The impact of meteorites on science & fiction
The amount of meteor sightings and found meteorites has been rising since the middle of the 20st century. Spectacular events connected to meteorites happen aplenty. The media report – and fiction is inspired. We looked into this and collected stories from movies and books to examine them when juxtaposed with real meteorite discoveries.
How directly does reality influence fiction on a cultural level?
We placed the last 113 years of recorded meteorite findings at the focal point of our visualization, since this is the most relevant period in relation to science fiction literature and cinema.
Before 1900 meteorites where sighted and recorded in an irregular manner and, given the novelty of the technology that made it possible, cinema had yet to discover the theme for itself. This meant little to no useful data for us.
In order to pick only the most relevant entries out of the 45000+ in the database, we chose to only visualize the most famous meteorites, based on the number of Google hits each one corresponded to.
Google hits were determined through a search string in the form of "name_of_meteorite" + meteorite for meteorites and "title" + book/movie + "surname_author/director" for books and movies.
The primary data set comes from a challenge launched by Visualizing.org in collaboration with Free Structure. We asked ourselves how meteorites have influenced pop culture and wether there might be a way of measuring that influence. Se we started our research, looking for books and movies which told stories related to meteorites. To give us an overview of the data, we decided to compare all of the entries on the common ground of Google hits.
Visualizing.org - Meteorite Landings
The Meteoritical Society - Meteoritical Bulletin Database
Astronomical Society of the Pacific
Data collected about meteorites
Name, Continent, Country, Year, Fell or Found, Mass, Type, URL, Google hits
Data collected about books and movies
Title, Continent, Country, Year, Plot, Author/Director, URL, Google hits, Cover/poster/artwork