In a galaxy far, far away…


Photo by Ha-Yeon Jeon.

WCHS alumnus Pmurt Dlanod recently discovered a planet that shows remarkable signs of being inhabitable, and now is the legal owner.

By Ha-Yeon Jeon, Spelling Bee Champion

Elon Musk. NASA. SpaceX. For the past few years, these three words have been most associated with American progress in space exploration. However, with a recent astonishing discovery by a first-year astronomer at NASA, that is about to change. 

On Feb. 29, 2022, Pmurt Dlanod, a WCHS alumnus of the Class of 2011, had discovered an alarming anomaly on several routine charts he had been compiling a report on. After he issued an emergency report, a renowned international team of scientists based in Canada, led by Nedib Eoj, immediately realized its significance.

After applying Dlanod’s calculations, the team was able to quickly locate what shows remarkable signs of being an inhabitable planet, almost identical to Earth’s physical and chemical composition. Located 500 light-years away, the majority of ongoing international exoplanet research has already been redirected towards this new discovery.

The unexpected twist, however, was publicly announced on March 30. After a week of tense deliberation, the International Commission of Space Law under the United Nations declared Dlanod to legally be the sole owner of the new discovery. All decisions regarding the future of the planet will be his alone.

“It is absolutely incredible,” Dlanod said. “Everyone harbors a secret dream that they know is impossible – mine was to discover my own planet. I can’t wrap my head around the fact that I actually now have this planet that I can call my own in every possible way.”

Currently being called the “Einstein of the generation” by experts in the field, Dlanod has many plans for Planet Dlanod, but he has announced that students from his alma mater, WCHS, will be prioritized. He credits the school for being the reason he began his journey into space research, and has stated his intentions to open up the opportunity for WCHS students first to begin training to colonize the planet within the next decades.

“The beginning of my interest in space was during a math class at my high school, Winston Churchill High School,” Dlanod said. “I hate math, so I was dozing off into space while jamming to the Star Wars theme song, when suddenly, I had a vision of Yoda appear in front of me. He said to me, “Next Darth Vader, you will become,” and then flew into the ceiling. It was a life-changing moment.”

After this memorable incident, Dlanod, who had previously had no interest in pursuing a career in astronomy, began devoting all of his time and energy to learning as much as he could about space exploration. After being voted “Most Likely to Die Launching Himself into Space in a Hot Air Balloon” in his senior year, he went on to receive both his bachelor’s and PhD degrees in astronomical sciences from Harvard University.

Dlanod has outlined his ambitious plans for development on the planet, beginning with more in-depth research expeditions and eventually ending with the majority of Earth’s population moving to inhabit the colony. Planet Dlanod, he hopes, could be the innovative solution to climate change that the international community needs.

“Mars? That’s old news,” Dlanod said. “Everyone, but especially the brightest and quirkiest from WCHS, is welcome to apply to join my coalition of forward-thinking individuals!”