Earlier this week NASA announced that they have discovered 7 Earth-sized planets floating around a sun called Trappist – 1 roughly 39 light years away. Of those seven planets, three of them are in the habitable range and could have liquid water. They even have a website put together for the announcement. Part of the announcement included a description of Trappist-1 as a cool red dwarf star or dim red sun.
If you announce a new series of planets, then people want to give them names. Trappist-1e is not a sexy name for a planet. I've seen a lot of suggestions, one of them naming the planets after the characters in Firefly. But the most suggested name seems to be Krypton. A potentially habitable planet circling a red sun… how could that not be the suggestion? But before anyone tries to dub Trappist-1e the home world of Superman, we should probably stop and think about it for a few minutes.
Krypton blew up!
Seriously, there are certain things you just don't do. You don't name a ship The Titanic, you don't name an airplane Icarus and you don't name a planet Krypton. That's just asking for trouble. We shouldn't name it Alderaan either. If we want to name them after science fiction created planets, there are enough out there that would work that don't end in galactic size explosions. How about Magrathea (Hitchhikers Guide to the Galaxy), Terminus (Foundation series), Arrakis (Dune), Tertius (Time Enough For Love), Gethen (The Left Hand of Darkness), or Botany (Freedom series) and the list goes on and on.
Or, since it is called Trappist-1, maybe we call one of the planets Akbar… that seems appropriate. Let's just stay away from naming the planets after the ones that have disastrous endings.