New NASA posters share the horrors of the galaxy for Halloween
CNN – Although our universe is full of wonders, it is equally full of horror.
Designed colorful posters like old horror movie advertisements highlight some of these cosmic concerns in the latest release of NASA’s Office of Exoplanet Exploration at the Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, California.
The stickers can be downloaded for free from the NASA website, and are also available in Spanish.
Released just in time to celebrate Halloween, the posters highlight dangers and mysteries throughout the universe. The agency has also released a SoundCloud playlist that includes spooky sounds of space.
Previous posters highlighted the wonders of our solar system as well as habitable exoplanets, or planets outside of our solar system, as they imagine how humans could one day visit these distant places.
But the phenomena depicted in these posters are more evil.
The posters combine imaginative artistic representations with interesting science. Teams of artists and scientists have collaborated on it since 2014.
The latest additions to NASA’s horror galaxy poster collection include elusive dark matter, a deadly gamma-ray burst and a “galactic graveyard”.
The Galactic Cemetery poster displays an ancient galaxy in which the birth of stars suddenly stopped just a few billion years after the Big Bang. Now, it is a graveyard of decaying stars and the only remaining stars are young and red, casting an eerie red glow.
“Dare to enter, and you may come across the fearsome corpses of exoplanets or the throes of the final death of once powerful stars,” reads the JPL comment.
The “Gamma Ray Ghouls” poster shows what happens when dead stars collide: a gamma-ray burst. This is one of the most powerful explosions in the universe.
“These beams of death are unleashed on their unfortunate surroundings, radiating a million trillion times brighter than the sun for up to 30 terrifying seconds. No spacecraft will protect you from the blinding destruction of gamma ray ghouls!” The text on this poster says.
Then there is dark matter. This invisible gravity provides structure to the universe, but scientists do not know what it is made of, and they have been trying to discover a “particle” of dark matter for years.
One of the things I really like about these posters is that if you spend some time studying art and then maybe go to learn more about each of these topics, you will see that there is a lot of thinking by artists about Jason Rhodes, an astrophysicist at the Pay Lab. Jet, who consulted on the project, said in a statement, “They have made choices to shine a light on the science.”
For example, the spider web used in the dark matter poster is a clever reference to the structure of the cosmic web, which links galaxies together, which we cannot see.
The gamma ray poster also highlights the danger of being near the collision between dead stars and the energy that they will release.
Judy Rakussen, an astrophysicist at NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center who also consulted for posters, highlighted how rare gamma-ray bursts are – so they’re unlikely to affect Earth.
Gamma rays explode in our galaxy only once every 10,000 years, but they are only visible to us every 10 million to 100 million years, according to NASA.
“Poster art is a really fun way to imagine one of these things happening,” said Rakussen. “But I don’t want to be these space travelers!”
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