gilbert, I had a Tyler Nordgren "Parks After Dark" image printed at large poster size as part of a gift. It was printed, laminated and mounted on foam board at FedEx/kinkos. They were able to do it as I waited, and it cost about $50.
posted by apparently at 11:49 AM on January 8, 2015


I guess my earlier comment may have come across as snarky, but I love these so much. I worked on Kepler, and felt a very strong sense of ownership and pride when I first saw these on the ground floor of my building. I've been pestering people for months about when these were going to be released to the public as prints, but high-res downloadables is a great second choice.
posted by chimaera at 12:41 PM on January 8, 2015 [2 favorites]


lupus_yonderboy: On a planet under a redder sun, evolution would tend to favor plants that absorbed more red, not ones that reflected more red! I'd expect plants on a planet of a red sun to be bluer, not redder.

I think there are some open mysteries about the colors of photosynthetic plants. So many of them here on Earth are green even though that's smack in the middle of the part of the Sun's spectrum that reaches the surface—oughtn't they be absorbing more of that part of the spectrum relative to red and blue, rather than less?

One idea comes from the fact that too many photons are just as bad for photosynthesis as too few: if a plant is absorbing more energy than the downstream chemical reactions can use productively, the excess energy spills over and damages things. The very reason there are shade-tolerant plants versus full-sun plants is they have evolved different systems to find different balances.

Another idea is that there are just chemical and biological limitations on what sorts of pigments plants can efficiently manufacture, and usually absorbing green photons is just not worth the effort.

If the first explanation holds water, it might be universal that it's best for photosynthetic life to have a double-bumped spectral absorption: less sensitive to the middle of their star's output, more sensitive to either side. On Earth that means absorbing red and blue light, and plants that look green. On a red-star planet, that would mean plants that absorb infrared and green, and look red.

(Of course here on Earth the only organisms that can photosynthesize in the infrared are exotic microbes around hydrothermal vents—plants can't or don't and instead reflect infrared brightly. Alien life may or may not end up being able to make enough use of infrared to grow what we would interpret as "plants".)
posted by traveler_ at 2:31 PM on January 8, 2015 [2 favorites]


I love this. Retro-future is just my style.
posted by Kerasia at 4:10 PM on January 8, 2015


THESE ARE DELIGHTFUL AND I AM DELIGHTED.
posted by Space Kitty at 7:04 PM on January 8, 2015 [3 favorites]


My wife just brought two of these home from the American Astronomical Society meeting. I guess they were giving them out at the Kepler booth. They look great.
posted by mr_roboto at 10:54 PM on January 8, 2015


I've been pestering people for months about when these were going to be released to the public as prints, but high-res downloadables is a great second choice.

The NASA Exoplanet Exploration booth was giving away printed Kepler-16b and HD 40307g posters at their AAS booth this year, so they do exist as prints now. Keep pestering them and maybe they'll get things set so people can order them somewhere...

I worked on Kepler, and felt a very strong sense of ownership and pride when I first saw these on the ground floor of my building.

I feel like we might work in the same building (321?). If they made one of the HR 8799 system, I would frame that sucker on my wall. (HR 8799 is a star with 4 large gas giant companions, and is a favorite target of instruments meant to image exoplanets directly.)
posted by Upton O'Good at 11:04 PM on January 8, 2015 [1 favorite]


Yeah I work on the 4th floor, on Mars 2020 nowadays. You can see my name in my profile.

There are a ton of great Kepler systems (and other exo systems) - I'd love to see more posters for those, and I hope they catch on.
posted by chimaera at 11:25 AM on January 11, 2015


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