Travelling to Outer Space by Cédric Scherer Data Visualization Design

​A color- and artful visualization of the cumulative travel time by cosmo- and astronauts from the first space mission in 1961 to 2019.

​​The distance and the size of the points encode the cumulative travel time. The cosmo- and astronauts are sorted by the year of their first travel and are placed equidistant; thus the width of a decade (or any other time interval) depends on the number of cosmo- and astronauts during that period.​ ​The circular plot plus the bright and shining points were chosen to give the visualization a stellar, spacey feeling.

In the main version, the cosmo- and astronauts with the longest cumulative travel time are annotated (plus one outstanding traveller, Yuri Romanenko, in 1977) as well as the dramatic death of G. Jarvis, S.C.C: McAuliffe and M.J. Smith during the Challenger disaster and the decade with the most unique travellers. ​A clean version without the annotations is available as well.

The visualization makes use of the astronaut database by Mariya Stavnichuk and Tatsuya Corlett, 2020 ( All data preparation steps are available in the source code.

The main visualization and the alternative versions were created as a personal contribution to the #TidyTuesday challenge in July 2020. The visualizations were completely created in R with ggplot2.

The code and images for all versions are publicly available on GitHub.