These 9 NASA Posters Give Astronauts the Celebrity Treatment

NASA // Public Domain
NASA // Public Domain / NASA // Public Domain

NASA knows how to lend its missions a little glamor. Recently, the agency's Jet Propulsion Laboratory made Kepler-186F look like an exotic travel destination—but it's been giving its astronauts the celebrity treatment since 1996.

Beginning with Space Shuttle Mission 96, each NASA crew has been featured on a poster with art by the Kennedy Space Center's graphics department. The custom has continued for the International Space Station (ISS) missions. Although the design [PDF for the first ISS expedition (which took place from 2000-2001) is more straightforward than the ones you're about to see, it still kind of resembles something you'd see hanging at your local AMC.

1. ISS EXPEDITION 16 // 2007

Expedition 16's crew decided to shake things up by posing like the stars of The Matrix (1999).

2. ISS EXPEDITION 21 // 2009

The next ISS mission to use a pop culture-themed poster was Expedition 21 in 2009. The six astronauts dressed in the Starfleet uniforms of Star Trek: The Next Generation (1987-1994)—perhaps as a way to celebrate their exploration of the final frontier.

3. ISS EXPEDITION 26 // 2010

The poster for Expedition 26 recreated the iconic cover of the Beatles album, Abbey Road (1969). Astronaut Catherine Coleman even shed her shoes as a tribute to Paul McCartney’s barefoot walk.  

4. ISS EXPEDITION 30 // 2011-2012

Expedition 30, which spanned 2011-12, gave us "Pilots Over the Caribbean."

5. ISS EXPEDITION 31 // 2011

Expedition 31's poster may have been inspired by the rendezvous with SpaceX’s Dragon capsule, which docked at the ISS in the first commercial space resupply mission.  

6. ISS EXPEDITION 38 // 2013-2014

Not all mission crews selected a pop culture theme. Instead, Expedition 38's let the astronauts' work be the star—and also showed them hanging out with an actual star.

7. ISS EXPEDITION 42 // 2014

Expedition 42 in 2014 was special because of its number. Because every sci-fi fan knows that 42 is the answer to life, the universe, and everything, the crew insisted on paying homage to The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy.

8. ISS EXPEDITION 43 // 2015

The poster for Expedition 43 was a throwback to the 1927 science fiction movie, Metropolis. The extra s in the title of this fake feature is a tribute to the International Space Station.

9. ISS EXPEDITION 45 // 2015

The crew of Expedition 45 [PDF] is currently on the ISS. Astronaut Scott Kelly and Cosmonaut Mikhail Kornienko are on day 236 of their One Year Mission, while other astronauts shuttle in and out. Their expedition poster portrays them as Jedi Knights, carrying out their science mission on behalf of the Light Side. (May the Force be with them.)

All images courtesy of NASA