While interstellar travel is yet to become a reality, NASA seeks to keep our hopes and dreams alive by releasing three gorgeous, print-quality, Exoplanet Travel posters to celebrate the exiting discoveries of the Kepler telescope. Since its launch in 2009, NASA’s Kepler telescope has discovered more 1,000 alien worlds.
Rendered in the retro style of classic travel billboards of the 1920s, '30s and '40s, the posters imagines three distant worlds as pleasurable destinations. The posters are labelled, as supposed to have come from NASA's fictional “Exoplanet Travel Bureau”. The posters, which are available for download in ultra-high resolution from JPL's website, are the work of the space agency's visual strategists Joby Harris, David Delgado and Dan Goods.
"I was thinking ... we may be not alone. We're entering a new part of our humanity and one of the natural things that came to mind is what would it be like to visit them ... and wouldn't it be fun to make vacation posters,” Delgado told CNN.
Harris, the lead artist, was inspired by the enduring appeal of vintage art deco-style posters. "I remember sitting in meetings with the scientists thinking 'oh my goodness, science fiction is now becoming science non-fiction'," he says. "People gravitate toward those old posters. They hang them on their walls even today and you want to go there. They're a celebration of place. So we thought we'd produce some of our own and come up with funny tag lines that would get people dreaming about what it would be like to go there."
Delgado revealed that three more posters are in the works, but progress is slow because the theories about what these newly found planets look like can change from day to day.
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.
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.
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.
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