In the spirit of Halloween, NASA has released a black and white horror “trailer,” detailing the universe’s exoplanets. Exoplanets are those that exist outside the Solar System (all the planets around the sun), in the galaxies beyond ours.
Scientists have discovered over 4,000 exoplanets, with a majority of these being detected in the last 15 years by NASA’s now-retired Kepler space telescope. A lot of these have seemingly terrifying natural states, a couple of which are detailed in the “Galaxy of Horrors” video.
HD 189733 b, for example, has an atmosphere in which ferocious winds send silicates blasting through the air, creating “a perpetual storm of flying glass.” NASA calls it a “hellscape.”
The cheesy special effects and warped pitch of narration are evocative of the 1950s, an era that saw a heavy influx of low-budget, yet loveable American horror films like The Brain Eaters, Invasion of the Body Snatchers, and Them!
The title of NASA’s trailer, intentionally or unintentionally, is reminiscent of the 1981 film Galaxy of Terror (trailer below).
“In practical terms, I think for many people the posters are an entryway,” said Gary Blackwood, manager of the Exoplanet Exploration Program. “They make exoplanet science cool, and that opens a door for many members of the public – especially students – to learn more about the science behind the posters.”