The Earth's Mightiest Heroes officially make the jump from the Marvel Universe to a celestial body, as NASA has named two of its 21 new gamma-ray constellations after the Incredible Hulk and Thor -- specifically, the god of thunder's enchanted hammer Mjölnir.
The other 21 constellations include nods to Godzilla, The Little Prince, the U.S.S. Enterprise from Star Trek, and the TARDIS from Doctor Who.
NASA is commemorating the 10th anniversary of the agency's Fermi Gamma-ray Space Telescope, acquired on June 11, 2008 in partnership with France, Italy, Germany, Japan, Sweden, and the United States Department of Energy. The Fermi Gamma-ray Space Telescope, also known as the Gamma-ray Large Area Space Telescope or GLAST, is used to detect and survey gamma-rays in outer space.
NASA defines gamma-rays as the "strongest form of light," powerful enough to convert into matter under the right circumstances. According to the space agency, two of its newest gamma-ray constellations were so aptly named because Bruce Banner was transformed by gamma radiation into the Hulk, while Godzilla's heat ray resembles fiery gamma-ray jets typically associated with black holes and neutron stars.
The explanation behind Mjölnir is tied more directly to the enchanted hammer's mythological roots, symbolizing the investigation of "Terrestrial Gamma-ray Flashes (TGFs) associated with lightning from thunderstorms on Earth."
All 21 constellations can be viewed on NASA's website, which features in-depth descriptions and an interactive map.