NASA has named a star constellation after the iconic monster known around the world as Godzilla. The giant creature first appeared in Toho's Gojira, which was later adapted for an Americanized version called Godzilla, King of the Monsters!. Since the monster's creation in 1954, there have been 31 Toho produced films and three American-made films, including the upcoming Godzilla: King of the Monsters which is part of Warner Bros. MonsterVerse.
Godzilla is a giant prehistoric sea monster who was awakened due to the testing of nuclear bombs. Even though Godzilla was originally seen as a metaphor about the use of nuclear weapons, later films decided to leave out this detail and just have him battle other giant creatures. Godzilla has several unique powers and abilities that make him one of the toughest movie monsters out there. Some of his abilities include a nuclear pulse which releases a ton of nuclear energy from his body to damage his foes. He also absorbs energy to become more powerful and has a regenerative healing factor and an incredibly durable hide. However, Godzilla's signature power is that of his atomic breath, which shoots concentrated radioactive plasma. This ability can make for some extraordinary cinematic moments, but also inspired NASA to give the character his own constellation.
NASA decided to name a constellation after Godzilla since his signature power is similar to gamma-ray jets that the stars in the constellation emit. When further explaining the science behind gamma-ray jets, NASA wrote, "When a massive star runs out of fuel and collapses under its own weight, or when two orbiting neutron stars spiral together and merge, a new black hole — and high-speed jets — may form. The result is a gamma-ray burst, the most powerful explosion in the cosmos. These monstrous blasts, which occur somewhere in the distant universe every day or so according to observations by Fermi's Gamma-ray Burst Monitor, would make even Godzilla envious".
Godzilla's atomic breath has been seen several times during his cinematic career. It first appeared back in the '50s, but has changed slightly over the years. Most of the time, his atomic breath is seen as a thick blue beam that comes from his mouth. In Gareth Edwards' 2014 film, Godzilla pried the mouth of a MUTO- which are now referred to as Titans- open in order to kill the creature with his atomic breath. Godzilla will likely use this incredibly powerful ability again when he battles King Kong in 2020 for the film Godzilla vs. Kong.
When the character of Godzilla was first created, he quickly became an iconic image all around Japan and eventually made his way into American pop culture. That being said, it's not that big of a surprise that NASA decided to name a constellation after him. NASA has also named constellations after the Marvel character Hulk, and the time travel vessel from Doctor Who called the TARDIS. With Godzilla's current popularity around the world, it seems fitting that the giant sea creature now has a spot among the stars as well.
- Godzilla: King of the Monsters (2019) release date: May 31, 2019
- Godzilla vs. Kong (2020) release date: May 22, 2020