NASA Posters and Instructions on the Voyager Golden Record

NASA Visions of the Future posters -    The Good

I have faith that space tourism will be available (and affordable) in my lifetime, but these days, it seems it will be up to Elon Musk's SpaceX or Richard Branson's Virgin Galactic rather than NASA (no, I still don't have $250,000 to pay for it). 

NASA, however, designed some fantastic travel posters as part of a brilliant marketing stunt for their Jet Propulsion Laboratory.  The 'Visions of the Future' posters feature planets and moons that we could potentially reach in a few thousand years, and presents them as traditional travel posters. 


Imagination is our window into the future. At NASA/JPL we strive to be bold in advancing the edge of possibility so that someday, with the help of new generations of innovators and explorers, these visions of the future can become a reality. As you look through these images of imaginative travel destinations, remember that you can be an architect of the future. 
— NASA
I happened to grab a few from the NASA stand on the last SXSW festival, but the collection of 15 posters is available for free on a super high definition so you can print them yourself. 

I happened to grab a few from the NASA stand on the last SXSW festival, but the collection of 15 posters is available for free on a super high definition so you can print them yourself. 


Instruction Manual on the Voyager Disk - The Bad

In 1977 NASA launched the Voyager missions, 2 probes that have given us some of the most amazing images from around our solar system. Voyager 1 is now at almost 13 billion miles from Earth, it has left the solar system and is literally traveling interstellar space. Between stars. In absolute nothingness. 

Neither Voyager spacecraft is heading toward any specific star, but Voyager 1 will pass within 1.6 light-years distance of the star Gliese 445 in the constellation Camelopardalis, in about 40,000 years.

Now, 40 years ago when Voyager was launched, NASA decided to include a Golden Record in each one of the probes: a phonograph record with sounds and images selected to portray the diversity of life and culture on Earth. They are meant for any intelligent extraterrestrial life form, or for future humans, who may find them. 

The contents of the record were selected for NASA by a committee chaired by Carl Sagan of Cornell University in a process that took over a year. 

The problem is that the 115 images are encoded in analogue form and composed of 512 vertical lines. The remainder of the record is audio, designed to be played at 16⅔ revolutions per minute.

The 'instructions' to access this data were engraved on the disk. This is the logic behind them: 

Seriously? 


How to test your user interface - The Tip

The ideal product shouldn't have an instruction manual. It should be simple enough that you don't need to 'learn' to use it, it's just obvious enough. 

However, that's hardly ever the case, especially for software, so here are some tools you can use to test mockups. The best way to do it is to put this in front of strangers and record or write down their reactions, struggles and breakthroughs.