The 'Star Wars' Worlds That Exist in Our Galaxy
As it's 'Star Wars Day' NASA picked out a few worlds in a galaxy not-so-far away with a decidedly sci-fi vibe. Here are some of our favorites.
As fans of the classic "Star Wars" movies know, the Death Star is the ultimate planet-killing machine. When an early prototype of this machine is unleashed in Star Wars IV (the original 1977 movie) and destroys Alderaan, it sparked a famous line by Obi-Wan Kenobi about it disturbing the Force: "I felt a great disturbance in the Force, as if millions of voices suddenly cried out in terror, and were suddenly silenced. I fear something terrible has happened."
There is a Death Star in our own solar system but relax, it's not a threat to Earth. It's actually a moon of Saturn called Mimas. The big crater you see in this image is Herschel Crater, which was carved out by a big asteroid that could have threatened the very integrity of the moon. Another tidbit about Mimas:
. After all, fellow ice moon Enceladus is spurting geysers very visible with the Cassini spacecraft.
, NASA picked out a few more worlds
. Here are some of our favorites.
Coruscant is a key planet in the prequel series of Star Wars (1999-2005). The planet is home to one vast, ancient city -- it covers much of the globe -- that has gone through several revolutions over the years. It was known as the Imperial Center during the time of the Galactic Empire, and associated with the Sith and Jedi. All those Senate meetings in the prequels took place on Coruscant.
We haven't actually found a world yet with a global city, but NASA says it's possible it could arise on a place such as Kepler-452b. That's because the potentially habitable planet is in a star system 1.5 billion years old than our own, giving it a longer time to develop technology and build out cities.
, so we don't know how habitable it would be.
Mustafar is a location known not only for its precious minerals, and not only for its scorching surface, but also for its status as headquarters of the Black Sun. It was a criminal group that was allied with Darth Maul and his followers during the Clone Wars.
In real life, you couldn't get anywhere near CoRoT-7B without a lot of special protection; it is 3,600 degrees Fahrenheit on the surface. It's also large (like Saturn's size) and, as NASA points out, has a star that looms huge in its sky because it's so close.
Tattooine is probably the most famous planet in the "Star Wars" universe because it is home to Luke Skywalker and his father (pre-Vader), Anakin. The desert planet -- which has two suns -- made it difficult for the inhabitants to get water, forcing many of them to get it from the atmosphere using moisture farms. But there still was time for some leisure activities, such as pod racing.
There are a few examples of real-life planets with double suns, such as Kepler-16b. But don't go looking for any Jedi knights on here. The planet is cold, too big for life (at about the size of Saturn) and made up mostly of gas.
Hoth features prominently at the beginning of Star Wars VI: Return of the Jedi, when the planet is the temporary headquarters of the Alliance to Restore the Republic. An infamous, stinky rescue takes place there using a tauntaun.
While it's hard to imagine life existing here, there is a planet that is quite cold: -364 degrees Fahrenheit, and called OGLE-2005-BLG-390. Do you suppose tauntaun fur is enough protection there?
While we don't know much about the inhabitants of Kamino, we do know what they're famous for: cloning technology. As all Star Wars fans know, clones are instrumental in the history of the Galactic Republic as well as in the movies.
Like Kamino, real-life planet Kepler-22b could also be covered in a huge ocean. But no one is quite sure if the ocean exists; because the planet is more than double Earth's radius, it's possible it's mostly made up of gas instead.