Have you ever wondered how an exoplanet might look like? NASA will help you find out through its exciting Exoplanet Travel Bureau. You won’t get to travel to an actual exoplanet, as this is impossible at the moment, but you will see for yourself how the surface of such a world looks like. To make it possible, the space agency will use VR simulations of these planets.
Explore exoplanets from your own living room
NASA knows people are curious about alien worlds, so it decided to start the exciting project of Exoplanet Travel Bureau. However, don’t expect to see actual photos of exoplanet surfaces. Scientists have used the Kepler Space Telescope to understand how these planets should look like.
Based on these images, they built renditions of the actual aspect of the exoplanet surface and then used them for the VR simulations. The Exoplanet Travel Bureau will allow you to take a trip on an alien world and experience it in 360-degree virtual reality. These simulations will be available on VR sets, but also on mobile devices or PCs.
The Exoplanet Travel Bureau offers you six worlds you can explore
NASA has also built a website for the exciting Exoplanet Travel Bureau. There, you can choose from six planets you can ‘visit’, and the website offers a presentation for each experience. You can either go and see Earth’s ‘brother’ TRAPPIST-1e or Earth’s ‘cousin’ Kepler-186f, a dark exoplanet with no governing star around, or several others.
Each of these simulations come with some exclusive features. For instance, researchers aren’t quite sure if Kepler-186f sports an atmosphere or not. Therefore, the simulation shows how the surface and the sky should look in the presence and absence of an atmosphere. Since the exoplanets are so far away from Earth, the telescopes cannot yet say if they have atmosphere or not.
This Exoplanet Travel Bureau initiative is an exciting idea allowing people to explore outer space. Since a manned mission to these worlds is impossible in the near future, this idea is a great solution to explore the unknown parts of the universe.
Image source: Wikimedia Commons