back to article Boffins open 'space travel bureau': Come relax on exoplanet Kepler-16b, says NASA

NASA appears to be transforming itself into an intergalactic travel agency after issuing a series of cheery posters of exoplanets. "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," said NASA's blurb. Visit …

  1. Isendel Steel

    Falcon Tours ?

    How long to do the Kepler run ?

    1. John Brown (no body) Silver badge

      Re: Falcon Tours ?

      12 parsecs?

      Or, with current technology, a millennium.

      1. Tom 7

        Re: Falcon Tours ?

        The flights pretty quick - compared with getting from the parking lot onto the rocket!

  2. knarf

    I nearly went to Kepler-1984 but....

    The EasyJet flight landed no where near the planet and the bus took eons.

    1. I ain't Spartacus Gold badge

      Re: I nearly went to Kepler-1984 but....

      I went with Ryanspace. I thought the flight only cost £10. It's just that taxes and fuel surcharge were £1,000,000,000,000,000,000.

      Now my credit card company have hired assassins to hunt me down...

  3. Neil Barnes Silver badge


    You can get the images, but not premade posters.

    I'll have to find a print shop.

    1. Benchops

      Re: Damn

      Inkscape will SVG (trace) those bitmaps for you no problem, then the print shop's printer's resolution is your limit!

      1. Arthur the cat Silver badge

        Re: Damn

        At 300 dpi the posters will print out at 39 inches high. Good enough unless you want to plaster a billboard.

        1. stathis_d

          Re: Damn

          The images are 8175 x 11775 px. Enough for decent poster printing . get the TIFF image. I'm printing all three tomorrow morning in A0 for my apartment and my office space.

    2. Neil Barnes Silver badge

      Re: Damn

      Meant to add:

  4. Sir Barry


    Does this mean Star Wars was really a documentary???

    1. MrDamage Silver badge

      Re: What?

      Right up until the stone-tipped spear weilding Ewoks mounted a successful ambush on armoured, laser-rifle weilding Stormtroopers. Then it became a History Channel special.

    2. Bob Wheeler

      Re: What?

      Naw, Star Trek was the documentary, Star Wars is something ..... unmentionable :)

  5. Amorous Cowherder
    Thumb Up

    It's good to see the creative and artistic side of science, we don't get to see it enough.

  6. Arthur the cat Silver badge

    Red grass?

    "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."

    Different palette maybe, but if the light is mostly red, that's the part of the spectrum to absorb to get most energy, so the reflected light would be blue-green. Kentucky in space, no less.

    1. Ken Hagan Gold badge

      Re: Red grass?

      Also note that the window for the visible spectrum on Earth is actually dictated by the molecules in the atmosphere, and the chemistry of any photosynthetic pigment is dictated by the same laws of physics and chemistry as here on Earth. Life on other planets may be very similar to life on Earth, at the cellular level.

      1. Cynic_999

        Re: Red grass?

        What's to say that life cannot exist based upon quite a different arrangement, so it does not contain cells at all?

    2. Cynic_999

      Re: Red grass?

      Though in order to absorb *all* the light energy they receive, leaves would have to be black when seen in the light of the sun they are growing under, no matter what the colour of that sun. And that includes viewing with cameras or eyes that can see outside the visible spectrum.

    3. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Red grass?

      "Different palette maybe, but if the light is mostly red,"

      Wouldn't a large proportion of it be infra red around a red dwarf?

      Also , another problem with planets around red dwarves in the goldilocks zone is that they orbit so close they get tidally locked. I wouldn't be surprised if this supposed earth like world is like that with a parched sunlit side and a frozen dark side.

  7. Mark 85

    Boffins at NASA create these?

    Our tax dollars at work or are these the result of lunch-time frivolity?

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Boffins at NASA create these?

      Probably not, looks like this guy's work to me.

      And lighten up about your tax dollars, it's better than spending them denying climate change or promoting anti-vaxers.

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Boffins at NASA create these?

      "[...] lunch-time frivolity"

      As far back as the days of Faraday - science has engaged the imagination of lay people and children by "entertainments" that illustrate a scientific fact or principle. The current Royal Society Christmas Lectures are evidence of the value of that communication.

    3. dan1980

      Re: Boffins at NASA create these?

