How to download and print NASA’s 14 brilliant travel posters at home

nasa jupiter poster
What if outer space tourism were possible? The travel posters might look something like this. For its Visions of the Future project, NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL) commissioned artists to design a series of travel posters that depict an exotic locale in our solar system — from Venus and Mars to Ceres, the recently photographed dwarf planet — illustrated in a vintage style that evokes classic travel posters. Fourteen posters, including three new ones from artists Don and Ryan Clark, are available for free download and printing.

“The posters are the brainchild of The Studio at JPL, a design and strategy team that works with JPL scientists and engineers to visualize and depict complex science and technology topics,” JPL writes. “Their work is used in designing space missions and in sharing the work of NASA/JPL with the public.”

You have the option to download a printable version or a high-resolution one. The printable version is a PDF, and it’s a relatively small 2.3MB file. The high-res version is a large 206MB uncompressed TIFF file. Unless you’re using Adobe Photoshop to tweak the image for reproduction in a magazine, the TIFF file is overkill for general at-home printing. (Whatever you do, do not print the JPEG thumbnails.)

The PDF version’s dimensions are 83 x 125 inches at 72 dpi (20 x 30 at 300 dpi, a resolution that’s ideal for printing), and it’s a universally recognized file format. If you’re making standard 8.5 x 11 (letter-sized) prints, you can simply hit the print button and scale to fit. If you use Adobe Acrobat Reader, the software’s print menu will have a variety of output options preset for you. (We’re giving you the easy method; more advanced users can use photo-editing software like Photoshop to crop or resize it to their requirements, as well as make other adjustments.)

However, to achieve the best results, use a high-quality, six-color inkjet photo printer and premium semi-gloss, matte, or satin paper. With premium papers, note their ICC profiles (downloadable from the vendors’ website) and use the color management tab in the printer driver to apply that profile.

But no matter how high the quality, letter-sized prints won’t fully do justice to these images — these glorious artworks deserve to be outputted on large, poster-sized paper, and luckily the files are big enough to be printed up to 20 x 30 inches, which is a typical size for posters (you could go larger if you don’t mind quality degradation, but we do). If you want to print just one of these posters, you could simply have a specialty print shop (like a Staples or FedEx Office) pump one out for you — in 20 x 30 — on a professional large-format printer, pay a small price (around $15), put it in a nice frame, and call it a day. But if you have access to a large-format desktop inkjet, you could make several of these prints yourself – up to 17 inches in width and whatever length your paper is.

In Adobe Reader's print menu, you can choose the Poster option to print the 20 x 30-inch image on eight 8.5 x 11-inch paper.
In Adobe Acrobat Reader’s print menu, you can choose the Poster option to print the 20 x 30-inch image on eight 8.5 x 11-inch paper.

Chances are, you don’t own a large-format printer, but there’s still a way to make a large wall-sized print with a regular printer. You could use online software like Block Posters or the Rasterbator, which lay out the image onto multiple sheets of paper, but these services require converting the PDF (or TIFF) to a JPEG. Again, use Adobe Acrobat Reader’s print menu instead: In the Page Sizing & Handling section, you can choose the Poster option and print it on eight 8.5 x 11 sheets. There’s some manual labor involved, as you’ll need to trim the papers; there are guide marks on where to cut (before printing, check the box that says “Cut marks,” and you’ll need to stitch them carefully while taping them to the wall or putting them within a 20 x 30 frame.

Head over to NASA/JPL’s website to download the posters.

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