When it comes to science communication, the most important thing to keep in mind is the perspective of the layperson, what someone will see, think, or understand if they have no prior knowledge. When you have some expert knowledge in science it can be hard to put it aside, but imagining the thought-process of a beginner gives you valuable information about how you are communicating, and can make a huge difference in your effectiveness.
Which is why I am always thrilled to see things that communicate real science, yet stimulate the imagination. NASA, being a publicly funded organization, has to make science accessible to the public, their budget depends on it. They’ve released more travel posters for some of the worlds in our solar system and beyond, and even though they are done in an art deco style, they let your imagination run wild about what is possible in the future.
Here are some of my favourites, on the planetary side!
I love the grand tour one – it gives you this blast into outer space, yet it only boards once every 175 years. Better pack for a long trip. Mars has a feeling of already being a developed world, since in the future it would be the first distant world to be inhabited.
Earth plays as the oasis in space, which it someday would be for interstellar travelers. Venus looks more like heaven above the acid clouds of the hellish surface. Maybe some day we will have great floating colonies on the Venusian clouds.
Jupiter is my favourite of the posters, with the colour scheme, the background of stars, the darkness, and fascinating bubble balloon capsules.
It really plays to the romance around space and travel to distant worlds. These posters are also free to download, so you can put them wherever you like! I’ll be adding these to a room in my house, no question!