NASA Hunts for a Habitable Tatooine

Monday, 26 December 2016 - 4:29PM
Space
Science of Sci-Fi
Monday, 26 December 2016 - 4:29PM
NASA Hunts for a Habitable Tatooine
Astronomers have discovered a Saturn-sized planet called Kepler-16b, which is located 200 light years from Earth and orbits two suns - just like Tatooine. In fact, this desolate exoplanet resembled its Star Wars counterpart so much that it was officially nicknamed "Tatooine" by astronomers. 

But Tatooine isn't the only new sci-fi-themed discovery. Using the Kepler space telescope,"astronomers have discovered that about half of the stars in our Milky Way galaxy are pairs, rather than single stars like our sun," according to a statement issued by NASAAs a result, a habitable Star-Wars style planet may become a reality after all. 

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"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."
Closing quote


And why shouldn't it be? It's said that Mars echoes dry dusty Jakku, home to Rey, and that Jupiter's icy moon Europa bears a striking resemblance to the snow-covered Hoth, and we've already been considering both as viable colonies. And though scientists have yet to confirm that a Scarif-like planet - one full of water, that is - does in fact exist in out universe, that may not be the best candidate for life anyway. 

"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," says Shawn Domagal-Goldman, an astrobiologist at NASA. "The lack of water on a desert planet might be what makes it more habitable." Though this sounds counterintuitive, Domagal-Gleason explains that "water amplifies changes to climates and can cause planets to end up being really hot like Venus, or really cold like Europa." 

"The idea of life on other planets resonates with people on a very personal level. They [the Star Wars films] portray this image of a universe that is teeming with life," says NASA's program scientist for exoplanet exploration, Doug Hudgins. Unfortunately, with today's technology, as of now scientists only know of one such life-filled  planet - Earth. Luckily for us and all other Star Wars fans, the next few years will see humanity launch the new generation of spacecraft to look for planets around other stars, one of which may one day be our new home.
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Science of Sci-Fi