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NASA: how to simulate trips to other planets in the solar system

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NASA: Eyes on the Solar System (Screenshot)

The images taken by the James Webb Space Telescope, which were trending for several weeks in July of this year, aroused the curiosity of people who seek to learn more about the universe, the planets and the stars that make it up. A web page, designed by the American Space Agency (NASA), they will be able to find out about the characteristics of the planets of the solar system.

This website, called ‘Eyes on the Solar System’, is constantly updated to provide detailed information about the Sun, the planets and the satellites that orbit it. In addition, the eyes.nasa.gov/apps/solar-system site offers various tools that allow users to learn about astronomy and travel, from home, to the surface of some planets.

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Once you enter the NASA website, a virtual representation of the orbits is shown not only of the planets of the Solar System, but also of satellites and asteroids that surround them. This view can be modified to stop showing the orbit traces and draw the various constellations in outer space generated by computer.

View of Earth from NASA's Eyes on Solar System website (Screenshot)
View of Earth from NASA’s Eyes on Solar System website (Screenshot)

How to learn more about the Solar System

The information shown is not the only one that can be accessed, since each planet, asteroid and satellite is an object that can be clicked on to learn more about it. Users can zoom in and out of them to even go beyond the solar system to explore other bodies beyond. The James Webb Space Telescope is also inside the simulation.

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An important feature of this website is that a real-time representation of the locations of the stars in the Solar System is established, although this can be modified to move forwards and backwards in time, which makes it possible, for example, to see the location of the planets on the day of birth of a particular person.

Beyond curiosity, NASA offers through this website information on, for example, satellites that are in outer space, comets, moons, protoplanets, among other bodies. Their location is indicated, when they were discovered, by whom, if they have been visited by any space mission, among other data that provide greater context about what is known about them.

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View of the constellations on the NASA Eyes on the Solar System website (Screenshot)
View of the constellations on the NASA Eyes on the Solar System website (Screenshot)

Space mission stories

For users who want to know more about how NASA’s most important missions were carried out, the Eyes on the Solar System website includes “Stories”, a section dedicated to explaining the procedures that led to satellites like Cassini, space probes like the Voyaguer, and vehicles such as the Perseverance, Curiosity or Insight, to their destinations.

Within this section of the web, users will be able to see simulations in which real time is used that took some of the space missions to, for example, land on the surface of Mars. Its importance is also emphasized and what the entity of the United States government expects from the mission carried out by the vehicles.

Finally, for those who are intrigued by space threats such as asteroids, NASA also has a website aimed at studying these bodies called ‘Eyes on Asteroids’, which explains the various missions of the US agency directed to his studio.

Simulation of NASA's DART mission target in Eyes on the Solar System (Screenshot)
Simulation of NASA’s DART mission target in Eyes on the Solar System (Screenshot)

Information on reconnaissance missions is included; like NEAR, which orbited an asteroid for a year; o Deep Impact, which aimed to analyze the composition of comets; and one of the most ambitious: the DART mission, which consists of testing a planetary defense system in the event of an imminent collision of the Earth with an asteroid.

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