Science fiction media representations of exoplanets: portrayals of changing astronomical discoveries

Emma Puranen, Emily Finer, Christiane Helling, V.A. Smith

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Abstract

Interest in science fiction’s (SF’s) potential science communication use is hindered by concerns about SF misrepresenting science. This study addresses this by asking how SF media reflects scientific findings in exoplanet science. A database of SF exoplanets is analysed using a Bayesian network to find interconnected interactions between planetary characterisation features and literary data. Results reveal SF exoplanets designed after the discovery of real exoplanets are less Earth-like, providing statistical evidence that SF incorporates rapidly-evolving science. Understanding SF’s portrayal of science is crucial for its potential use in science communication.
Original languageEnglish
JournalJournal of Science Communication
Volume23
Issue number01
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 4 Mar 2024

Keywords

  • History of science
  • Literature
  • Technology
  • Science fiction
  • Exoplanet science
  • Bayesian methods
  • Astrophysics
  • Astronomy
  • Exoplanets

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