NASA lures space travelers with free space tourism posters

Story highlights

  • NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory releases space tourism posters
  • Invisible Creature were commissioned to design three of the images
  • Design choices and elements for the vintage-inspired posters are shown below
  • Gallery: 14 posters of cosmic destinations

(CNN)What will space tourism look like centuries from now? "Visions of the Future" -- a set of 14 posters released by NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL) -- provides an imaginative take.

All of the exotic travel posters can be downloaded for free here.
    In one image, two travelers fill up their water bottles at a rest stop on the dwarf planet Ceres, the "last stop until Jupiter." Another advertises scenic boat rides through Kraken Mare, a sea of hydrocarbons on the surface of Titan, Saturn's largest moon.
    JPL visual strategist Dan Goods explains that the images are intended to celebrate the diversity of planets being discovered -- and to increase the desire among the public to be curious about the universe.
    "Imagination is so critical to creating a future you want to be part of. Many of the things we are doing today were imagined by artists and science fiction writers decades ago. These destinations are all actual places that we know about, and one day, perhaps humans can go to them in the future."
    Goods says the images were rooted in scientific plausibility, and that illustrators worked with scientists and researchers. "It was really important to us that we worked with the technical community to make sure what we were showing could someday happen."
    Three of the posters were created by Seattle-based design and illustration studio Invisible Creature. Influenced by post-war WPA propaganda and vintage travel posters, one of the prints shows what it would be like to visit a Mars colony, complete with cultivated crops and water.
    Three of the posters were created by design studio Invisible Creature.
    Riffing on European voyages of the past, in another design, the studio invites would-be tourists on a 'Grand Tour' -- a once-in-a-lifetime alignment of Jupiter, Saturn, Uranus and Neptune; and the explosive geysers on Enceladus.
    "Nowadays, we use photography for tourism ads. But old (illustrated) travel posters have whimsical takes on locations. Your mind kind of gets lost in the art," designer Don Clark of Invisible Creatures, told CNN.
    "That's how we approached these posters, to capture that charm, optimism and hopefulness, and this whole idea of wanting to go on these trips."
    Here, Clark explains design choices and elements found on three posters by Invisible Creature.

    Ticket to Mars' historic sites

    "The graphic approach to this poster was modern and fun. There's the wheel of a Rover above the astronaut's head. There's ships flying into the frame to the left -- that's what transportation looks like once we're on Mars. There is also water and agriculture."
    "If you see it up close, it feels more distressed. It has the effect of a screen print, like the trapping or each layer of colors don't line up perfectly."
    "The Mars Curiosity Rover appears on the left. We used the same line thickness from the Rover's legs to show the rock formations. The poster mixes reality with the future ideals of space travel."

    A Grand Tour to see planets align

    "Every 175 years, Jupiter, Saturn, Uranus and Neptune align. If you were to travel at that time, the idea is you would hit them in one shot."
    "We wanted to show motion using the comics and stars, as well as the use of color. We're not using a ton of colors, but there's a lot of depth and dimension created by overlaying the colors."
    "JPL gave us overarching ideas of what they wanted to see, but gave us a lot of creative freedom. I played quite a bit with ship styles. I didn't want them to be too detailed. Once I narrowed the core shape for the ships, I added windows to fit with the art of the stars around the planets."

    100 'Breathtaking Geyers' on Enceladus

    "This is a much more WPA style poster -- like the famous ones from the 30s and 40s showing hot springs and geysers spilling out of the earth. In space, icy jets from geysers are propelled off the surface of the moon Enceladus. You can see Saturn in the background."
    "The idea is the man in the photo is taking a final tour in what he's created -- this weird orb ship that he's built to travel around."
    "The range of colors we used were darker. I wanted to evoke the feeling that this is the guy's last trip."