Back in 2009 NASA launched the Kepler telescope with the hope of finding similar earth-like planets far far away. The telescope has already cataloged over 3199 planets and has confirmed that 1795 are terrestrial or earth-like.
NASA quaintly calls these exoplanets because they revolve around stars beyond our own sun. They are routinely broken down into 3 common types: gas giants, hot-super-Earths in short period orbits, and ice giants.
In an attempt to have future generations keep watching the skies and eventually go there, NASA's jet propulsion lab has commissioned a travel poster series for some of the real planets discovered by the telescope. The posters also come with appropriate JPL generated publicity blurbs.
Go here to see HD versions of the posters.
(For simplicity sake all discovered exoplanets are called Kepler followed by their unique number identifier.)
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. Its star is much cooler and redder than our Sun. 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 color palette that's very different than the greens on Earth. This discovery was made by Kepler, NASA's planet hunting telescope.
Twice as big in volume as the Earth, 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 time the Earth's mass, its gravitational pull is much, much stronger.
Like Luke Skywalker's planet "Tatooine" in Star Wars, Kepler-16b orbits a pair of stars. 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.