You'd be forgiven for thinking the plot of 2020 was straight out of a horror film – and we haven't even reached Halloween yet. To celebrate the spookiest day of the year this Saturday, NASA has revealed a bunch of horror-inspired posters depicting genuine interstellar phenomenons. And instead of a trick, these are a real treat.
The designs, which could easily pass for real vintage film posters, include a dead galaxy, an explosive gamma ray burst and, everyone's favourite, dark matter. Like all of the best print ads, these designs are multi-faceted – not only are they great fun, but they're also delightfully educational.
Dark matter to send chills down the spine, a galactic graveyard whose residents decay over time, gamma ray ghouls with beams of doom that blind and gleam... are you ready for #NASAHalloween?😈✨Download our newest @NASAExoplanets posters:https://t.co/NToKqn9UwY pic.twitter.com/1RRCaPhZ9IOctober 27, 2020
Along with each illustrated poster is a description of the terrifying phenomenon it depicts. Galactic Graveyard, for example, is a galaxy that "mysteriously stopped making stars only a few billion years after the Big Bang," and is now full of decaying stars, while Dark Matter is described as "an intricate web that forms the skeleton of our universe". Because what could be scarier than a giant spider's web in space?
"One of the things I really like about these posters is that if you spend some time studying the art and then maybe go learn a little more about each of these topics, you'll see there was a lot of thought by the artists about the choices they made to highlight the science," says Jason Rhodes, an astrophysicist who consulted on the project, in a blog post on NASA's website.
The posters were produced by NASA's Exoplanet Exploration Program Office, located at NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Southern California. You can download the whole series, titled Galaxy of Horrors, from NASA's website. Other designs include Flares of Fury (dust laced with radiation) and Rains of Terror (clouds laced with glass).
Ok, these new Halloween horror movie space posters from @NASA are SO good 👻🌌🛸 (also available to download in Spanish!) https://t.co/BQWsSnamSR pic.twitter.com/LHp9IwwdpFOctober 26, 2020
How cool is this science nerds? Check out the @NASA Galaxy of Horror posters. #Halloween #GalaxyofHorror https://t.co/6GxOzV3mQHOctober 27, 2020
Like many on Twitter, we're big fans of the posters – not only are they wonderfully illustrated, but they're also a truly inventive way of encouraging engagement with some of the most mind-boggling wonders of science. Indeed, they say that in space, nobody can hear you scream – and judging by these posters, there's plenty to scream about.