Welcome to Build Me a Planet, where we take imaginary worlds from fantasy and science fiction and figure out what it would take to build them in real life. Along the way we’ll discover some surprising new facts about familiar settings, and prove the adage that truth really is stranger than fiction.
My name is Rohan Byrne and I’m a PhD candidate currently working on the geodynamics of exoplanets.
I’m also a lifelong sci-fi enthusiast who loves sinking his teeth into a new setting. Like a lot of people, I spent my youth experiencing films and television shows and video games and soaking up all the strange new worlds Hollywood could conjure. Again, like a lot of people, I eventually lost the credulity of childhood and stopped imagining Tatooine and Vulcan as if they were real places – they were too fantastical, too improbable, too irrelevant to daily life.
Then the exoplanets started rolling in, and I became a kid all over again.
In the past ten years, the number of other ‘worlds’ discovered has expanded hundreds of times over. Some of these orbit distant stars and represent entirely new planets never dreamed of before. Others are in our own backyard: worlds we thought we knew, only recently revealed to be nothing like they seemed. Increasingly, we are finding that the universe is the most prolific science fiction author of them all.
An adult is really just a child, buried under a lifetime of assumptions. But science is a scalpel that cuts away assumptions. It’s a tool for helping us see the world the way kids do: astonishing and full of possibility.
I hope this blog brings out a little of the child in you. The world is even bigger than you remember.