Postcrossing Blog

News, updates, and all kinds of goodies and stories from the postal world!

This is one of those posts in which we’re jealous of the Little Mail Carriers, because they’re doing all the cool things in our bucket list… 🙄

Some time ago, Cathy (aka beesknees) offered to take them on a visit to the Space Center in Houston, and who could refuse an invitation like that?! The little ones couldn’t get on a padded envelope fast enough in their eagerness to get to Texas! I’m sure you’re just as curious as we were to know about their trip, so here they are to tell us about that adventure.

Hello from Houston… or as they say it around here, howdy! 👋 We’re super excited for today’s visit, and to show you all the rockets and cool things happening here at the Space Center.

Looking up at the Space Center Houston building, where the NASA logo and an illustration of an astronaut are shown

But first, a bit of explaining. The Space Center Houston is the visiting center of the NASA Johnson Space Center (or JSC for short), where human spaceflight training, research, and flight control are conducted. The JSC was built in 1961, and named after the late US president and Texas native, Lyndon B. Johnson, and has been running for over six decades now. When Neil Armstrong said “Houston, the eagle has landed” in 1969, or when Apollo 13 astronauts famously said "Houston, we have a problem" — this is the Houston they were referring to!

So the Space Center is a bit like a museum to showcase all the history and cool stuff that happened (and is still happening!) at the JSC, and we’re eager to explore everything. Even before you enter the building, there’s neat things to see!

Space Shuttle Independence on top of Shuttle Carrier Aircraft 905

Check out this amazing replica of Space Shuttle Independence, sitting on top of the original Shuttle Carrier Aircraft 905! Because shuttles don’t land in the same place where they take off from, carriers are needed to bring them back. Carriers start out as normal Boeing 747 planes, but they are modified to transport shuttles on top of them. A plane carrying a plane on its back! 🤯

Several types of space shuttles and rockets

Around the appropriately named “Rocket Park”, you can also see other rockets, like the Mercury-Redstone Launch Vehicle, Little Joe II

Saturn V launch vehicle is a huge contraption shaped like a cylinder with a pointy end, and engines on the back.

… or Saturn V, a “super heavy-lift launch vehicle” (aka the big part that spews fire and sends things into orbit)! It’s hard to convey how massive this thing is. In fact, it is the tallest, heaviest and most powerful rocket used to send humans into space and was regularly used during the Apollo moon program. It has three parts (or stages) that separate at different times, and although the bits here at the Space Center did not make it into space, they were definitely ready to!

More pictures of Saturn V's huge exhausts, and a sign that states the different parts of the launcher were ready to be used in space

Right, it’s time to go see the exhibitions, learn about the different space missions and meet some astronauts inside.

Paper cutouts of astronauts Shannon Walker from the USA, and Soichi Noguchi from Japan, with the Little Mail Carriers on their back.

Here are astronauts Shannon Walker from the USA, and Soichi Noguchi from Japan. They have both been in several missions to space, using different kinds of spacecrafts — including the Dragon 2 capsule for the SpaceX Crew-1 mission. Mr. Noguchi retired this year and is now the honorary director of the CupNoodles Museum. Honestly, we’re a bit jealous of him because how seriously cool is that for a career pivot!

A display with a space suit inside, and another display showing the inside of a command module. The command module interior is cramped, and three astronauts are floating around it

One thing you can explore in the museum are the high-tech spacesuits that several astronauts wore on their missions, and how these have changed over the years. And you can also check out the inside of a command module, which is the control center and living quarters for most of the lunar missions. It looks quite tight for the humans in there, but I think it would be plenty of space for us.

Displays in the Mars exhibit, feature Mars rovers and a huge rock, atop of which the Little Mail Carriers are sitting.

We were especially intrigued by the red planet and the missions that made it there! Feeling the textures of a real Mars rock on our feet was a unique experience. Do you think humans will make it to Mars soon? We hope so… then perhaps we can slip into someone’s pocket, and have an adventure in space!

A view from above towards the Mission Control room. Several desks can be seen, each displaying multiple computers. On the background wall, maps and computer displays are being projected, with data from current space missions.

Because the museum is right in the Johnson Space Center, you can see actual space things happening there — like astronauts training in simulators, or the real Mission Control room monitoring astronauts in the International Space Station. Just… wow!

A picture of Sally Ride wearing her blue NASA uniform, and on the right, a picture of the Little Mail Carriers next to an open mini-notebook which is their passport. They are surrounded by postcards and souvenirs from the museum.

Before leaving, there was still time to salute Sally Ride, the first American woman in space. USPS has issued a stamp in her honor, and we used it to stamp our little passport. We also added a pressed penny from the Space Center, and browsed the postcards on the gift shop on our way out.

The Little Mail Carriers are shown among postcards from the museum shop

And so our visit has come to its end, and we’re a little sad to go… There’s so much to see and learn here at the Space Center in Houston, and we really hope y’all will be able to visit someday!

Our huge thank you to Cathy for taking the little guys on this grand adventure! I wonder where they will end up next… 🤔

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The writing prompts invite postcrossers to write about a different topic on their postcards’ messages every month. These are just suggestions though — if you already know what you want to write about, or the recipient gives you some pointers, that’s great too!

