Interesting Facts about Helliconia – “New Earth”

May 1, 2012 | Interesting Facts

Artist's version … Kepler 22-b. (source: smh.com.au)

Artist's version Kepler 22-b. (source: smh.com.au)

Just recently, the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) have just discovered what seems to be a planet amazingly similar to what was described in the Brian Aldiss’  Helliconia Book Trilogy.

The Earth-like planet was tagged as Kepler 22-b and although it was first seen back in 2009, NASA has just made it public in a press release.

Situated about 600 light years away, the surface temperature on the planet has been measured to be at 22 degrees, hence, the name. Excited as we all are, at this point, it would still be impossible to take a closer look into the planet and see if humans and phagors are still battling it out for dominance in Kepler 22-b.

For science fiction fanatics and even for those who are more interested in facts than make believe, here is one for the books. And the grand thing in it all is it actually came from a series of books written by Brian Aldiss, the the multi –awarded science fiction writer.

Helliconia, as the planet is named, has almost the same features and characteristics as that of the earth. The quality of life including climates and the rise and fall of the civilization dwelling in Helliconia have been comprehensively explained in detail by Aldiss in his Helliconia Book Trilogy, a three book series which is composed of Helliconia Spring which was published in 1982, Helliconia Summer released in 1983, and Helliconia Winter distributed two years later.

Aldiss’ trilogy centered more on the planet rather than on the characters in it. The planet Helliconia was described in full detail with realistic explanations on various fields of perspectives such as geology, religion, microbiology, and society. Set six thousand years into the future, the civilization of humans and phagors were compared in contrast with the actual human society hovering in a massive satellite over the planet of Helliconia. The people inside the satellite were survivors from the real planet Earth that disintegrated because of nuclear war.

Aldiss had no inkling that what he had been imagining for more than 30 years now would actually take the form of reality. It is pretty exciting and scary at the same time. To be able to see and encounter other human-like beings functioning just like us can be freakishly chilling. But it can also be equally rewarding. Until then, we will never know.

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