Randy Krum infographic designerRandy Krum

President of InfoNewt.
Data Visualization, Infographic Design, Visual Thinking, Product Development and Marketing professional fascinated by good infographics.  Always looking for better ways to get the point across.

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Entries in space (42)


Star Trek: The Original Series

The Star Trek infographic designed by Natalya Platonova was originally designed in Russian for Svinovik.ru. This infographic is a visual overview of some quirky statistics from the complete original series (three seasons).

Overall, very well done!  As a Trekkie myself, the visualizations are fun facts about the series, and well designed.  I like that the quantitative values (like the uniforms worn) are shown as the actual numbers and not scaled. 

A couple of framing pieces of information would have been helpful.  The original design is published along with a text article, but some introductory text in the infographic itself would be nice because the image file gets shared without any of the text from the article.  The fotter should include some type of copyright or Creative Commons license and the URL for readers to be able to find the original, full-size versions.

Here’s the original version in Russian:

Found on Visual Loop!


Exoplanets: 786 Known Planets

Exoplanets infographic

Exoplanets is a great infographic that tells one story really well by focusing on one data visualization for the whole story.  Randall Munroe at xkcd.com occasionally mixes in some great data visualizations and infographic designs with his comics.

All 786 known planets (as of June 2012) to scale (some planet sizes estimated based on mass).  

[Our solar system planets are shown in the middle]

The rest of these orbit other stars and were only discovered recently.  Most of them are huge because those are the kind we learned to detect first, but now we’re finding that small ones are actually more common.  We know nothing about what’s on any of them.  With better telescopes, that would change.  This is an exciting time.

This visual is so powerful.  You could write in text that we have found 786 extra-solar planet, but the visual helps the reader wrap their head around the scale of that large number and adds the size of the planets as a second level of information.

It’s also a clean design that focuses on communicating the scale of how many planets we have found, and doesn’t try to add all of the other information we know like which stars they orbit, what are their names, when were they discovered, which telescope found them, and who was the team or individual that discovered each one.  Just because we have more information doesn’t mean it should all be included in the infographic.  The story is cleaner and easier to understand without the clutter of too much information.

Cudos to Randall!


18 Things You Didn't Know About Firefly


You can’t stop the signal…

As a Browncoat, I had to post this new infographic: 18 Things You Didn’t Know About Firefly from CarSort.com.

Firefly has quickly become a cult classic, after it was cancelled by Fox in 2002, after airing only 11 episodes (out of order). Firefly was created by Joss Whedon who is best known for creating Buffy the Vampire Slayer and is set to direct and write The Avengers movie set for release in the summer of 2012. Firefly is a space western set in the 25th century where the renegade crew of the Serenity try to stay one step ahead of the long arm of the Alliance.

CarSort.com has put together a fun infographic with little known facts about Firefly and Serenity.

  • Did you know that Neil Patrick Harris was turned down for the role of Simon
  • Some people believe that Firefly was a rip off of an amine series called Outlaw Star
  • Some of the sets were recycled from Power Rangers
  • Zac Efron made his TV debut on Firefly…

Certainly not the best infographic design I’ve ever seen

  • WAY too much text!  This is really a text list with some images.
  • No data visulizations for the body counts
  • Should have included a visual size comparison of Serenity to the ISS or the Battlestar Galactica when either of them was mentioned
  • No data sources listed.  Where did these facts come from?  Are they really true?
  • No license listed on the infographic (Copyright or Creative Commons)?

But the infomation is cool, and I learned a few things I didn’t know.  Joss, you can hit that red button any day now…

Thanks to Brenden for sending in the link!


Bye Bye Space Shuttle infographic

I really like An Uncertain Future, a tribute infographic for the Space Shuttle program’s last launch of Atlantis scheduled for Friday.

Designed by for the Washington Post

Last week I published what could be my very last Space Shuttle infographic. As a space exploration enthusiast and a professional visual artist, NASA’s spacecraft will be sorely missed. Over the years, the Shuttle was the focal point in many of the most fun projects I’ve been involved, directly or indirectly.

I really like the arc timeline.  Not only is it a different design than you usually see, but it also indirectly implies the flight paths of the shuttles up into space and back down to Earth.