This month, we’ve chosen a prompt that Tomoe (aka Sleep) suggested in our writing prompts thread on the forum. If anyone is a fan of comics, you’ve probably thought about this one already, but it’s a fun question to ask anyone—and trickier than you might think to decide!

In July, write about what two superpowers you would choose to have.
Kapow!

I am a comics fan, so I have a head start in thinking about this: I love Captain America, Captain Marvel, Wiccan, Hulkling, Spider-Woman and her fellow spiders, America Chavez… But would I want those powers for myself? Flight is cool, and I’d certainly feel better about my impact on the environment if I could just fly myself to the library… but it might not be much faster than walking, and it seems like it must be tiring!

In the end, I know what I’d choose. The first one would be self-healing abilities, so I can heal up quickly from any bangs and bruises (not to mention my persistent eczema) and work with infectious diseases in the future without fear. And the second would be time manipulation. Imagine if I could just stop time for everyone else and read a book? Imagine how much I could get read with an extra hour in the day…

I’d love shapeshifting too, of course, and more flippantly, I’d definitely love the superpower of making a cape look cool… but I can only choose two, and my heart is set on self-healing and the ability to stop time. What about you, fellow Postcrossers? Tell us about the two powers you’d choose in the comments, or write about it on your cards this month!

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World Postcard Day 2022 logo

Here we go again!

The calendar tells us it’s less than 4 months until World Postcard Day, so it’s time to start preparing for the big day. First things first: the design contest to choose this year’s representative postcard is now officially open!

The theme of 2022's contest is the topic that has inevitably been on everyone’s mind: World Peace. It’s in periods of conflict that we truly understand how important peace is — without it, nothing else is achievable. Postcards can be tiny ambassadors for peace, delivering messages of hope, connecting people across borders and promoting more awareness about the world and its cultures.

World Postcard Day 2022 theme: World Peace

We hope this theme inspires many of you to pick up your drawing tools and create something beautiful for this year’s postcard, which will later be shared and sent to all over the world.

Before you do so, please make sure to read the rules carefully. You can submit your designs (in digital form only) until July 15 on the contest page, and we’ll announce the winner until August 15.

World Postcard Day contest prizes: Wacom drawing tablet, Pantone postcard box, set of books by Austin Kleon

And, as usual, there are some prizes! Besides the guaranteed warm fuzzy feeling of having your design be the one to represent the World Postcard Day, we’re also giving away one fantastic Wacom Intuos drawing tablet for the first prize, and a trilogy of Austin Kleon books for the second and third prizes. We’re big fans of Wacom’s versatile drawing tablets, as well as Austin’s pragmatic and inspirational advice for artists (which really applies to everyone). All winners will also receive a Pantone postcard box, to round things up. YAY! 🎉

Even if you’re not brilliant at design, we hope you’ll help us spread the word about the contest and poke your creative friends to participate… especially if they are aspiring artists and could use a little push to put their art out there. 😊 We can’t wait to see how everyone will interpret this year’s theme!

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The writing prompts invite postcrossers to write about a different topic on their postcards’ messages every month. These are just suggestions though — if you already know what you want to write about, or the recipient gives you some pointers, that’s great too!

This month’s writing prompt is a classic: imagine you’re about to be stuck on a desert island. If you could choose three objects to keep with you, what would they be?

In June, write about the three personal items you’d want with you on a desert island.
A desert island

I’m personally inclined to cheat and say a motorboat, along with an umbrella to keep off the sun and a way to store fresh water… but if I’m taking it seriously, and thinking about if I had to live on a desert island, the first object would have to be Helen Hippo, because we’ve not been separated since I was two days old.

After that… assuming that all the basic needs of food, water, etc, are already taken care of, the other two objects would probably have to be books. Unless there’s internet or electricity on that island, and then I’ll just take my laptop and my ereader!

But if you’re really twisting my arm and I have to choose two books, I’d choose Katherine Addison’s The Goblin Emperor, and the illustrated edition of Ursula Le Guin’s Earthsea books.

Alright, that’s enough of me—it’s your turn! What three objects would you take with you to a desert island? Feel free to be as practical or as wishful as you like. You can answer in the comments here, or use this prompt to guide what you write on your postcards this month. We look forward to hearing from you!

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Voting is now open on the competition that chooses the most beautiful EUROPA stamp of the year!

The theme this year is “Stories & Myths”, which is just a brilliant topic. Every country has its own mythical creatures, legends or sagas connected to their own history which are part of that country’s DNA. Sometimes they are based on historical events or geographical oddities, and sometimes they are just fantastical adventures that evolve with each retelling, often infused with magical tones to explain the inexplicable.

A mix of EUROPA stamps from the 2022 edition, featuring illustrated tales from different European countries

I love this theme and the stamps coming out of it — give me all the dragons and witchcraft, haunted castles and tales of shipwrecks, nymphs and brave heroes that save the people! There are some gorgeous designs in this year’s selection, inviting us to discover each country’s folklore and oral traditions. You can see the full gallery on this page.

What do you think of the stories and myths that were chosen to be featured on this year’s stamps? Which one will get your vote? And if you’re not from Europe, which legends from your own country do you think would be worthy to be featured on a stamp? Let’s share our country’s best stories in the comments below!

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