NASA Invites You to Book a Vacation at These Stunning Exoplanets
These flyers advertise a future of interplanetary space travel.
"Kepler-186f is the first Earth-size planet discovered in the potentially 'habitable zone' around another star, where liquid water could exist on the planet's surface. Its star is much cooler and redder than our Sun. If plant life does exist on a planet like Kepler-186f, its photosynthesis could have been influenced by the star's red-wavelength photons, making for a color palette that's very different than the greens on Earth. This discovery was made by Kepler, NASA's planet hunting telescope." Image and caption via Planet Quest.
These days, it feels like the future of space travel isn’t far off—it can’t be much longer before we’re able to book a flight to Mars. If that’s tough to visualize, NASA Jet Propulsion Laboratory created a series of beautiful, vintage-style posters to feed our imagination and extend our aspirational gaze beyond the earthly. These posters, which resemble old tourism flyers from the 1930s, beckon you to visit one of three recently discovered alien planets.
Earlier this week, NASA announced that the Kepler mission had discovered eight new extrasolar planets, bringing the spacecraft’s running record up to 1,004. Extrasolar planets, or exoplanets, are planets that revolve around stars other than the sun. Certain Earth-size exoplanets, like the Kepler 186-f, revolve within the “habitable zone” of the star it orbits, meaning it has the potential to sustain human life.
The Kepler 186-f is one of three destinations depicted in the NASA posters, designed and created by JPL’s Visual Strategists Joby Harris, David Delgado, and Dan Goods, are from the spacecraft’s latest round of discoveries. The artists imagined these posters commissioned by the totally fictional (but not totally improbable) Exoplanet Travel Bureau.
“We have been super inspired by the fact that so many planets are being discovered. It feels like we’re living in the future or science fiction is coming to life,” Delgado told Newsweek. “We thought it would be really cool to explore the characteristics of each planet through the context of travel.”
"Twice as big in volume as the Earth, HD 40307g straddles the line between "Super-Earth" and "mini-Neptune" and scientists aren't sure if it has a rocky surface or one that's buried beneath thick layers of gas and ice. One thing is certain though: at eight time the Earth's mass, its gravitational pull is much, much stronger." Image and caption via Planet Quest.
"Like Luke Skywalker's planet "Tatooine" in Star Wars, Kepler-16b orbits a pair of stars. Depicted here as a terrestrial planet, Kepler-16b might also be a gas giant like Saturn. Prospects for life on this unusual world aren't good, as it has a temperature similar to that of dry ice. But the discovery indicates that the movie's iconic double-sunset is anything but science fiction." Image and caption via Planet Quest.