NASA drops epic sci-fi video of human space exploration across the universe

Be sure to pack a kayak when you go to visit Saturn’s moon Titan.

GIF by Leslie Katz/CNET

NASA may be focused on hard science, but it’s not opposed to dabbling in a bit of science fiction. On Tuesday, NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center shared its vision for future human space exploration, and it’s inspiring.

The Visions of the Future video shows off exotic vacation destinations booked through the fictional Exoplanet Travel Bureau. “At least as important as the spacefaring rockets and satellites is the explorer and the inspiration to make the journey,” said NASA Goddard.

Perhaps you’ve imagined standing on Mars and watching a rocket launch, but have you considered floating on an elevated platform through the clouds of Venus, skydiving into Neptune-like exoplanet HD 40307 g or watching the two suns visible from the surface of Kepler-16b? NASA has.

The video drew inspiration from a series of travel posters NASA commissioned to highlight space destinations near and far, from Mars to dwarf planet Ceres to exoplanets located in other solar systems. They’re all real places, though we know more about some of them than others.

NASA Goddard also shared a short behind-the-scenes look at how the video was created using green screens. 

We often get to see concept art for distant locations like newly discovered exoplanets. That art doesn’t usually bring people into the equation, which is why NASA’s travel posters and video are so captivating. Humans might not have gone past our own moon yet, but we can imagine a future that reaches far, far beyond.

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