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Scientist Explains the Truth of Science Fiction Planets

Have you always wanted to go sightseeing on the icy world of Hoth, riding on the back of your very own tauntaun? Well, you might not be able to do anything about that tauntaun (don’t worry, I hear they smell pretty awful), but it turns out you can get the rest of the Hoth experience right here in our own solar system. You’ll just have to find your way out towards Saturn.

In this video from Wired, visualization specialist Robert Hurk from NASA‘s Jet Propulsion Laboratory looks at some famous planets from across the science fiction universe to explain how realistic they are. Turns out they aren’t all that fictional.

If you are really into cross-country skiing and Star Wars,  Saturn’s moon, the “pristine, white icy ball” Enceladus, is your answer to Hoth from The Empire Strikes Back. Though Enceladus is even less hospitable apparently. Yeah, tell that to Luke.

For you Star Trek fans, the “double planet system” of the Romulans, Romulus and Remus, is reminiscent of Pluto and it’s moon Charon, which orbit a “mutual point in space.”

If you thought LV-426 from Alien was really “hostile,” that’s because that’s exactly what you’d expect from an exoplanet. It’s not exactly easy to find planets that are even “remotely habitable.” Even then, you run the risk of a massive monster alien living on it.

He also explained how they hid a little Easter egg for fellow Babylon 5 fans in a rendering of a real place in space, because even scientists who work on actual issues of the cosmos can’t help being science fiction fans.

What fictional planet would you have liked to see included? Tell us below.

HT: laughingsquid
Image: Lucasfilm

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