The Boy Who Lived On A Space Rock

The little prince, standing on his asteroid.
The little prince, standing on his asteroid.

An asteroid in our solar system is named after the home of the little hero of Antoine de Saint-Exupéry’s novella, “The Little Prince,” published in 1943.

Bésixdouze (French for B-612, pronounced: be-sis-duz) is just over a mile wide, quite in keeping with the size of its literary namesake, which was no bigger than a house.

In the story, B-612 was observed in 1909 by a Turkish astronomer, but when he reported his discovery at an astronomical meeting, no one believed him merely because he wore a Turkish costume and a fez.

In the meanwhile, one day, a reflective little extraterrestrial took off from this world and ended up on ours. En route to Earth, he traveled to six other planets. His fifth destination was the smallest of them all and also the quirkiest.

Its only inhabitant is the lamplighter, whose task is to light the streetlamp when day breaks and to extinguish it when darkness falls. But in a world so tiny, where the Sun rises and sets every 60 seconds, his job can feel like a punishment. No sooner than he’s lit it, it’s time to put it out again.


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