Space Ipsum

| Lorem Ipsum is the standard filler text used in design throughout the world. It’s been the standards since the 1500’s and it’s time for an update. The NASA OpenGov team took the opportunity at Science Hack Day to create a new online tool to generate filler text based on a database of historical space quotes. […]

Lorem Ipsum is the standard filler text used in design throughout the world. It’s been the standards since the 1500’s and it’s time for an update. The NASA OpenGov team took the opportunity at Science Hack Day to create a new online tool to generate filler text based on a database of historical space quotes. The project serves as an example of what can be done to utilize historic NASA data and mash it up in a new and exciting way. Although a “lorem ipsum” generator may seem inconsequential at first glance, the weekend project will serve as the backbone to a future data mashup project for the NASA OpenGov team. We’d appreciate your comments and feedback and have provided more information about the history of Lorem Ipsum and the tool we’ve created below.

The History of Lorem Ipsum

Lorem ipsum is slightly jumbled latin, the remnants of a sections 1.10.32–3 from Cicero’s ”de Finibus Bonorum et Malorum” (The Extremes of Good and Evil), which begins with the words ‘Neque porro quisquam est qui dolorem ipsum quia dolor sit amet, consectetur, adipisci velit…’ which means “there is no one who loves pain itself, who seeks after it and wants to have it, simply because it is pain”. Written in 45 BC, this treatise on the theory of ethics was very popular in the Renaisance, and the jumpled version of the text started to be used in the 1500’s as filler text for designers and has been the industry standard since then.

Why use Lorem Ipsum?

Lorem Ipsum text is used because readable text is often a distraction during the design process. For example, when designing a website, a designer will insert lorem ipsum text if the place of real text. Instead of looking at the layout to find the problems or weak spots, people will unconsciously focus on the words. For years, designers have depended on this latin gibberish to help them to focus on the positioning, spacing, color, and other stylistic elements.

Space Ipsum

There are a number of online tools and Lorem Ipsum generators, the most popular being Lipsum, that help designers generate the exact amount of filler text they require, but they often lack personality. There are a few out there that innovate on the concept. For example, Hipster Ipsum, mashes up hipster culture with latin text, and Cup Cake Ipsum, adds a bits of text like “chocolate bar danish” to the filler text – and that got us thinking – wouldn’t it be great to have a generator that uses historic space quotes?

The “space ipsum” generator produces random filler content that you can use for a number of purposes ranging from website design to school essays. We do not recommend using text generated from a random content generator for your school essays.

To use the generator, visit Space Ipsum, and simply enter a number and then click “engage”. The output will be a selection of content generated from a database of famous quotes from the history of spaceflight. Additionally, you can choose to output the content in HTML format by checking the appropriate button.

Responsive Design

The Space Ipsum site also perhaps NASA’s first experiment in responsive design – the idea the content should not dictate the look and feel of the site.  No matter what type of platform you view the website on, you’ll always be able to access it’s core features due to the use of CSS3 media queries. This is an evolution in web design and represents the future of how web design should act.  The site also features some of NASA’s historic space images that load as the background randomly when a user visits the site.  We’ve put the code on github and encourage others to use it for their purposes.

What’s Next

The side-project actually lays the foundation for a bigger project we are working on that mashes up historic NASA content in a new and useful way, but we’ll save the details on that project for another blog post in the near future.

 


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