Exotopia (2019) is a virtual reality installation in which participants can explore all the known exoplanets (planets outside of our solar system). The project builds a universe from astronomical datasets of the latest discoveries with ~3500 exoplanets.
From raw observation data, Exotopia generates a universe of extra-solar worlds based on mass, proximity to their sun, orbital path and their habitability index. They range from surreal to mundane with colorful atmospheres and clouds. They spin at different rates. Visitors to this installation can “fly” to these worlds and explore how the planets might look – from planets containing with algae-filled oceans, rocky formations, toxic clouds, icy crusts, and more.
The VR experience acts as a map to future exploration of the galaxy. Based on habitability factors such as proximity to the sun, axial tilt, and abundance of water, participants can extrapolate which planets are most likely to support human life.
Exotopia is an open-ended exploration. By creating a 3D, sensory encounter of what we normally see only as news, participants can experience simulated space travel and planetary pioneering first hand. Like the early astronauts, we can see how we are both unique and universally integrated, and hopefully be inspired to protect and preserve our small but significant home.