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NASA’s Exoplanet program lets you tour 10 alien worlds—and take home souvenirs

NASA’s Exoplanet program lets you tour 10 alien worlds—and take home souvenirs
[Image: courtesy of NASA/JPL-Caltech]

If you’re looking for the ultimate FOMO-inducing Instagram vacation photo, consider a trip to 55 Cancri e, because the exoplanet is covered in a lava ocean, which is the perfect backdrop for any selfie.

While space tourism is still a nascent industry, NASA’s Exoplanet Exploration Program (ExEP) is already stoking would-be tourists’ interplanetary travel bug with its Exoplanet Travel Bureau poster series.

[Images: NASA/JPL-Caltech]
The latest addition to the retro-futuristic poster series is an alluring image of the lava-covered exoplanet Planet Janssen, better known as 55 Cancri e. The exoplanet, which is twice as big as Earth and with a similar atmosphere, was envisioned with a protective bubble that would keep future influencers and/or explorers safe while gliding over the red-hot landscape, and stellar views of its sister planet, Galileo.

To truly plot out your future 55 Cancri e photo shoot, check out the Exoplanet Travel Bureau’s 360-degree visualization tool, but be aware that the NASA researchers who put the imagery together had very limited data to work with. In fact, no photos of the planet exist save for what these folks dreamed up. All they know is that it looks like “a massive fiery orb,” which is apparently a technical term, thanks to the fact that the planet is 65 times closer to its star, Copernicus, than the Sun is to Earth.

NASA scientists also believe that the incredibly high temperature and pressure on the potentially carbon-rich planet could mean that its interior could contain a large amount of diamond. The planet has permanent day and night sides, and its cooler half is covered in sparkling clouds made from silicate vapor that reflect the lava’s red glow.

In short, perfect spot for a #sponcon photo shoot of the future.

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