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

With neat posters in a 1930s style

By Gareth Corfield, 8 Jan 2015

Pics 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 Kepler poster by NASA

Spacey: Kepler-186f looks like a fun place to take the family for a long weekend

"Its star is much cooler and redder than our Sun," continued the Exoplanet Travel Bureau's happy-clappy description of the Red Planet. "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 colour palette that's very different than the greens on Earth."

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

Visit HD 40307g poster by NASA

Splat: Don't actually try to visit HD 40307 like this, kids

"Twice as big in volume as the Earth," said NASA, "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 times the Earth's mass, its gravitational pull is much, much stronger."

Translation: you'll need the physique of Arnold Schwarzenegger just to raise your head. If you don't freeze to death first, that is.

Visit Kepler16b poster by NASA

Sunny: Do my bum shadows look big on this world?

"Like Luke Skywalker's planet "Tatooine" in Star Wars, Kepler-16b orbits a pair of stars," said NASA's H2G2-style guide. "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," it concluded.

Well, they're the people who should know. ®

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