This App from NASA Gives a Virtual Tour of 1000 Exoplanets

European Southern Observatory via Flickr // CC BY 2.0
European Southern Observatory via Flickr // CC BY 2.0 / European Southern Observatory via Flickr // CC BY 2.0

NASA recently proved they're capable of reaching the farthest former planet in our own solar system, but they still have a ways to go before exploring the hundreds of known planets that lie beyond it. Until then, earth-bound humans can explore the catalogued exoplanets through NASA’s virtual 3D app.

“Eyes on Exoplanets” allows users to zoom into over 1000 exotic planets for a closer, scientifically accurate look. Just one click can transport the user thousands of light-years to visit gas giants, earth-sized planets, and massive rocky planets. NASA updates the program daily with new discoveries from the Kepler mission and ground-based observatories, so you'll always be getting an up-to-date depiction of the universe as we know it.

In addition to offering a virtual look of space outside our solar system, “Eyes on Exoplanets” also compares the orbits of other planets to those in our solar system, shows you which planets might support life, and tells you how long it would take to travel to each planetary system by car, plane, bullet train, or spaceship.

There are likely 100 billion stars in the Milky Way alone, and scientists estimate that about 22 percent of them are orbited by a rocky, Earth-sized planets. The exoplanets included in this app account for just a fraction of what's out there, but scientists are finding new ones at such a fast rate that some believe it won't be too long before we stumble upon alien life.

[h/t: NASA]