Found on Visual Loop


30 Years of Asteroid Discoveries Animated

This is a very cool video animation, Asteroid Discovery From 1980 - 2010, of asteroid discoveries over the last 30 years.  Not only does it show the orbits of the asteroids in relation to the inner planets, it highlights them over time as they were identified and colors them according to how close to Earth their orbits will come.

The only visual inaccuracy is the size of the asteroids.  Since the asteroids have to be at least one pixel wide to appear in the animation, they are represented much larger compared to the planets than they really are.

View of the solar system showing the locations of all the asteroids starting in 1980, as asteroids are discovered they are added to the map and highlighted white so you can pick out the new ones. 
The final colour of an asteroids indicates how closely it comes to the inner solar system. 
Earth Crossers are Red
Earth Approachers (Perihelion less than 1.3AU) are Yellow
All Others are Green

Notice now the pattern of discovery follows the Earth around its orbit, most discoveries are made in the region directly opposite the Sun. You’ll also notice some clusters of discoveries on the line between Earth and Jupiter, these are the result of surveys looking for Jovian moons. Similar clusters of discoveries can be tied to the other outer planets, but those are not visible in this video.

As the video moves into the mid 1990’s we see much higher discovery rates as automated sky scanning systems come online. Most of the surveys are imaging the sky directly opposite the sun and you’ll see a region of high discovery rates aligned in this manner.

At the beginning of 2010 a new discovery pattern becomes evident, with discovery zones in a line perpendicular to the Sun-Earth vector. These new observations are the result of the WISE (Widefield Infrared Survey Explorer) which is a space mission that’s tasked with imaging the entire sky in infrared wavelengths. 

Currently we have observed over half a million minor planets, and the discovery rates show no sign that we’re running out of undiscovered objects.

Orbital elements were taken from the ‘astorb.dat’ data created by Ted Bowell and associates at 

Music is ‘Transgenic’ by Trifonic: 

Quite a few journalists, bloggers and tweeters are attributing this to NASA or Arecibo Observatory - while they do fine work they had nothing to do with this. If you write a story you can credit it to Scott Manley.

Found on FlowingData and VizWorld 


NASA's budget timeline [infographic]


Another great timeline of NASA’s budget every year from 1958 through 2015 in Obama’s new budget proposal that cuts NASA funding.  This one designed by Robin Richards (ripetungi) for an article in U.S. Infrastructure magazine.

Looking at every budget throughout the history of NASA, comparing this with its space missions for that year.

You can see Robin’s site and follow him on Twitter.


NASA's New Budget [infographic]

GOOD has a good timeline of NASA’s budget over the last 50 years.

The Obama administration announced a new budget for NASA, which despite a nominal increase, cuts future programs and the prospect of more space exploration. This is a look at NASA’s budget over time, and the major missions it accomplished with that budget.

A collaboration between GOOD and 

Although, since the timeline wraps like text to keep it on one page, I think the bars that represent the different programs should stay in the same order.  And what’s with the flashing images when you view the large infographic?


The Scale of the Universe

Check out this great flash animation, The Scale of the Universe, by Fotoshop in his portfolio on NewGrounds.com.  Like one of those infinite zoom images, this flash animation lets you zoom from 1x10-35 to 9.3x1026 by dragging the scroll bar across the bottom.

Since I’m visual, that’s from 0.00000000000000000000000000000000001 meters (the Plank Length) up to 930,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000 meters (the estimated size of the universe).


Found on Forgetomori.com


Big Brothers: Satellites Orbiting Earth

Michael Paukner has created a great infographic, Big Brothers: Satellites Orbiting Earth.  Visually showing which countries own all of the space junk currently orbiting Earth (functional, dysfunctional and floating debris).  We apparently have Saturn-envy as we attempt to create rings around our planet.

You’ve got to feel bad for countries like Chile, who used to have a single working satellite in orbit, but the warranty ran out and it doesn’t function anymore.

View the high-resolution image on Flickr.


Bill Nye Videos on the Scale of the Solar System

Two videos from Bill Nye the Science Guy showing the size and scale of the planets and the Sun.  He may have done similar examples, but these are the two I know about.  The one above (Planets & Moon) starts at about 4:00 into the video, and the one below (Outer Space) starts at about 2:00.  "Outer Space is HUGE!"

Thanks to @DannyDougherty on Twitter for sharing!