Galactic Greetings

by Alexa Erdogan, Emily Olsen,
and Skyla Lilly

Welcome to The Advent Project

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(Front) A sea of pink, purple, and light orange clouds on the lower half of the image with Saturn's rings seemingly rising up out of them, illustrated as a series of colorful lines in blues, purples, golds, and browns. The starry black expanse of space fills the rest of the background. The words "A View of the Rings" are written in bronze cursive letters in the lower left corner.
Image Credit & Caption:
Happy New Year from Saturn! Best known for its icy rings, this cosmic beauty actually takes about 29 Earth-years to orbit the Sun (that's about 10,759 Earth days!). This is due to its large distance from the Sun, which also contributes to its frigid temperatures (about -285 F). With over 80 known moons orbiting this gas giant, there's no shortage of places to visit as an interplanetary explorer during the holiday season. Illustrated by Skyla Lilly. Caption by Alexa Erdogan.

Written Message: 
Sending you a little something to help ring in the New Year! Technically, I'm going by Earth-years, since a year here on Saturn would be about 29 years back on Earth. I wish I had some better holiday decorations out here (not much greenery around to make seasonal wreaths), but I drew a little inspiration from the rings and made an ice wreath instead! ...We'll see how long it lasts! Speaking of, I'll try to send you a picture of the ice plumes on Enceladus when I fly by tomorrow!
(Front) A landscape illustration of the rocky and sandy surface of Mars, in browns and beiges, with a view of the night sky and its stars. The words "Welcome to Mars" are written in bronze in the upper middle of the card.
Image Credit & Caption:
Happy holidays from the Red Planet! While Mars looks red from Earth due to the rust in the atmosphere from oxidizing rocks, a lot of the Martian surface is covered in golden brown and sometimes even a little green from minerals in different parts of the planet. The average temperature on Mars is -81 degrees F. But during the 2019 Polar Vortex, the Mars rover Curiosity was recording surface temperatures with a balmy high of 19 F, making Chicago, IL, briefly colder than Mars! Illustrated by Skyla Lilly. Caption by Emily Olsen; message by Alexa Erdogan.

Written Message: 
Bunkering down for the night and decided to write you a little note from the Red Planet! You might think it's a summer vacation out here, but truth be told, it gets well below -200 F at night. Probably something to do with the planet's thin atmosphere and low pressure. We tried making some "snowmen" out of sand today...emphasis on "tried", the winds here really are relentless. I got so much sand/dust in my gear that I'll be spending the rest of my holidays cleaning it! Hopefully there's some hot cocoa rations left to help pass the time...
(Front) A nebula, aptly shaped like a peach and orange colored boomerang, is centered in the vastness of dark space. Neon lines of bright energy are drawn emanating outward from its center, and a purple glow seems to be flowing out from the top and bottom of the nebula. The words "All dressed up in the Bowtie Nebula" are written in dark red cursive in the upper left, with a drawing of a bowtie next to it.
Image Credit & Caption:
The Boomerang Nebula, also called the Bow Tie nebula, is named for its hourglass shape. The Boomerang Nebula was discovered in 1980 and so named by Keith Taylor and Mike Scarrott after they observed the nebula from the Anglo-Australian telescope at the Siding Spring Observatory in New South Wales, Australia. It’s also the coldest place in the known universe with a temperature measured at  −457.87 °F. Very festive! Illustrated by Skyla Lilly. Caption by Emily Olsen.

Written Message:	
Seasons’ Greetings! I am currently 5,000 lightyears from Earth - so I’m not sure what season it will be when this gets to you. Apparently it’s hard to see the whole shape of this nebula from Earth because of all the dust, so it looks like a boomerang or a bow tie. Hopefully a bow tie is festive for whatever season you’re in when you get this!
(Front) Fragments of all different shapes fill the grey-white background, like a mosaic. Each fragment is a shade of blue with red lines drawn across them in random patterns. The words "Europa the Beautiful" are written in big, bold, cursive, dark blue letters, underlined in thick red, and placed in the very center of the image.
Image Credit & Caption: 
Season's Greetings from Europa, one of Jupiter's moons! This frigid, freckled, and finely lined landscape is a winter wonderland of ice and cryogeysers. However, scientific data has hinted at an ocean of liquid water lurking underneath the surface. Future space missions like NASA's Europa Clipper and ESA's JUICE spacecraft will soon make their way to this icy enigma to see what they can discover. Illustrated by Skyla Lilly. Caption by Alexa Erdogan.

Written Message: 
Checking in from the frigid, freckled, and finely lined landscape of Europa, one of Jupiter's moons! This place is a winter wonderland of ice and cryogeysers on the surface, but there may just be an ocean of liquid water underneath - and where there's water, there could be life! Although I doubt it's the kind that'll start singing holiday songs anytime soon. I hear Earth is sending a spacecraft out here soon to see what all the fuss is about. ...Tell them to bring some sweaters, would you? It can get down to like -370 F at the poles here.

Print Your Own Postcards

Print from Your Computer

  • These postcards are 6 inches by 4 inches and can be printed on 6×4″ cards or larger paper and cut out.
  • If printing double-sided, make sure to select it after you press the print button from the PDF. Also, make sure to select “flip on short edge” to print appropriately on each side.

Print from Office Depot

  1. Go to this link.
  2. Change the size to 4 x 6 and press Continue.
  3. Under Upload Your Own Design, click Get Started.
  4. Click My Device and select the postcard image (or the front-side image if doing double-sided) from your computer.
  5. Click and drag the teal circle in one of the corners to resize the image to fit on the template.
  6. Click the Back button at the bottom of the screen to add a back-side image if using the double-sided card layout. Click My Device and select the image. Resize this image.
  7. Click Print Options in the bottom left of the screen.
  8. Select the number of cards you would like.
  9. Unselect the Add Envelopes option.
  10. Select 12pt or 16pt matte. (Select the latter if you want them a bit thicker.)
  11. Click Review in the bottom right.
  12. Make sure everything looks OK and press Approve & Add to Cart.

Alexa Erdogan

Alexa Erdogan is a scientist fascinated with the intersections between biology and outer space. Her background in science communication and illustration has left her with a passion for breaking down complex ideas into simple, digestible parts that can be easily visualized. She’s also an avid postcard sender herself, although she hasn’t sent any from these locations…yet.

Emily Olsen

Emily Olsen is an arts administrator and volunteer science communicator. She loves snail mail (as well any intergalactic equivalents) and started sending more postcards to friends during the pandemic. Emily is enthusiastic about the history and future of space exploration and loves to share that excitement with others. She lives and works in New York City.

Skyla Lilly

Skyla Lilly is a teacher and artist based in New York City. They work as a hand lettering artist and love designing cards and sending mail. They also see this project of combining science and art as a way to emulate a major role model of theirsMs. Frizzle.