In an article by Ray Villard on discovery.com, he has dicussed the issue of large moons orbiting planets and whether they should themselves be considered satellite planets. Th following is an excerpt:
The blockbuster science fiction film "Avatar" introduced the public to the idea that a moon could be more than just rocks and craters. The imaginary moon Pandora, orbiting a gas giant planet in the Alpha Centauri system, is a veritable paradise with lush forests and a rich diversity of life. If the film's writer/producer James Cameron had consulted with Pluto researcher Alan Stern he might have even introduced a new term to sci-fi audiences: Satellite Planet.
Although James Cameron did not necessarily introduce "the idea that a moon could be more than just rocks and craters" to many (for example, Return of the Jedi had the forest moon of Endor), Avatar probably did introduce the idea to a lot of younger people. For more on science in the fictional content and the production of Avatar, see the previous Cinema and Fiction post Science and making Avatar.
Setting stories for cinema and fiction away from Earth can bring aspects of human nature to the foreground as people adapt to circumstances that are different to those commonly faced sharing the Earth with billions of people and the myriad impacts of historical developments which go along with that.
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