NASA has created retro travel posters for different locations in our solar system in hopes of inspiring young people to imagine a future where common space travel is a possibility.
Harking back to an age not so long in the distance past NASA has paraphrased the catchphrase…
The Grand Tour was the traditional trip of Europe undertaken by mainly upper-class European young men of means, or those of more humble origin who could find a sponsor.
Same could be said about this grand plan, a trip for the ELITE. The Grand Tour served as an educational rite of passage, Though primarily associated with the British nobility and wealthy landed gentry.
So where to first Jeeves, perhaps Mars?
NASA’s Mars Exploration Program seeks to understand whether Mars was, is, or can be a habitable world. This poster imagines a future day when we have achieved the vision of human exploration of the Red Planet and takes a nostalgic look back at the great imagined milestones of Mars exploration that will someday be celebrated as “historic sites.” (NASA, 2016)
There is no place like home.
The rare science opportunity of planetary transits has long inspired bold voyages to exotic vantage points – journeys such as James Cook’s trek to the South Pacific to watch Venus and Mercury cross the face of the sun in 1769. Spacecraft / Probes now permits the luxury to study these cosmic crossings at times of our choosing from unique locales across our solar system. (NASA, 2016)
Ceres is the closest dwarf planet to the sun. It is the largest object in the main asteroid belt between Mars and Jupiter, with an equatorial diameter of about 965 kilometers. After being studied with telescopes for more than two centuries, Ceres became the first dwarf planet to be explored by a spacecraft, when the Dawn probe arrived in orbit in March 2015. Dawn’s ongoing detailed observations are revealing intriguing insights into the nature of this mysterious world of ice and rock. (NASA, 2016)
The Jovian landscape boasts the most spectacular light show in the Solar System, with northern and southern lights to dazzle even the most jaded space traveller. Jupiters auroras are hundreds of times more powerful than Earth’s and they form a glowing ring around each pole that is bigger than our home planet. (NASA, 2016)
The moons of Saturn
Frigid and alien, yet similar to our own planet billions of years ago. Saturn’s largest moon, Titan, has a thick atmosphere, organic-rich chemistry and a surface shaped by rivers and lakes of liquid ethane and methane. Cold winds sculpt vast regions of hydro-carbon dunes. (NASA, 2016)
Astonishing geology and the potential to host the conditions for simple life making Jupiter’s moon Europa a fascinating destination for future exploration. Beneath its icy surface, Europa is believed to conceal a global ocean of salty liquid water twice the volume of Earth’s oceans. Tugging and flexing from Jupiter’s gravity generates enough heat to keep the ocean from freezing. (NASA, 2016)
The discovery of Enceladus’ icy jets and their role in creating Saturn’s E-ring is one of the top findings of the Cassini mission to Saturn. Further Cassini discoveries revealed strong evidence of a global ocean and the first signs of potential hydrothermal activity beyond Earth – making this tiny Saturnian moon one of the leading locations in the search for possible life beyond Earth. (NASA, 2016)
Seriously, though it will be only the ‘Landed and Stars’ whom would be able to afford such luxury.
Following Richard Branson’s announcement that his fledgling space company Virgin Galactic will commence its first commercial flights into space soon
Over 500 would-be astronauts – reportedly including Ashton Kutcher, Tom Hanks, Brad Pitt and Angelina Jolie – have already paid the $250k deposit for a seat on Virgin Galactic’s SpaceShip Two, which embarks on its maiden voyage later this year. Passengers aboard the six passenger vessel will be able to experience zero gravity 68 miles above the Earth during their two hour journey into sub-orbital space, with 600 people expected to fly in the first two years of service.
Also competing for a share of the new space tourist market is US company Space Adventures, which has already sent the first privately funded individuals into space. Its ‘Cosmonaut Overview Training’ package – based at the Gagarin Cosmonaut Training Center in Moscow and priced at $89,500 – gives affluent adventurers a taste of what they can expect should they decide to embark upon full training, including a spacewalk mission simulation in a neutral buoyancy tank and dinner with a real life cosmonaut.
The future of space travel, as seen by Virgin Galactic. Photograph: Virgin/PR