Solar System in fiction

The Solar System and its various bodies (planets, asteroids, moons, etc.) were the earliest objects to be treated as fictional locations in works of science fiction. Among these, imaginary voyages to and explorations of Earth's Moon are found in seventeenth century literature. By the early twentieth century, following the increase in scientific and technological development spurred by the Industrial Revolution, fictional journeys to (or from) the Solar System's other planets had become common in fiction.

Early literature regarding the Solar System, following scientific speculations dating back to the 17th century, assumed that every planet hosted its own native life forms -- often assumed to be human in form, if not in attitudes. Later literature began to accept that there were limits set by temperature, gravity, atmospheric pressure and composition, or the presence of liquids that would set bounds on the possibility of life as we know it existing on other planets. By the 19th century the Moon was given up as an airless desert, incapable of supporting life on its surface (hopes for subsurface life continued until later). Jupiter and the planets beyond were too large, too cold, and had atmospheres composed of poisonous chemicals. Mercury was too close to the Sun and its surface was exposed to extremes of temperature. The asteroids were too tiny and airless. By the early 20th century, prospects for life in the Solar System focused on Venus, the larger moons of Jupiter and Saturn, and especially Mars.

With the onset of the Space Age, planetary probes cast increasing doubt on the likelihood of extraterrestrial life in the Solar System, at least life of any magnitude greater than organisms such as bacteria. By the mid-1960s, it was firmly established that life could have no foothold on the hostile surfaces of Mercury or Venus, and that Mars could hardly support any macroscopic life forms on its surface, much less an advanced civilization. In the 1980s it was shown that the surfaces of Jupiter's moons were just as hostile to life. More recent fiction focused on the Solar System has thus tended to address its exploration for purposes such as terraforming, the engineering of planets for human habitation, than the possibility of any existing life.

Specific articles

Most of the major bodies of the Solar System have articles concerning their use as settings for fiction:
     [ e] Solar System in fiction
Mercury Venus Earth Mars Ceres Jupiter Saturn Uranus Neptune Pluto Outer planets
Moon Phobos and Deimos Asteroids Jupiter's Moons Saturn's Moons Titan


The following works or series use multiple planets and other locations within the Solar System as their primary settings:

Novels and series


A Honeymoon in Space1901George Griffith
Northwest Smith19331936C. L. Moore
Planetary series19341936Stanley G. Weinbaum
Space Trilogy19381943C. S. Lewis
Leigh Brackett Solar System19401964Leigh Brackett
Space Odyssey19481997Arthur C. Clarke
Eight Worlds19741985John Varley
Shaper/Mechanist19821985Bruce Sterling
Grand Tour1993–presentBen Bova


Captain Future19401951Edmond Hamilton
Heinlein juveniles (first six)19471952Robert A. Heinlein
Lucky Starr series19521958Isaac Asimov
Tom Corbett, Space Cadet series1952-1956Cary Rockwell (pseud.)
Dig Allen series1959-1962Joseph Greene

Comics and animation

Film, radio and television


Name Date Developer
Buck Rogers XXVC1988TSR, Inc.
1988Game Designers' Workshop
Jovian Chronicles1992Dream Pod 9
Mutant Chronicles1993Target Games
GURPS Terradyne campaign1995Steve Jackson Games
Transhuman Space2002Steve Jackson Games

Solar System or solar system[a] consists of the Sun and the other celestial objects gravitationally bound to it: the eight planets, their 166 known moons,[1]
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planet, as defined by the International Astronomical Union (IAU), is a celestial body orbiting a star or stellar remnant that is massive enough to be rounded by its own gravity, not massive enough to cause thermonuclear fusion in its core, and has cleared its neighbouring region of
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Asteroids, also called minor planets or planetoids, are a class of astronomical objects. The term asteroid is generally used to indicate a diverse group of small celestial bodies in the solar system that orbit around the Sun.
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A natural satellite is an object that orbits a planet or other body larger than itself and which is not man-made. Such objects are often called moons. Technically, the term could also refer to a planet orbiting a star, or even to a star orbiting a galactic center, but these
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worldwide view of the subject.
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Science fiction (abbreviated SF or sci-fi
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Mercury Venus Earth (Moon) Mars (moons) Jupiter (moons) Saturn 
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As a means of recording the passage of time, the 17th Century was that century which lasted from 1601-1700 in the Gregorian calendar.

