Poster from NASA Jet Propulsion Laboratory


Take a once-in-a-lifetime vacation among the stars!

Or at least among the planets. And moons. And asteroids.

OK, not quite yet. But we can go a long way in our imaginations, especially with the help of the NASA Jet Propulsion Laboratory’s new series of travel posters.

The travel posters are the work of JPL’s The Studio: “a design and strategy team that works with JPL scientists and engineers to visualize and depict complex science and technology topics. Their work is used in designing space missions and in sharing the work of NASA/JPL with the public.” And the posters are available for you to download or print off free-of-charge to help your imagination take you all over the solar system and beyond. Fine print at the bottom of each poster explains the known facts behind the artists’ inspiration.

On planets like Jupiter and Venus, we’re only likely to be able to establish a human presence in their upper atmospheres—Jupiter’s gravity and atmospheric density would crush us any lower than that, and Venus’s high atmosphere is its only zone with human-friendly temperatures and survivable pressure too. But what about a Jovian balloon ride or a visit to a Venusian cloud city?

Who knows what sights can be seen from dive suits or submersibles in the ocean under the ice of Jupiter’s moon Europa? (Scientists and SF writers have considered Europa one of the most promising places in the solar system to find extraterrestrial life.) Or maybe an exotic boat ride on one of the liquid methane lakes of Saturn’s planet-sized moon Titan is more to your taste. From there you could skip over the rings to Enceladus and gaze at the famous geysers.

If we ever get the hang of interstellar travel you might check out the twin suns of Kepler 16-b (and pretend you’re on Tatooine with Luke Skywalker), or the red sun of Kepler-186f (like Krypton—do you think we yellow-sun-dwellers might gain super powers there?), or try skydiving on HD 40307g with its extra thick atmosphere. If you’re a true party animal and night owl (or an actual vampire who shuns the light of day) then the place for you would be PSO J318.5-22 which looks to be a rogue planet without any nearby star to give it light. Neverending nightlife!

Sure, a lot of this is speculation and all of it involves flights of fancy, but these free posters from NASA could be a great addition to the bedroom of a young budding astronaut. Or equally good for grown-ups like us who still allow our inner child to dream and dream big.