In March, a several hundred tonne tower will bid farewell to the surface of our planet to kiss the darkness of space itself. In its journey, it will reach a peak velocity of 8 kilometers per second. From there a tiny craft no bigger than a small car, detaches itself and, as the speed demon that it is, fires its rockets to escape velocity—11 kms per second. Next stop, Moon. In the meantime, seven giant antennae across Earth collect radio signals from this tiny determined speck in an ocean of black.
Several million things need to go right for the story to get this far, and this is only half the story. The spacecraft needs to land on the Moon, release a rover. The rover then hikes across the surface, transmitting data all along. How will more than a dozen scientists keep track of the happenings 384,400 kms away?
This was the unique problem-solving opportunity with which Team Indus came to Parallel Labs.
In this story that is told through technology, the mission control screens are the lens through which everything—the launch, the transit, the touchdown—will be seen.
Before figurative pencil could be put to figurative paper, we had to know the ins and outs of the mission. After all, this was not a fictitious setup. This meant understanding their different subsystems, and tailing scientists across the different departments to make sure we could attain the degree of accuracy that any space mission demands.
Readability and typography were designed with two scenarios in mind.
This meant the visual hierarchy would be two-fold, one suited for each of the above scenarios.
Working primarily on a dark background, we chose a complementary colour scheme, involving the brand’s blue colour. With this we were able to draw contrast between the different parts of the interface.
While it was crucial for the scientist to monitor the parameters and their values, the audience themselves would not concern themselves with that. Instead, the audience’s attention would be guided to the bigger picture.
Visual language and typography were tested with three different subsystems before they were adapted to the rest. One problem that presented itself to us was the acquisition of assets. The assets provided by the team of scientists would not be amenable to a design format. What’s more, clarity in communication demanded that the to-scale 3d models of the spacecraft had to be abstracted into a simpler form to give emphasis where desired.
The information that is communicated through these screens demanded precision. This was not only to track changes but to respond to active crises. This, in a scenario where there needed to be accommodations for data transfer rates and even in cases where light speed wouldn’t be quick enough across these great distances.