The public affairs folks at NASA like to attach the real life work that the Space agency does to just about any movie remotely having to do with space. “The Martian” was pure gold since it depicted a group of heroic NASA astronauts and ground technicians attempting to save one of their own stranded on Mars. In any case, “Rogue One” is no exception to the rule. The folks at NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory have gotten into the act and started a discussion of some of the real life exo-planets that have a passing resemblance to the worlds depicted in the long running space opera franchise.


For instance, Kepler-16b has been nick named “Tatooine” because it orbits a double star system 200 light years from Earth in the constellation Cygnus. However, the real life planet is not a desert planet (which NASA suggests is possible, hot like Tatoonine or chilly like Jedha in “Rogue One or the real life Mars) but a gas giant the size of Saturn.

We already know that ice world like Hoth exists. Europa, a moon of Jupiter, and Enceladus, orbiting Saturn, are ice bound worlds. However, while no life exists on the surface of either world, both may have subsurface oceans warm enough to have life.

Ocean planets like Scarif, where the final battle of “Rogue One” takes place or forest world like Endor have yet to be discovered. But scientists are fairly certain that the galaxy we live in here and now has worlds where life is not only possible but is likely teeming with it.

So far, of course, we know of only one planet that has intelligent life, that being Earth. However, the Kepler Space Telescope has discovered a few Earth sized planets that orbit their stars at the exact distance to sustain liquid water, a prerequisite for life.

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A number of follow up missions, including the Transiting Exoplanet Survey Satellite (TESS), NASA's James Webb Space Telescope, and the Wide Field Infrared Survey Telescope (WFIRST) will continue the hunt for exo-planets, including other Earths.

Meanwhile, a couple of privately funded efforts, Project Starshot and Project Blue will focus on nearby Alpha Centauri and Proxima Centauri respectively to hunt for other worlds.