NASA is now making movie-like posters to go along with its moon missions.
NASA released an image to Twitter showing a new, movie-style poster for the Artemis II Moon mission. The mission itself is, of course, historic, taking humans not only into orbit around the Moon but farther into space than we have ever ventured. While the space agency’s sights remain on Mars, the Artemis Moon missions are a major step toward making them a reality and represent a historic return after 50 years with no missions to our orbital neighbor.
The new NASA Moon poster image went live on April 5 and is available as a free download, though we expect there will surely be print copies for purchase in NASA’s gift shop. The artwork is stunning and austere, featuring an astronaut in a space suit walking as blur streaks trail off behind them. The astronaut is against stark black, with the only text on the poster reading, “Artemis II” with the tag line, “For All Humanity.”
NASA’s Moon missions have long been associated with Neil Armstrong’s words as he descended the ladder of the lunar lander for the very first moon walk, “That’s one small step for man; one giant leap for mankind.” Armstrong, who died in 2012 at the age of 82, maintained that the recording of his words did not make clear the article “a” before the word “man,” correcting an apparent grammatical error. As attitudes toward gender have changed in the intervening years, the male-centric word “mankind” has also been seen as a problem with the famous slogan, perhaps influencing NASA’s welcome choice here to go with the more inclusive term, “Humanity.”
As a publicly funded agency, NASA has long been aware—even before the early Moon missions—of the importance of compelling visuals that help average citizens relate to and understand the work of space exploration. Those images have certainly inspired many movies, books, and other science fiction enterprises for decades, but now NASA seems to be taking some cues from the movies. The Artemis II poster image embraces a stark visual style that could easily grace the front of any movie theatre in the world and look like it was advertising the latest sci-fi adventure film.
NASA’s Moon poster seems to have drawn on imagery from artwork for recent films like Gravity and Arrival, which have employed simple, eye-grabbing images rooted in one or two visual elements, including astronauts. These posters also use clean, modern, non-serif fonts with careful spacing. In fact, the font NASA has created for the Artemis missions is somewhat similar to the typography employed in the logo for the Brad Pitt film Ad Astra.
NASA’s various scientific endeavors like Moon missions, ion propulsion, and any number of exploratory projects and technologies have frequently been either directly inspired by movies or made by people who became engineers or scientists because of sci-fi properties like Star Trek. It’s only fitting, then, that NASA would create an image that blurs the line between movies and real life. After all, the things they’re doing—from alien-spotting to planning homes on Mars—are just as amazing as anything we’d go to the movies to see.