With Rogue One: A Star Wars Story not only grossing $800 Mio worldwide but also being on many people’s mind, does it really surprise us that even scientists join the frenzy and start looking for sci-fi themed planets out there?
Mars already resembles Rey’s dry and dusty Jakku, and Jupiter's icy moon Europa isn’t such a far cry from snow-covered Hoth, either. Humanity even considers Mars, Europa and Titan as viable colonies.
Astronomers recently discovered a planet the size of Saturn 200 light years from Earth, orbiting two suns that may or may not be Star Wars’ Tatooine. But the exoplanet called Kepler-16b resembles its counterpart in such a way that it has been officially nicknamed Tatooine by astronomers worldwide.
But there are many more discoveries being made that fit the description of a Star Wars Universe. The Kepler space telescope has uncovered a stunning series of stars in our own Milky Way that are actual pairs and no single stars like the sun. NASA released a statement proposing that Star-Wars style planets will become a reality.
"While Kepler 16-b, aka Tatooine, is probably too cold and gaseous to be home to life, or a hopeful desert farm boy, it's a good bet that there might be a habitable Tatooine 'twin' out there somewhere."
The upcoming years will already see humanity launch bold new generations of spaceships to look for such planets around other stars and to make them a permanent home.
Shawn Domagal-Goldman, an astrobiologist at NASA explains that:
"The recurring theme of desert worlds in Star Wars is really interesting, because there is some research that shows that these would be likely habitable worlds to find [and] the lack of water on a desert planet might be what makes it more habitable [as] water amplifies changes to climates and can cause planets to end up being really hot like Venus, or really cold like Europa."
Even NASA's program scientist for exoplanet exploration, Doug Hudgins, weighs in on the impact Star Wars has on people, saying that "The idea of life on other planets resonates with people on a very personal level. The [Star Wars] films portray this image of a universe that is teeming with life"
While Rogue One definitely is the Star Wars story I was looking for the box office success now ultimately translates into a real-world exploration that unites hardcore scientists and sci-fi dreamer alike.