After Hours

Sci-fi characters: Where are they now?

Roy Neary—Close Encounters of the Third Kind

After gallivanting around the solar system in an extraterrestrial mothership for nearly 30 years, Roy tired of its All-you-can-Eat buffet and piano bar (the guy kept playing the same five notes over and over) and asked to be dropped back on Earth. This took a little acclimation as you can imagine, and Roy would have done fine had he not turned on this television set and got a taste of the proliferation of reality shows. The last we heard, he was trying to get reinstated on the mothership.

About

Toni Bowers is Managing Editor of TechRepublic and is the award-winning blogger of the Career Management blog. She has edited newsletters, books, and web sites pertaining to software, IT career, and IT management issues.

97 comments
ErnieAlex
ErnieAlex

What about those two little guys in the "Silent Running" ship that were sent out to save our trees??? Or, that "Drac" guy who has a baby "Drac" in "Enemy Mine"??? Where's he now? PS: I also saw a tribble. He had a great paying gig, although he was spray painted orange, for a wig for Bruce Willis on Letterman... Was a fun skit! And, I hear the pay was huge!

laurel861
laurel861

Pluto is still a planet, at least according to many astronomers. This debate is far from over. Only four percent of the IAU voted on the controversial demotion, and most are not planetary scientists. Their decision was immediately opposed by hundreds of professional astronomers in a formal petition led by New Horizons Principal Investigator Dr. Alan Stern. Stern and like-minded astronomers favor a broader planet definition in which a planet is any non-self-luminous spheroidal body in orbit around a star. The spheroidal part is important because it means the object is large enough to be rounded by its own gravity, a state known as hydrostatic equilibrium and characteristic of planets, not of shapeless asteroids. Also, Pluto is not located in the Oort Cloud. It is located at the beginning of the Kuiper Belt, which begins beyond Neptune and is a lot closer to the Sun than the Oort Cloud is.

Michael Jay
Michael Jay

but Pluto is now a dwarf planet, it is official, that is the way the planet plummets.

tiger48
tiger48

Became a speech writer for an incredibly unsuccessful politician.

Heimdall222
Heimdall222

Gort was actually a "he" and anatomically correct. However, that wasn't apparent until a front panel was opened. When the panel was opened, the result was difficult to ignore. Since he was eight feet tall, everything was to scale! < This factoid is the result of the viewing of several scenes that were originally cut from the film by the 1951 censors. >

dayen
dayen

I can't spell but I know a planet when I see one and they ain't changing my mind and I think that funny too !! Love Sci-Fi can see the humor in all of this. You guys are Great thank for al the humor. Oh yes two Internets I hear that is comming

Michael Jay
Michael Jay

as a planet. http://ssd.jpl.nasa.gov/sbdb.cgi?sstr=pluto;orb=1;cov=0;log=0;cad=0#orb Play with the controls, kinda cool.

pgit
pgit

Um, my Humane Society of America calendar ends December 31, 2011. After that, well, there is no after that. Nada. Where you all getting this 2012 stuff from? What a bunch of optimists! Unless and until HSA revises their calendar I just don't see how there can be any 2012.

Michael Jay
Michael Jay

too disturbing if true. The Aztecs were right 2 years to go and that is it. Or not.

seanferd
seanferd

Please don't tell me the Earth's ephemerides cannot be calculated beyond 2012, now. :0

Michael Jay
Michael Jay

program is somewhat in question, they give a disclaimer about the long term accuracy of going out too many years. But it is fun to look at, and a nice find, but it looks like some of the outer planets will be on the wrong side of the Sun for viewing.

AnsuGisalas
AnsuGisalas

It'll give our great great great great great great great great grandchildren all sorts of crazy doomsday stories and theories and hoaxes to listen to and get all riled up about... (that's 8 generations downstream for me, 7 or 6 for some of you, just cut out a couple of "great"s).

SirWizard
SirWizard

Based on the orbit program, some time in 2169 around February 12, a lot of planets will be in a line within a VERY small angle.

Michael Jay
Michael Jay

Voyager II is 6.684586454211886E+91 AU from the sun.

Michael Jay
Michael Jay

so the end of time for Pluto is 3000-MAY-05 23:58:53.8144 UT, seems Jupiter will not fair so well, end of time for Jupiter is 2500-JAN-02 23:58:53.8163 UT. Sorry, I won't be here for either.

Michael Jay
Michael Jay

by that standard the internet should be banned. :)

AnsuGisalas
AnsuGisalas

You must have not understood the whole trinity thing like I did ;)

pgit
pgit

that's exactly why it's forbidden in the Bible.

santeewelding
santeewelding

Is a solution of which I am familiar with; nonce, I got rid of her, and she, of me.

Michael Jay
Michael Jay

myself, easy, I let the wife handle that.

santeewelding
santeewelding

As if we do not have enough to worry about -- the end of time, notwithstanding. How [i]do[/i] you put up with yourself?

Michael Jay
Michael Jay

you can also speed it up, or show all orbits, if you like getting dizzy you can change the center, it stops at 2200 years, guess that is the end of time.

santeewelding
santeewelding like.author.displayName 1 Like

Like being stoned and munchies served.

