Stylish NASA posters imagine the future of space tourism (pictures)
In future centuries, popular vacation destinations may literally be out of this world. NASA commissioned a new installment of speculative vintage travel posters to sell the best spots to visit in our solar system and beyond.
The latest batch of NASA travel posters is the biggest yet, and it starts with this poster promoting a once-every-175 year tour of the outer gas giant planets that takes advantage of the same rare alignment that the Voyager mission did for its tour of the solar system. That means we've got until roughly 2150 to work out the technology and logistics to make the trip possible for the next alignment.
NASA hopes to send the first humans to Mars in the 2030s, perhaps laying the foundation for a future interplanetary tourism industry to such impressive sites as Olympus Mons, a volcano almost three times the size of Mount Everest, and the Valles Marineris, the Red Planet's answer to the Grand Canyon, only long enough to span the lower 48 United States.
One day, when the colonies on Mars, the moon and in orbit are thriving, Earth may actually become a tourist destination itself. Imagine a family vacation to a remarkable place where the air doesn't have to be brought in or manufactured -- how quaint!
NASA's Dawn spacecraft has allowed us to become much more familiar with dwarf planet Ceres, the largest object in the asteroid belt. It's believed to contain a large amount of subterranean water that could make it a very important waypoint on any itinerary heading deeper into the solar system. And that's to say nothing of the potential for checking out a race or two across Ceres' magnificent reflective salt flats.
We don't usually think of huge and turbulent Jupiter as a place humans might want to spend any extended period of time, but all the crazy weather on the gas giant could make for some remarkable auroral light shows that NASA apparently fantasizes about seeing up close.
If there's one place in the solar system likely to host life, it could be the warm(ish) waters beneath the icy shell of Europa. But even if it turns out to be as dead under there as it is dark, it could make a great place for a creepy, crazy submarine expedition.
While it's a little bit further away, NASA still likes the idea that we could one day be traveling to the first exoplanet discovered, 51 Pegasi b. As the first planet seen around a star like our own, it holds a special significance, but you may want to save up your vacation days for the round trip, which would take 100 years to complete... if you could travel at light speed, that is.
If you're really up for something out of this world, NASA suggests a trip to a planet with a less-than-snappy name, PSO J318.5-22. This rogue planet wanders a darkened universe by itself without a star to orbit, so it's definitely a destination with a dark side (because that's it's only side).
Remember, if you're looking to go beyond this collection of known worlds we could hypothetically visit one day, be sure to check out our 23rd Century Travel Guide for Extreme and Casual Tourists to get an idea of the kind of activities and travelers these posters might one day be marketing to.