Lately, I’ve been working on a sci/fi story and it’s set in our Solar System years into the future. Well, I’m having to do a lot of research about space to write this novel and I wanted to share some of the things I’ve learned. Some things in the novel I’m going probably going to pull the whole: “it’s a sci/fi, it works that way just cause it works that way,” but for the setting, I want to get as accurate as I can. I’ve learn a lot of cool things about the Solar System that I gotta share!
Besides Earth, one of the major planets featured in my sci/fi is Saturn. Well…kind of. No one actually goes to Saturn in the story, but they go to plenty of Saturn’s moons. Saturn has a BUNCH of moons. 82 according to NASA’s website. The largest being Titan (which is larger than Mercury, the planet), and it’s smallest is probably the moonlet: Pan which is a whole 23 km wide (have you ever heard the term moonlet before? I hadn’t until I started this research, it means small natural or artificial satellite. It’s such a cute word!). Of Saturn’s major moons, Mimas is the smallest and I consider it the Death Star moon. Look up of a photo of it. It has a giant crater that makes it look like the Death Star from Star Wars. It’s because of this Death Star look that I decided to have Mimas as one of the moons that appear in my story. Did you know it has an icy and crater-covered surface?
Another fun fact I want to share is about Saturn’s rings. Did you know that it’s rings are labeled? It makes sense that they would be, I mean, its literally like naming geography but in space. Their names go from A Ring down the alphabet to G Ring. The A, B, and C Rings are the main ones you see when looking at Saturn and the large gap between A and B is called the Cassini Division. Saturn’s rings are mostly composed of ice and the A Ring even has a gap in it that’s called the Encke Gap–and it’s held open by our little friend: Pan.
It’s too easy to get lost in the research. You start learning so much that you just want to throw it all into the novel, but then you’re writing a textbook and not a story. Somewhere you gotta find the balance and for my story, I’m focusing on getting the basics of a setting like Mimas having an icy surface and Pan being tucked in the Encke Gap. Maybe when the story is fully written, I’ll have a space expert read it and let me know if I did space justice enough as a setting. I could go on about Saturn and space–I mean, solarsystem.nasa.gov has a really cool interactive Solar System. None of the moonlets are on it, but you can see the major moons of the different planets (and of course you can’t forget how pretty Earth and the Moon are).
Space is so cool. Its so easy to forget about. There’s such a big universe outside our atmosphere. Its definitely something to keep you pondering.
Thanks for reading! I have to get back to writing my story, but I hope you enjoyed these fun facts! If you have any to share about space, feel free to comment them below!