The 17th Century falls into the Early Modern period of Europe and was characterized by the Baroque cultural movement and the beginning of
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twentieth century of the Common Era began on January 1, 1901 and ended on December 31, 2000, according to the Gregorian calendar. Some historians consider the era from about 1914 to 1991 to be the Short Twentieth Century.
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Science (from the Latin scientia, 'knowledge'), in the broadest sense, refers to any systematic knowledge or practice.[1] Examples of the broader use included political science and computer science, which are not incorrectly named, but rather named according to
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Industrial Revolution was a period in the late 18th and early 19th centuries when major changes in agriculture, manufacturing, and transportation had a profound effect on socioeconomic and cultural conditions in Britain and subsequently spread throughout the world, a process that
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Space Age is a contemporary period encompassing the activities related to the space race, space exploration, space technology, and the cultural developments influenced by these events.
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A timeline of Solar System exploration listed by date of spacecraft launch.

Missions in italics are unfinished, i.e. have not yet been designated as successes or failures.
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Extraterrestrial life is life originating outside of the Earth. It is the subject of astrobiology, and its existence remains theoretical. There is no evidence of extraterrestrial life that has been widely accepted by the scientific community.
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  • Chromalveolata
  • Heterokontophyta
  • Haptophyta
  • Cryptophyta
  • Alveolata

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  • Bacteria


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    terraforming (literally, "Earth-shaping") of a planet, moon, or other body is the hypothetical process of deliberately modifying its atmosphere, temperature, or ecology to be similar to those of Earth in order to make it habitable by humans.
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    A popular setting for science fiction writers, there are many examples of the planet Mercury in fiction. Recurring themes include the dangers of being exposed to solar radiation and the possibility of escaping excessive radiation by staying within the planet's slow-moving
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    Mercury Venus Earth (Moon) Mars (moons) Jupiter (moons) Saturn 
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    Old Earth/Old Terra by the time of the original novel Dune (at least 21,500 years in the future). The Sun is called Al-Lat, and humanity had populated many planets (among them Caladan, Giedi Prime and Salusa Secundus) before the Titans and then Thinking Machines had taken
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    Fictional representations of Mars have been popular for over a century. Interest in Mars has been stimulated by the planet's dramatic red color, by early scientific speculations that its surface conditions might be capable of supporting life, and by the possibility that Mars could
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    Mercury Venus Earth (Moon) Mars (moons) Jupiter (moons) Saturn 
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    Jupiter, the largest planet in the solar system, is a popular backdrop for science fiction stories and films. Although Jupiter is now known to have no solid surface one could land on, and has long been known to have an atmosphere, temperature, and high gravity hostile to human
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    The planet Saturn is featured in numerous science fiction novels and films, although the planet itself usually serves more as a pretty backdrop than as the actual setting.

    On Saturn


    • In Voltaire's Micromégas

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    L'gy'hx and is inhabited by cubical metallic many-legged creatures who worship Lrogg. They entered in religious conflict with the Shan.
  • In Wayne W. Dyer's self-help parable Gifts from Eykis
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  • Mercury Venus Earth (Moon) Mars (moons) Jupiter (moons) Saturn 
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    Pluto has been featured in many instances of science fiction and popular culture. Initially classified as a planet upon its discovery in 1930, Pluto has also received considerable publicity following its 2006 reclassification as a dwarf planet.
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    outer planets of the Solar System are hypothetical or fictional planets on the edge of the Solar System, beyond the orbit of Neptune, which sometimes serve as settings or references in science fiction.
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    Mercury Venus Earth (Moon) Mars (moons) Jupiter (moons) Saturn 
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    Mercury Venus Earth (Moon) Mars (moons) Jupiter (moons) Saturn 
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