Retro Mars posters prove Elon Musk’s SpaceX is really cool

18 May 2015

Let’s face it, we all want to go to Mars once it heats up a little and you can grow crops, plug in a microwave and receive decent Wi-Fi. Well SpaceX’s retro Mars posters certainly tap into humanity’s thirst to get off Earth and explore something new.

Mars, utterly dominated by two moons named Phobos and Deimos, has been humanity’s interstellar focus since we landed on the moon.

It has become the premise of many a sci-fi movie, centuries of astronomy and fortunes of research, manpower and equipment.

We’ve sent up rovers and photographer satellites, been told it will be colonised on numerous occasions and Elon Musk even set up SpaceX with the original goal of getting us there to check it all out.

There’s Mars One, the hard-to-pin-down project that plans to give a few ‘lucky’ people a one-way ticket there, as well as millions of childhood imaginations, all infested with the belief that we can rock out on Mars.

So SpaceX’s new retro movie posters fit the bill perfectly.

For example, what man or woman doesn’t want to “take a space-age cruise aboard the moons of Mars”?

SpaceX Retro 3

Especially when you consider these moons don’t actually spin, tidally locked as the planet’s gravity holds them in place. That means one side of each of them constantly faces Mars so, if your cruise captain is a decent pilot, you can enjoy a view full to the brim of the red planet throughout your entire stay!

SpaceX knows retro posters are the way to go

What about taking a jet-pack (of course) tour of Valles Mariners, to picnic with your family. SpaceX says it’s the “land of Martian chasms and craters”, so think Grand Canyon dust, rather than Glendalough greenery.

SpaceX Retro 2


Or sit back, in your lycra, and gaze at the wonder of Olympus Mons, “the solar system’s highest peak”, all from the comfort of your very own cable car. Summit the mountain, take a gander at the horizon and enjoy the trip back down to base camp, all while watching those enthusiastic rock climbers doing it the hard way.

SpaceX Retro 1

All these beautiful images are clickable for their full-sized versions, but it’s not the first time mid 20th century iconography was used to inspire exploration.

Last December, US space agency NASA embraced the recurring discoveries of distant planets with its Exoplanet Travel series, which recreated the nostalgia of travel posters during the 1950s, and put them in a distant future setting.

The three posters created as part of the series cover Kepler-186f, HD 40307g and Kepler-16b, the latter of which orbits two stars, which would expect to create a Tatooine-like setting as seen in Star Wars.

Again, all these beautiful images are clickable for their full-sized versions, and NASA even included a fine description of each. They are each via NASA/JPL-Caltech.

Experience the Gravity of a Super Earth

Twice as big in volume as the Earth, HD 40307g straddles the line between “Super-Earth” and “mini-Neptune” and scientists aren’t sure if it has a rocky surface or one that’s buried beneath thick layers of gas and ice. One thing is certain though: at eight time the Earth’s mass, its gravitational pull is much, much stronger.

Kepler-186 f - Where the Grass is Always Redder

Kepler-186f is the first Earth-sized planet discovered in the potentially ‘habitable zone’ around another star, where liquid water could exist on the planet’s surface. Its star is much cooler and redder than our Sun. If plant life does exist on a planet like Kepler-186f, its photosynthesis could have been influenced by the star’s red-wavelength photons, making for a color palette that’s very different than the greens on Earth. This discovery was made by Kepler, NASA’s planet-hunting telescope.

Relax on Kepler-16b - Where your shadow always has company

Like Luke Skywalker’s planet “Tatooine” in Star Wars, Kepler-16b orbits a pair of stars. Depicted here as a terrestrial planet, Kepler-16b might also be a gas giant like Saturn. Prospects for life on this unusual world aren’t good, as it has a temperature similar to that of dry ice. But the discovery indicates that the movie’s iconic double-sunset is anything but science fiction.

Mars city image, via Shutterstock

Gordon Hunt was a journalist with Silicon Republic