Marvel Asked Scientists if a Real 'Ego the Living Planet' Could Possibly Exist

Tuesday, 06 February 2018 - 8:37PM
Space
Science of Sci-Fi
Tuesday, 06 February 2018 - 8:37PM
Marvel Asked Scientists if a Real 'Ego the Living Planet' Could Possibly Exist
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Marvel/Disney
When Kurt Russell appeared in Marvel Studios' Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2, he portrayed one of the comic book publisher's more bizarre characters from their Jack Kirby/Stan Lee era (of which there are very many bizarre characters) - a sentient planet named Ego.

The movie made some changes to the comic book character, the biggest of which was turning him into a celestial who can generate a human form that resembles Kurt Russell. But he was still an entire planet, and Marvel recently became curious whether a planet-sized life form that could itself support life on its surface was possible, based on what we know about the universe.

So they brought together a few astrophysicists and NASA specialists, and asked them: could a living planet like Ego exist? Marvel then released those interviews in the video below:




Essentially, their answers could be summarized as "Ego cannot exist in a literal way, but maybe in a metaphorical way?" Which feels a little like a cop out, but there's definitely a firm "No, that's very much not possible" answer in there, so the question does get resolved.

Jackie Faherty, an astrophysicist at the American Museum of Natural History in New York, dismisses the idea of a planet that's literally sentient, but does suggest that a world full of life-supporting ecosystems could be considered to be "alive":

Opening quote
"There's no 'whole' necessarily to a planet, it's a composition of a lot of different things. There's a core, there's a mantle, and there's a crust. As you get to the crust, there's oceans, there's continents, there's animals on top of that, there's us on top of that. And then there's this atmosphere that extends out. I prefer to call everything a 'world'. So maybe we should call Ego a sentient 'world', rather than a sentient planet."
Closing quote


Marvel also consulted Michael Roberts, the deputy chief scientist at the International Space Station's National Laboratory and CASIS, who explained that it might be possible to find life which interacts with its planet in a very different way than we do, but again, did not suggest a planet itself was capable of being a sentient life form:

Opening quote
"So as we explore farther into space and we learn more about different planetary systems, we're discovering that there are a lot of planets out there that are habitable. And it may, in the future, be that some of those planets do resemble Ego in that their ability to sustain life is very different than what we have here, and they're more interconnected. We don't really know what the boundaries of that life are going to be."
Closing quote


So don't worry about a planet-sized supervillain ever visiting the Earth. We're much more likely to have a real life Doctor Octopus running around first.

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