We wanted to make something like Google Maps for space. This would combine close up views of the systems with "simulations" or animations of the systems. A system such as this would be immensely useful for educational purposes as it would help to visualize exoplanet systems and allow for a comparison between them and our own solar system.
What it does
Our project consists of a website where one can select one of various Kepler systems from a drop-down menu. Upon selection the site will display a close up image of the system via WorldWide Telescope, a to-scale animation of the system created with blender, and the parameters of the planets in the system from NASA's exoplanet archive API.
How we built it
We used Blender to create the Kepler systems, using data from the NASA exoplanet archive to create to-scale animations. Those animations were embedded into a website which allowed you to select from a menu of Kepler systems. In addition, a close up image of the system was embedded in the site via WorldWide Telescope, as well as the data used to create the system from the NASA archive.
Challenges we ran into
Initially we had intended to make it so that one could chose any system from the NASA exoplanet archive and the website would render an interactive to-scale 3D simulation of the system along with the image of the system from the WorldWide Telescope and the data from the NASA archive. However, we experienced difficulty and ultimately could not use Blender to read in the data from the exoplanet archive, so we had to select a few systems and use their data to manually create the systems. We also could not manage to embed the actual Blender animation into the website meaning we could not make it interactive. We instead had to render the animation as a gif which allowed for only a fixed camera angle of the system.
Accomplishments that we're proud of
We are proud of the skills we learned through creating this project. Although the product (for now) is not what we had initially intended, we still feel like we still made something that approaches our intentions, and with some additional time and work we know we can get there.