The Earth’s Mightiest Heroes officially make the jump from the Marvel Universe to a celestial body, as NASA has named two of its 21 new gamma-ray constellations after the Incredible Hulk and Thor — specifically, the god of thunder’s enchanted hammer Mjölnir.
The other 21 constellations include nods to Godzilla, The Little Prince, the U.S.S. Enterprise from Star Trek, and the TARDIS from Doctor Who.
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NASA is commemorating the 10th anniversary of the agency’s Fermi Gamma-ray Space Telescope, acquired on June 11, 2008 in partnership with France, Italy, Germany, Japan, Sweden, and the United States Department of Energy. The Fermi Gamma-ray Space Telescope, also known as the Gamma-ray Large Area Space Telescope or GLAST, is used to detect and survey gamma-rays in outer space.
NASA defines gamma-rays as the “strongest form of light,” powerful enough to convert into matter under the right circumstances. According to the space agency, two of its newest gamma-ray constellations were so aptly named because Bruce Banner was transformed by gamma radiation into the Hulk, while Godzilla’s heat ray resembles fiery gamma-ray jets typically associated with black holes and neutron stars.
The explanation behind Mjölnir is tied more directly to the enchanted hammer’s mythological roots, symbolizing the investigation of “Terrestrial Gamma-ray Flashes (TGFs) associated with lightning from thunderstorms on Earth.”
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All 21 constellations can be viewed on NASA’s website, which features in-depth descriptions and an interactive map.