NASA Creates Movie Parody Posters for Its Expedition Flights: Download Parodies of Metropolis, The Matrix, The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy and More

For just over eigh­teen years now, NASA has been con­duct­ing expe­di­tions to the Inter­na­tion­al Space Sta­tion. Each of these mis­sions has not just a name, or at least a num­ber (last week saw the launch of Expe­di­tion 58), but an offi­cial poster with a group pho­to of the crew. “These posters were used to adver­tise expe­di­tions and were also hung in NASA facil­i­ties and oth­er gov­ern­ment orga­ni­za­tions,” says Bored Pan­da. “How­ev­er, when astro­nauts got bored of the stan­dard group pho­tos they decid­ed to spice things up a bit.”

And “what’s a bet­ter way to do that oth­er than throw­ing in some pop cul­ture ref­er­ences?” As any­one who has ever worked with sci­en­tists knows, a fair few of them have some­how made them­selves into liv­ing com­pen­dia of knowl­edge of not just their field but their favorite books, movies, and tele­vi­sion shows — not always, but very often, books, movies, and tele­vi­sion shows sci­ence-fic­tion­al in nature.

The prime exam­ple, it hard­ly bears men­tion­ing, would be Star Trek, but the well of fan­dom at NASA runs much deep­er than that.

You’ll get a sense of how far that well goes if you have a look through the Expe­di­tion poster archive at NASA’s web site. There you’ll find not just pop cul­ture ref­er­ences but elab­o­rate­ly designed trib­utes — down­load­able in high res­o­lu­tion — to the likes of not just Star Trek but Star WarsThe MatrixThe Hitch­hik­er’s Guide to the Galaxy (the sole pos­si­ble theme, Dou­glas Adams fans will agree, for Expe­di­tion 42), and even Fritz Lang’s Metrop­o­lis, which first gave dystopi­an sci-fi its visu­al form in 1927 (and which you can watch here). Albums are also fair game, as evi­denced by the Abbey Road poster for Expe­di­tion 26.

Bored Pan­da calls these posters “hilar­i­ous­ly awk­ward,” but opin­ions do vary: “I love them,” writes Boing Boing’s Rusty Blazen­hoff. “I think they’re fun and cre­ative.” And what­ev­er you think of the con­cepts, can you fail to be impressed by the sheer atten­tion to detail that has clear­ly gone into repli­cat­ing the source images? It’s all more or less in line with the for­mi­da­ble graph­ic design skill at NASA, pre­vi­ous­ly fea­tured here on Open Cul­ture, that has gone into its posters cel­e­brat­ing space trav­el and the 40th anniver­sary of the Voy­ager mis­sions.

Going through the Expe­di­tion poster archive, I notice that none seems yet to have paid trib­ute to Andrei Tarkovsky’s Solarissure­ly one of the most pow­er­ful pieces of out­er space-relat­ed cin­e­ma ever made. Grant­ed, that film has much less to do with team­work and cama­raderie than the intense psy­cho­log­i­cal iso­la­tion of the indi­vid­ual, which would make it tricky indeed to recre­ate any of its mem­o­rable images as proud group pho­tos. But if NASA’s poster design­ers can’t take on that mis­sion, nobody can.

via Boing Boing

Relat­ed Con­tent:

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

NASA Lets You Down­load Free Posters Cel­e­brat­ing the 40th Anniver­sary of the Voy­ager Mis­sions

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

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

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 cul­ture. His projects include the book The State­less City: a Walk through 21st-Cen­tu­ry Los Ange­les and the video series The City in Cin­e­ma. Fol­low him on Twit­ter at @colinmarshall or on Face­book.

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