On Wednesday, Earthlings were shocked—and certainly relieved—to finally get a push notification about planetary discovery, not political corruption. News broke that an international team of scientists had spied seven Earth-sized planets orbiting the nearby star TRAPPIST-1. Three of those planets are located in the habitable zone, where liquid water might form. NASA, the unofficial planetary hype train conductor, along with researchers behind the discovery, are doing everything in their power to drum up public excitement—including building a mythology for TRAPPIST-1 that blends science fact and fiction.
This week, planetary scientists launched a website for the star system that’s full of gorgeous infographics with data on the seven TRAPPIST planets.
Over the last few years, NASA has been refining its strategy for getting the public interested in planetary news. When New Horizons made its famous Pluto flyby in July 2015, it dominated the internet with a social media takeover: the agency helped get #PlutoFlyby and #NewHorizons trending on twitter, in addition to launching a New Horizons AMA on Reddit. The agency’s ongoing “Visions of the Future” series imagines what tourist posters for various exoplanets might look like, designed in Don Draper-approved retro style. It’s exciting to see science being blended with art—and now fiction—to get the public pumped about planets.
As for TRAPPIST-1, there are more stories where these came from, and over the next few years, the mythology (and our scientific knowledge about the system) will surely continue to grow. We look forward to the deluge of great (and terrible) sci-fi TRAPPIST-1 will undoubtedly inspire. And hopefully, more adorable Google doodles like this one.
Post Credit : Gizmodo