NASA Makes Travel Posters for Destination Exoplanets
Ever wanted to travel to an exoplanet? NASA has now released travel guides to three different exoplanets for their Exoplanet Travel Series from the "Exoplanet Travel Bureau."
Relax on Kepler-16b - Where your shadow always has company
"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."
Experience the Gravity of a Super Earth
"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."
Where the Grass is Always Redder on the Other Side
"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."
As much as we had conflicted feelings about Interstellar, the one aspect of the film that was an unqualified success was its sense of wonder at the idea of exploring alien worlds. Hopefully works like Interstellar, the short film Wanderers, and NASA's continued efforts to engage the public consciousness will help keep enthusiasm stoked and make this a reality in the foreseeable future.