Download 14 Free Posters from NASA That Depict the Future of Space Travel in a Captivatingly Retro Style


If I could send a mes­sage back in time, I might send it to the wide-eyed and sky­ward-look­ing chil­dren of 1960s Amer­i­ca, apol­o­giz­ing that we nev­er did build those jet­packs, fly­ing cars, and moon colonies, but also let­ting them know that at least we, the cit­i­zens of the 21st cen­tu­ry, have devel­oped such tech­nolo­gies as smart­phones and a myr­i­ad of ways for snack foods to taste both sweet and salty at once.


I prob­a­bly would­n’t tell them how many of us long for the spir­it of their own time, which Amer­i­can his­to­ry has labeled “the Space Age” for good rea­son. It had its share of awful­ness, start­ing with the apoc­a­lyp­tic ten­sions of the Cold War, but that com­pe­ti­tion between soci­eties did spur mankind to voy­age bold­ly and unhesi­tat­ing­ly out into the great beyond, at least for a while there.


“Back in the 1930s and ’40s, dur­ing the height of the Great Depres­sion,” writes Hyper­al­ler­gic’s Alli­son Meier, “artists designed posters for the Works Projects Admin­is­tra­tion (WPA) to encour­age trav­el to nation­al parks and oth­er tourist sites in the Unit­ed States. NASA’s Jet Propul­sion Lab­o­ra­to­ry (JPL) design stu­dio is tak­ing a sim­i­lar approach to pro­mote a future of trav­el to oth­er plan­ets at a time when its fund­ing is up against bud­get con­straints and even a jour­ney to our galac­tic neigh­bor Mars may seem almost impos­si­ble.” And so we have this brand new series of four­teen Visions of the Future, free to down­load, print, and hang above your desk to fuel your own out­er-space day­dream­ing.


You’ll notice that all the artists com­mis­sioned have designed their space-trav­el posters—whether they pro­mote the high grav­i­ty of the “super Earth” exo­plan­et HD 40307g, the one-day “His­toric Sites of Mars,” or the “Grand Tour” of the Solar System—in a rich­ly retro style rem­i­nis­cent of 1930s air trav­el adver­tise­ments. This makes them artis­ti­cal­ly cap­ti­vat­ing, but also empha­sizes the con­ti­nu­ity between our present, the cen­tu­ry behind us, and the cen­turies ahead. “As you look through these images of imag­i­na­tive trav­el des­ti­na­tions,” says NASA/JPL’s site, “remem­ber that you can be an archi­tect of the future” — and every future wor­thy of the name comes built solid­ly upon a past.


You can down­load the full col­lec­tion of posters right here.

via Hyper­al­ler­gic

Relat­ed con­tent:

How the Icon­ic 1968 “Earth­rise” Pho­to Was Made: An Engross­ing Visu­al­iza­tion by NASA

NASA Archive Col­lects Great Time-Lapse Videos of our Plan­et

Ray Brad­bury Reads Mov­ing Poem on the Eve of NASA’s 1971 Mars Mis­sion

NASA Presents “The Earth as Art” in a Free eBook and Free iPad App

NASA Sends Image of the Mona Lisa to the Moon and Back

Free Inter­ac­tive e‑Books from NASA Reveal His­to­ry, Dis­cov­er­ies of the Hub­ble & Webb Tele­scopes

Leonard Nimoy Nar­rates Short Film About NASA’s Dawn: A Voy­age to the Ori­gins of the Solar Sys­tem

The Best of NASA Space Shut­tle Videos (1981–2010)

Won­der­ful­ly Kitschy Pro­pa­gan­da Posters Cham­pi­on the Chi­nese Space Pro­gram (1962–2003)

“Glo­ry to the Con­querors of the Uni­verse!”: Pro­pa­gan­da Posters from the Sovi­et Space Race (1958–1963)

Based in Seoul, Col­in Mar­shall writes and broad­casts on cities, lan­guage, and style. He’s at work on a book about Los Ange­les, A Los Ange­les Primer, the video series The City in Cin­e­ma, the crowd­fund­ed jour­nal­ism project Where Is the City of the Future?, and the Los Ange­les Review of Books’ Korea Blog. Fol­low him on Twit­ter at @colinmarshall or on Face­book.

by | Permalink | Comments (5) |

Sup­port Open Cul­ture

We’re hop­ing to rely on our loy­al read­ers rather than errat­ic ads. To sup­port Open Cul­ture’s edu­ca­tion­al mis­sion, please con­sid­er mak­ing a dona­tion. We accept Pay­Pal, Ven­mo (@openculture), Patre­on and Cryp­to! Please find all options here. We thank you!

Comments (5)
You can skip to the end and leave a response. Pinging is currently not allowed.

Leave a Reply

Open Culture was founded by Dan Colman.