Iain M. Banks was not just an acclaimed sci-fi author: he fought in the final battle scene of Monty Python and the Holy Grail, he appeared on several albums, and his work also had a singular role in Wright/Pegg/Frost’s Hot Fuzz, as the preferred reading of both of Bill Bailey’s characters!
And now his legacy shall be carried beyond Earth, as an asteroid.
Writing in the wonderfully-named Daily Minor Planet, J.L. Galache describes being inspired by Mr. Banks’ work, particularly the Culture Series, which features the use of hollowed asteroids for space travel. This past June, following Banks’ passing, Mr. Galache won approval from the Committee for Small Body Nomenclature (CSBN) to name an asteroid after the author and on June 23, Asteroid 5099 became Asteroid Iainbanks.
Iainbanks is part of the Main Asteroid Belt of our solar system, between Mars and Jupiter, and is about 3.8 miles across. You can see Iainbanks’ official stats here, at the International Astronomical Union’s Minor Planet Center.
His orbit is charted out in this rough diagram. The blue circles are the orbits of the first five planets and the black circle is Iainbanks orbit around the sun.
Perhaps someday we shall see him out there?
Top image credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech/T. Pyle (SSC)