      @Mark 85

      Not sure that 'boffins' created these but I see no problem with money being spent on such things. Sure, as an Australian it's not my money but it's being used to publicise some of the achievements of a field in a fun an appealing way, which has flow-on effects such as greater interest (and thus potentially better funding for real work) and capturing the imagination of young people who might consider a career in these fields.

      Money well spent if you ask me.

      1. Mark 85

        Re: Boffins at NASA create these?

        I see the article has been edited. Originally it said "The boffins at NASA....." Anyway, have an upvote all for keeping my feet on Earth.

    4. JLV

      Re: Boffins at NASA create these?

      I heartily welcome the excitement that the exo-planet hunt, Rosetta and Curiosity are bringing to space news. Along with Dragon and some of the new private sector initiatives. Publicizing this stuff should encourage more public interest.

      The real shame is that these are not the parts of NASA that are getting much budget. They are operating on shoestrings, comparatively.

      17 years to launch a $750M sat:

    5. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Boffins at NASA create these?

      "Our tax dollars at work or are these the result of lunch-time frivolity?"

      Why do you luddites even bother coming on to a sci/tech site? I'm sure there are plenty of yoghurt knitting and yurt building sites you could visit instead. Just go away.

  8. chivo243 Silver badge

    Sci-Fi version of?

    Patrick Nagel? Really, it seems stylized after his work. Maybe the afterwork pint hasn't hit the spot yet?

  9. skeptical i

    This discovery was made by Kepler, NASA's planet hunting telescope.

    "Be vewwy qwiet ... I'm hunting PWANETS!"

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: This discovery was made by Kepler, NASA's planet hunting telescope.

      ""Be vewwy qwiet ... I'm hunting PWANETS!"

      That actually merited the obligatory preamble "What's up Doc?" No doubt we all heard it in our heads.

  10. Matt Bieneman

    Shadows on Kepler-16b

    Kepler-16b has an unusual feature not mentioned in the article. Possibly the first visitors there can write up a scientific paper describing why the shadows appear to be the wrong colors.

    I'm not really a shadow-scientist, but I would expect shadow from the white sun, since it is illuminated by the red sun, to have the more reddish color. The shadow from the red sun should be neutral in color, since it is illuminated by a white sun.

    1. Eric O'Brien

      Re: Shadows on Kepler-16b

      Exactly what I was thinking!

  11. Ian Michael Gumby

    Act Now!

    If you act now and deposit $.10 (USD) by the time that we have developed safe travel where you could make a round trip within your lifetime, you could afford the ticket price. Or rather one of your heirs could.

    Unless of course you double that deposit and wait until we develop a time machine which will then pick you up at your current time, let you do the trip yourself.

    1. I ain't Spartacus Gold badge

      Re: Act Now!

      This is, of course, impossible.

  12. Paul J Turner

    They're good at spotting exo-planets...

    but not that good!

    Shouldn't that be 'intragalactic' travel agency, not 'intergalactic'?

  13. Eugene Crosser

    Pet peeve

    I hate these pictures with two big celestial bodies in the sky. It's impossible. You can have two suns, but either one or both will look like very bright star, not a disk. Otherwise the system will be unstable. Same for two big moons.

  14. Christian Berger

    Those things are important

    They give people hope. They give people a vision for the future, even if it's far off, it both shows a long term goal (setting on far away planets) as well as immediate steps to take towards that direction (finding exoplanets).

    Unfortunately finding exoplanets is unlikely to find new ways to kill "the enemy" or spy on people or make a new "smart"-phone. That's why it is so badly funded.

  15. Primus Secundus Tertius

    Am I dense?

    The articles describes HD 40307g as "twice the volume" and "eight times the Earth's mass". That would make it four times as dense, or about 20 tonnes/cubic metre. Solid gold or platinum, perhaps?

    Perhaps it should have said "twice the radius".

    1. The Intuitive Edge

      Re: Am I dense?

      Correct -- at terrestrial density HD 40307g would be twice the radius/diameter (8x volume). At twice the distance from the center of mass, the 8x mass only provides 2x gravity (cut to 1/4 due to double distance). If you can carry your own weight on your back on earth, then you could theoretically walk there (ignoring the probable need for a space suit). If it's gaseous, then hard to define a surface, but it will have a much greater diameter, and lower gravity at the "surface." If it's a rocky core surrounded by lots of gas, it gets trickier, because the gas could be dense enough at the rocky "surface" to provide significant buoyancy (possibly even liquid, depending on temp and pressure -- we might then define the surface as the top of the "ocean").

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