Above Earth Tshirt Celebrates 50 Years of Manned Spaceflight

In honor of the 50th anniversary of Yuri Gagarin's historic first manned mission into the great beyond... Chop Shop's newest iconic tshirt was released today featuring 23 historic missions of mankind's exploration of Earth and space. Missions starting with Sputnik -- leading to Yuri Gagarin's first manned mission expanding to today's permanently manned International Space Station.

The design itself also includes unmanned missions like Sputnik, Hubble as well as missions inhabited by species other than human. A spiraling timeline weaves the missions together and is numbered with significant years of progress. Pre-Order it for Men on American Apparel’s Black, Navy or on Alstyle Black and for Women on American Apparel Black. Look for a children’s version in a few weeks as well.

New Iconic Celebrates 23 Deep Space Missions & The Planetary Society

Robotic and human missions of exploration that extended beyond the Earth’s orbit. 23 historic missions in total (with an additional 6 separations) that are recognized for their notable achievements to various celestial bodies in our solar system with targets including the Sun, planets and their moons, comets and asteroids. Nearly every icon represents a specific robotic explorer (or series) with the exception of the Apollo program which continues to be the single human endeavor to ever go beyond the cradle.

If you buy a copy we will donate $5 of every purchase to The Planetary Society. The world’s largest space-interest group dedicated to inspiring the public with the adventure and mystery of space exploration. A non-governmental organization founded in 1980, who among its founders included Carl Sagan, the author of Cosmos.

If you buy a copywith a membership (sorry, US residents only), we will register you as a new member for only an additional $25 (normally $37). See here for what you get as a new member.

Space Exploration is a Good Idea

In case readers of this blog are not aware, our main gig in life is running a design studio called Chopping Block and a (mostly) t-shirts shop called Chop Shop. In an effort to increase the amount of awesome design featuring space exploration, we have been posting the work of other artists here and now we have decided to officially join the ranks by releasing some of space related work of our very own starting with our A Good Idea tshirt.

Friend of the Chop, Matthew Borgatti, made this cosmonaut lamp a while back and it made it’s way around the web as clever things often do. We asked Matthew to convert it into a drawing so we could display his concept on chests the world over. The title is a play on a famous graphic design slogan, “design is a good idea”. Our point-of-view is that space exploration is a good idea as well.

By the way, yes… it does glow in the dark.

Vintage-Styled Soviet Space Posters

Contained within Justinvg’s excellent poster set on flickr are these gorgeous posters celebrating early Soviet triumphs in space. There are 5 total; Sputnik, Sputnik 2, The Luna Program, Vostock and Voskhod. But if you are a fan of Star Wars — don’t miss his fictional travel poster series (which are also included in the same set as these Soviet ones).

Eric Zelinski Redesigns Man and Space

Eric Zelinski had an unusual inspiration to redesign 4 chapters of a classic educational book; Time Life Science Library's Man and Space. The edition was first printed in 1964 and contained some very basic info-graphics on various space travel themes of the era. Keep in mind that this is pre-Apollo — so some of the items were conceptually unproven, but based upon generally accepted models of that time.

Seen above is “Ways to Go” which presents 3 different ways that NASA was actually considering for getting a man to the surface of the moon and back. Judging from the upstanding rockets seen in diagram #1 and #2, I think #3 is closer to the method that prevailed.

A diagram of the way back home.

A bit of more general information on the local environment around earth.

See also Eric’s submissions to the t-shirt giant Threadless. Many are space themed and his current submission is “Us Divided” which features a cosmic Earth split in two. It is now available for voting, so why not show some support?

Ross Berens Ruins My Dreams

I had really always thought it would be so cool to do a poster set with great design for each of the planets. I actually started a design for the Cassini at Saturn mission, but have yet to complete it. Sure enough someone comes along and knocks the whole system out in one fantastic series. Beat me to it!

The funny thing about doing the whole Solar System is that you will not likely have too many takers for Uranus or even Pluto. But the design on some of these makes it pretty tempting to grab just for the overall design. I can’t wait to email Ross when New Horizons gets to Pluto and it looks nothing like what is shown here. A gorgeous inclusion of the hypothetical ring some expect to find when we get there, but where are the 3 moons?

I would be a fool to not include Saturn. The exclusion of the Galileans at Jupiter, no Charon on the Pluto poster and the absence of Titan here on the Saturn poster... I wonder if I sense a moon series coming? Put me down for a copy of Io.

The Art of Michael Paukner

Admit it, deep down inside we (or at least I) all secretly want to explore the heavens untethered from the Earth and unlock all the mysteries of the universe. Perhaps that is why the beautiful info-graphic art of Michael Paukner is so appealing. His work focuses on many scientific themes such as space exploration, as seen in this poster of the Solar System as it is known today (above), to more conspiratorial "junk science" theories like numerology, the Doomsday Planet (follows the link) and that crazy Aztec calendar that ends in 2012.

My impression is that much of the latter work is for fun and the themes provide for some really engaging imagery. These (and a few other images) are available from his site in poster form (for those of you with barren walls begging for inspiration).

Click above to see Michael’s info-graphic on how an eclipse works. This has to be the most attractive depiction of this phenomenon ever attempted. If you want to see more of his work apart from what is on sale at his site, you need to check out this set in his flickr feed which includes some of his more bizarre designs.

50 Years of Space Exploration Map

This is so nice, but I am furious that I didn’t get to design this. This is Information design at it’s best naturally by National Geographic. You can see 50 years of robotic planetary exploration at a glance. It even includes failed missions represented by darker desaturated lines. As far as I can tell the cream colored lines are US and the red ones are Soviet. Interesting to see how many of those lines go dark around Mars.

Now where does one purchase such a thing? Perhaps this month’s issue of NG? Here is the link to it on their site complete with zoom viewer and them some kind samaritan posted a hires version to flickr.

Chopping Block’s Tribute to Apollo (Circa 1998)

Chop NASA EmblemNot as long ago as 40 years ago, but just a little over 10 years ago – The Chopping Block adopted the look of NASA Chop Geminifor one of our online incarnations. More specific our adopted look embraced the era of Apollo in hopes that a little of that former astro-glory might rub off on our small New York graphic design studio which was at that time only about a year old. So we thought it appropriate on this 40th anniversary of the touchdown at Tranquility Base, that we revisit our own journey through cyberspace and our small tribute to the historic landmark that is Apollo.

Chop NASA Main Portfolio Page (circa 1998) If there is one thing we like to do at The Chopping Block, it is to take our logo and make it look like something else. In this case, we became quite possibly the first design company to ever merge the design of the Apollo Lunar Excursion Module with their own logo mark. Thusly, resulting in the world’s first merging of state-of-the-art of 196o’s technology with early web identity design.

Chop NASA bio pixs And what fake space exploration site would be complete without fake astronaut training pix?

See the original site as it appeared in 1998 here. Also see our current site choppingblock.com for more recent projects.

Apollo 11 Owners Manual

If happen to come to own one of these bad boys from the late 60’s early 70’s you are going to need this owners manual. The original owners of these models rarely have this on-hand. If you are in the market, beware of any models from the 13 line since that model had a well-known faulty oxygen tank that is likely to scrub any potential trips to the Lunar surface you may have planned. Get it from Haynes online.