Bureau of Exoplanetary Travel NASA offers virtual tours to distant worlds

Tourists, who are bored with terrestrial landscapes, will soon be able to try to “walk” through the alien worlds thanks to the project of the Exoplanet Travel Bureau. This is part of the official NASA Exoplanet Exploration Program, which is devoted to studying the planets outside our star system. Thanks to the Kepler telescope – now astronomers have the basic characteristics of those distant worlds instead of a bare theory.

However, it should be understood that we will be shown a picture in which there is more artistic imagination than reality. Scientists can calculate the length and shape of the shadows from the double sun on the super-planet Kepler-16b, but they have no idea what mountains and clouds there are so they can cast these shadows. Help come artists and specialists in virtual graphics, which will turn boring streams of astronomical data into a beautiful picture.


The visualization of the exoplanets will be interactive so that the user can fly under the blood-red sky TRAPPIST-1d and compare it with the impressions of the red dwarf planet Kepler-186f. You can see the sunrises and sunsets of the local suns, look at the planet with the atmosphere and without it, look at the strange starry sky. To see something that is difficult to describe in words – the exoplanet PSO J318.5-22, which floats in the eternal night of interstellar space, because it does not have its warm and bright star.

Most of the exoplanets discovered are so far away from us that astronomers do not have the hope of seeing them near or measuring the parameters of the atmosphere in any near future. Such visualization is a compromise, an attempt to put research into a constructive channel. With the introduction of tools like the James Webb Space telescope, there will be a chance to find an Earth-type exoplanet somewhere nearer, and by that time we will be morally ready for what we can find there.


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