NASA’s Exoplanet Travel Bureau
I was alerted to this yesterday on twitter–by which tweet, I cannot recall–but it’s amazing. NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory, primarily responsible for construction and operation of planetary robotic spacecraft, has designed an Exoplanet Travel Bureau. It features destinations that mankind might one day be able to visit, but in the style of vintage travel posters.
Phrases like “Where the Nightlife Never Ends” and “Where the Grass is Always Redder” entice us to destinations they have detected over the years.
Discovered in October 2013 using direct imaging, PSO J318.5-22 belongs to a special class of planets called rogue, or free-floating, planets. Wandering alone in the galaxy, they do not orbit a parent star. Not much is known about how these planets come to exist, but scientists theorize that they may be either failed stars or planets ejected from very young systems after an encounter with another planet. These rogue planets glow faintly from the heat of their formation. Once they cool down, they will be dancing in the dark.
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.
Whoever is working in design for the Exoplanet Travel Bureau must be having a ball with these.
So pack your bags and book those travel plans! Maybe you’d like to swing on a star? Or carry moonbeams home in a jar? Hopefully one day we can be better off than we are, somewhere out in space.