Michael Jay
Michael Jay like.author.displayName 1 Like

to observe the orbit of Pluto, then the slider on the right will enable you to see the inclination of the orbit. Use the >> button to put it in motion, the days will count up, use the zoom to go to the center of the solar system and see how fast the inner planets move, cool I tell ya.

santeewelding
santeewelding like.author.displayName 1 Like

Probably because I have no clue about 3-body celestial mechanics.

seanferd
seanferd

It's the first of its new class of objects - Plutoids. It got a promotion and is now in charge of other dwarf planets, including Eris, which is bigger than Pluto. Don't cry! :D

AnsuGisalas
AnsuGisalas

Now he's lord of the undersized ;)

pgit
pgit

Great laugh to start off a snowy Sunday here... thanks. Gotta love a sharp sense of humor. I'll gift ya half of one of my intertubes, too. I've sent your bags on ahead... where was that you're staying? Now I have an image of a shrine to Pluton in the chapel of the underpants gnomes... Lord means Lord, that would be all the undersized, right?

AnsuGisalas
AnsuGisalas like.author.displayName 1 Like

probably smites people that don't put back the undermeasure fish, too. ;)

seanferd
seanferd

They will be shipped to the mailing address you provide. :D

BitHammer
BitHammer

Like him or not (Most of us in Illinois don't), At least get the name right!

learn4ever
learn4ever

Um.... Pluto was designated a planet in 1930... not 2003. Quote: Having been a part of the planet ?club? since 2003, you can imagine what a blow it was to Pluto to be kicked out unceremoniously on August 24, 2006.

NickNielsen
NickNielsen moderator

There were a few chuckles and a full on belly-laugh in that gallery. I heard that some of the Tribbles have taken part-time jobs as dust bunnies inside PCs. I also think Roy Batty's death was faked. The man who does the yardwork for the doctor down the street looks awfully familiar...

mriemann
mriemann like.author.displayName 1 Like

Jar-jar is now occupying some very expensive real estate in Washington DC. Notice the similarity in the walk and hand/arm gestures? Notice the similarity of speech patterns, and credibility? Notice similar back ground, never having held a regular job, but becoming a senator...the narrative ends here

NickNielsen
NickNielsen moderator like.author.displayName 1 Like

Glen Beck might pick it up. It would do wonders for his reputation...

bruce.servary
bruce.servary

On the whole "where are they now"...not funny

KarnageTyme
KarnageTyme

If you are going to paradize a famous sci fi character make sure you spell his name right - It's Gort not Gork and I am very sensitive about the spelling of my name. Afterall I have been typecasted since 1951 and have never gotten any more movie offers until 2008 but I had to work with Keanu Reeves - luckily I have a nuclear power supply and I don't require food or drink and I live in LA where the weather is pretty nice. Klaatu Barada Nikto

Heimdall222
Heimdall222

Those nice TechRepublic folks are on the ball. Spelling corrected! Klaatu Barada Neato

Skibum
Skibum

It's Klaatu Barada Necktie, and we're all doomed.

maj37
maj37

Not everyone. maj

Dr_Zinj
Dr_Zinj like.author.displayName 1 Like

planet: a material object who's self-gravitation pulls it into an oblate spheroid shape, and independently orbits a star. Moons orbit planets. Planets orbit stars. What do you call an object the size and composition of the Earth that doesn't orbit another planet or star, but floats free in the universe? Beats me. We'll come up with a term for it ifever and whenever we actually find one.

stevef61
stevef61

I personally like Bob. MIcrosoft isn't using it anymore...

maj37
maj37

I agree with you and others that Pluto is still a planet in my book, but I am not sure about your definition. Aren't most of the comets roughly sperical? maj

antares256
antares256

Not that I agree that Pluto should have been demoted, but Pluto doesn't fit the definition you placed in your post. As with any multiple body system in the same orbit, the barycenter (center of mass) of the system orbits around the center of mass of the solar system. In the Earth-Moon case, the barycenter of the system is ~1000 miles below the Earth's surface. In the Pluto-Charon-Hydra-Nix system, the barycenter is actually outside the surface of Pluto. So Pluto doesn't independently orbit our Sun. Pluto orbits around the barycenter, and the barycenter orbits around the Sun. See this for some more info on the Pluto system: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Moons_of_Pluto The big problem the IAU had was if you keep Pluto as a planet, you pretty much have to include Charon and several asteroids (Ceres, Vesta, etc). Then you end up with 12-13 planets and really mess up the mnemonic for learning the order of the planets. The answer to your question about what you call a planet that floats free in the universe: Rogue Planet

laurel861
laurel861

Pluto and Charon can be said to orbit the Sun as a binary system. The problem is, the IAU definition rules out the possiblity of any binary systems because by definition, planets in a binary system have not cleared their orbits of one another. Mnemonics are not an issue, and neither is memorization. We don't ask kids to memorize all the rivers on Earth or the 63 moons of Jupiter or all the elements in the Periodic Table. Most asteroids wouldn't be considered planets anyway. Ceres would, as it is not an asteroid because it is rounded by its own gravity. 19th century astronomers did not have telescopes powerful enough to resolve Ceres into a disk. Vesta and Pallas are borderline. If the solar system has 50 or 100 planets, then that is what it has. Artificially limiting the number for convenience has no scientific basis.