Space Exploration in our Solar System


I really like science posters, but this one has a special place in my heart. It contains a massive amount of information, but still presents a relatively simple narrative of the wonder of space exploration.

This poster lays out information about all of NASA’s space missions from 1959 to 2015. On the top half, the flight paths are shown in thin lines, recording which celestial bodies the spaceship orbited. The bottom half of the chart contains more information such as the target of that spacecraft, the purpose of that mission (such as a flyby, orbiter, or landing), and what the spaceships looked like.

The main focus of the poster is on the spacecrafts, not the correct spatial orientation of our planets and their moons. As a result, the primary audience for this poster infographic is a space exploration enthusiast, someone who would enjoy knowing ridiculously specific trivia about NASA’s space missions.

Notably, this poster also focuses primarily on NASA space missions, and doesn’t mention any probes sent by European or Asian countries. In addition, flyby missions are still represented with a flight path that orbits the entire planet or moon, exaggerating the flight path a little. This suggests that the Pop Chart Lab that created this poster primarily wanted to celebrate NASA’s achievements in space exploration. In addition, the sheer scale of this poster was probably meant to inspire wonder and awe in NASA’s accomplishments.

Personally, I felt that this poster was effective for me, although the bottom half takes up too much space. However, the general public may be overwhelmed by the data overload.