Wednesday, January 14, 2015

Exoplanet Travel Posters

I've written previously about retro travel posters for otherwhere - different places in spacetime, different planets within our solar system, and previous geological eras. NASA has recently released a delightful collection of retro travel posters for the growing collection of exoplanets. With ongoing planetary science research into planets outside our own solar system (beyond Mercury, Venus, Earth, Mars, Jupiter, Saturn, Uranus, Nepture and the larger planetessimals like the ever-popular Pluto and lesser-known Sedna and so forth), there is now a immense database of planets orbitting other stars. Further, astronomers and planetary scientists are able to deduce not only the existence of these planets (by, for instance, the way their home stars' light dims when planets pass between us and the stars), but often their scale, mass and other physical properties. These retro-style travel posters are a fabulous art/science collaboration, means of communicating science and plain old beautiful graphic design. They are also inspiring of humanity's dreams of space exploration. I approve wholeheartedly.

Courtesy NASA/JPL-Caltech.
The planet Kepler-16b orbits a binary star. It may be a rocky terrestrial planet, like our Earth, or a gassy giant like Jupiter, though they've selected to show a more familiar terrestrial planet but point out that one of unfamiliar (and perhaps unexpected) consequences of having two suns.

Courtesy NASA/JPL-Caltech.
Planet HD 40307g has twice the volume and eight times the mass of Earth! It may be rocky or an icy gas giant ...but it most certainly has one heck of a gravitational pull.

Courtesy NASA/JPL-Caltech.

Kepler-186f is an exciting find; it was the first Earth sized planet detected believed to be in the habitable zone around a star, where temperature conditions could allow liquid water. Unlike our sun, Kepler-186f orbits a much colder, redder star. So, if it were to have plant life using photosynthesis, they infer that, "ts 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".

You can find and download the exoplanet posters here.

In other news, in 2015, I hope to bring you more magpie&whiskeyjack posts. I haven't disappeared, or retired, but 2014 posts were few and far between, because baby, as they say. I'm working on balancing my various artistic, scientific and other endeavours with being a new parent. I'll get there, and eventually manage to share all that I would like to!

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