Trappist-1 — a story by Evelyn Chen

One City One Story 2017 Writing Contest

3rd place

Elementary School category

Evelyn Chen

Grade 5, Eugene Field Elementary School


Summary: Seven new planets were discovered outside our solar system, and they are populated with inhabitants.


On February 22, 2017, NASA discovered seven new exoplanets 40 light years away. The people who discovered them thought that the planets could hold water, and therefore support life. Little did they know that there were already people on the planets.

On planet C, the Gorglon family prepared to leave their summer home and return to their home planet, D. There were five people: !, the father, @, the mother, #, the older child, and %, the younger child. There was also *, who was the dog. After # checked the house, everyone got into the Gorglon TravelMobile. Then they started the short flight home.

40 light years away, Nadia Lee got into the car with her dad. It was 9 AM on Take Our Daughters and Sons to Work Day, and they were headed for the NASA JPL in La Cañada, California. Mr. Lee was a NASA astronomer. He was part of the team that had discovered Trappist-1.

At work, Mr. Lee let Nadia peek inside the humongous telescope they had discovered the Trappist-1 with when Mr. Lee’s boss took a break. Nadia was fascinated. She took pictures of the different planets whenever possible.

When they arrived home, Nadia showed her Trappist-1 photos to her baby brother, Oliver, especially C and D, her favorites. But as she switched between two photos, she noticed something.  In the 1st photo, there was a white speck ¼ of the way between C and D. In the 2nd one, it was halfway. She showed Mr. Lee and asked him what it was. He replied, “It’s probably just an asteroid or something. Nadia, dinner’s almost ready.” He didn’t look up from his computer.

Thump! The Gorglon’s TravelMobile landed on D. ! and @ started unloading their luggage while # and % unlocked the door of the house. * helped by carrying his food dish. Once they settled down, % grabbed his hi-tech binoculars (capable of seeing 50 light years away) and scanned eArtH PLaneT in case any people had spotted them because now eArtH PLanet humans knew about Trappist-1. eArtH PLanet was a planet not very far away (40 light years was like 40 miles to Trappist-1 people) that orbited a star called sUn. Suddenly, %’s binoculars turned red. The small screen on the side stated:




% alerted !, @, and #. The Gorglons immediately began getting ready for a trip to D Headquarters to report this incident, leaving * behind.

The next day at school, Nadia told her friends Ashley and Teresa about the speck and invited them to her house to see the photo after school. They were interested too, and the three of them discussed what the speck could be, coming up with many funny ideas. After her friends left, Nadia took a walk in the forest near her house. When it started to get dark, she headed home, but she tripped over something hard in the ground. It was an old pipe. Nadia wondered what it was and wanted to find out, so she took a shovel from the garage and dug it up. When she finished, a dirty sled stood before her. Nadia sat in the seat and noticed some buttons in front of her. She cleaned one with her sleeve and read: Space Travel. Another one stated: Time Travel. She pressed Space Travel to see what would happen. Nothing did. But then everything turned black, and when it got light again, she was in a spaceship, lost in the middle of the universe.

When the Gorglons finished telling D Headquarters about the eArtH PLanet human seeing their TravelMobile, their next stop was eArtH. Trappist law said that any eArtH human who saw evidence that there were people on Trappist-1 had to be taken to Trappist-1, so the Gorglons were fetching the human. % inspected the area around sUn. His binoculars detected a TravelMobile made on eArtH, floating towards pLuTO.

0.000624 light years away from Planet Earth, Nadia was trying to steer the spaceship. Finally, after 20 attempts, she gave up. Nadia used the spaceship’s ‘glasses’ to study space. It wasn’t a long time until she spotted the same white speck on the picture she took at JPL. She tried without success to turn the ship towards the speck. Suddenly, someone knocked on the door.

!, @, and % sent # to explain everything to the human from eArtH PLanet wandering around in space. When the human’s TravelMobile door opened, # stepped in and saw a girl trying to navigate the spaceship. # introduced herself to Nadia and explained everything. # thought that Nadia would say “Sure, since I can’t go back to eArtH because I can’t steer.” But Nadia told # that she had a family on ‘Earth’ and needed to go back. So, # told ! and @ through a TrappistPhone. ! and @ agreed to take Nadia back to eArtH, but not before checking with D Headquarters. So no Lees got caught in outer space again because they knew they had friends outside of Earth. Also, they lived happily ever after.

To view the list of the contest winners:  OCOS 2017 The Traveler Contest Winners

Jane Gov

Jane is a Youth Services Librarian at Pasadena Central Library. She purchases YA books for the library system and maintains the teen booklist, online resources, and webpages. She oversees Teen & YA programs including Summer Reading, Advisory Board, Zine, book reviewers, Teen Mental Health Initiative, and volunteers. She also coordinates the library's Innovation Lab, STEAM Kits project, and Young Readers League. She also conducts a few kids events and storytimes. Jane is a contributor to VOYA Magazine and a YALSA Board member.  A majority of her free time is spent with her two corgis Tyrion and Gimli. She tweets as @missjanegov.

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