Look to science fiction and the retro futuristic designs of yesteryear and you'll find an imaginative zeal for space exploration, a zeal that can be lacking in the nuts and bolts of real-time mission objectives. The spinning torus space stations of "2001: A Space Odyssey" and Donald E. Davis' NASA-commissioned paintings simple wow us in ways that two hours of NASA TV never will.
Luckily, NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory knows the value of a little dream weaving. They've unleashed a suite of 14 travel posters aimed at inspiring new generations of innovators, engineers, scientists and explorers. Who wouldn't want to visit Venus' psychedelic Cloud 9 Observatory?
Or float the mysteries of Jupiter's cloudscape?
If you prefer to keep your feet a bit more grounded, then consider a hike beneath the twin suns of Kepler 16-b.
And, of course, there's even good-old Earth "where the air is free and the breathing is easy."
Each poster is sized to print, and the website grounds each helping of sci-fi optimism with a dose of NASA mission findings and objectives.
If you're inspired by the idea of octopod bases beneath the oceans of a Jovian moon, then the possible bridge to such a future is NASA's outbound Europa mission -- and the advancements wrought by the next generation of cosmic dreamers.