4 Planets and 1 Moon That Bring 'Star Wars' to Life

May the Fourth be with you on this very galactic day. NASA is no stranger to the Star Wars community, and on this May the Fourth, aka Star Wars Day, what better time to present NASA’s most interesting comparisons between the galaxy far, far away and the orbiting planets and moons we’ve already discovered. Here are five actual celestial bodies that share traits with the ones in the Star Wars universe.

A side-by-side shows the similarities between Mimas and the Death Star. 


5. Saturn’s Moon, Mimas, Looks Like the Death Star

In 2010, the Cassini Spacecraft did a flyby of Mimas and NASA couldn’t help but see the Death Star in this little moon.

With an 80-mile-wide crater, the moon looks as though it will wreak total destruction on some unsuspecting planet. Coincidentally, Star Wars and the Death Star were created in 1977, four years before scientists discovered Mimas resembled it in 1981.

Hoth is the same size as Earth but far too cold for humans. 


4. The Discovery of a Planet “Colder than Hoth”

In April 2017, NASA announced the discovery of a new planet deemed OGLE-2016-BLG-1195Lb but really, NASA astronomers couldn’t help but compare it to icy cold Hoth. “While it is covered in ice, at around -400 degrees Fahrenheit, it is actually much, much colder than Hoth,” Yossi Shvartzvald, postdoctoral fellow at NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory, told CNN. “It’s hard to imagine any life surviving in such an environment, not humans or tauntauns anyway.”

Kepler-16b is the first known planet to be orbiting two stars. 

NASA/JPL-Caltech/T. Pyle

3. This Planet With Two Suns is Compared to Tatooine

In September 2011, NASA revealed a planet, Kepler-16b, orbiting two suns. This was the first detection of a circumbinary planet and it opened up a whole universe of possibilities for life on two-sun systems. On this gaseous and cold planet, the sun would set twice but unfortunately, there probably isn’t any life to see it.

HD 131399Ab has three suns, one-uping Tatooine.

ESO/L. Calçada

2. A Three Sun Planet One Ups Tatooine

The idea of a circumbinary planet was wild enough. But, not even George Lucas could have dreamed up a planet with three suns. HD 131399Ab, as NASA called it, was found it have three suns. It is also one of the youngest exoplanets to ever be found, at about 16 million years old.

This forest world could be like  Endor or Takodana, but better.

1. Forest worlds Like Endor or Takodana

Proxima Centauri b was discovered in August 2016 and is the closest known to possibly inhabit life. The only difference is that Proxima b orbits a red dwarf star, which leads scientists to believe that the sky would periwinkle and the pigments of plants would be rainbow-colored. Sounds enough like a forest world in the galaxy far, far away.

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