Ever wonder what life will be like when, instead of hopping on a plane for a summer trip to South America, you can ride in a shuttle bound for another planet?
The good people at NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory do, and they have created an awesome set of exoplanet travel posters to inspire your daydreams.
If anything has made the vacation of the future seem more at-our-fingertips than ever, it’s the recent discovery of eight new exoplanets, two of which are more Earth-like than anything astronomers have ever seen.
All eight planets also happen to be right in the “Goldilocks” zone of their respective stars, that special region around a star friendly to life as we know it.
Kepler-16b (to the right) is a planet dubbed “Tatooine” because of its system’s resemblance to Luke Skywalker’s home in Star Wars. NASA’s Kepler spacecraft spotted this planet in 2012 by catching a dips in starlight as the planet passed in front of its star. Kepler-16b could be a rocky planet (as pictured here) or a gas giant like Saturn. It’s portrayed in the poster as rocky.
Sounds awesome, but could you really relax in a place “where your shadow always has company.”
If that doesn’t sound like your jam, not to worry. Here are the other exoplanets JPL thinks you might want to check out:
Kepler-186f was the first Earth-size planet astronomers ever found inside the “Goldilocks” or “habitable” zone around another star, where moderate temperatures could allow for the presence of liquid water.
Since Kepler’s star is cooler and redder than our Sun, any plants that thrive there could be reddish instead of green (they’d be affected by the star’s red-wavelength light particles as they grow).
Feeling more adventurous than a few red plants?
Dream about visiting HD 40307g, a planet twice as voluminous as earth with eight times its mass (pictured below). With a gravity as strong as HD 40307g’s, you might want to shed those holiday pounds before arriving.