Dr. Jackie Faherty analyzes brown dwarfs and their movements. They are not strictly stars or planets, but something intermediate, indefinite, and invisible to the human eye. We could say that they have a flexible and constantly shifting identity.
Science is the product of human labor. Everything we know about the planets is a built construct. Dr. Lisa Messeri studies people whose work is science and technology, and how what they create impacts on our way of understanding and inhabiting the world. Her concept of “planetary imagination” is a way of addressing what is not conveyed in scientific papers: the intangible ways in which scientists understand planets, what other researchers might call “a structure of feeling.”
In the last scene, the scientist converses with her data:
— Scientist: Knowing things like this expands our universe but at the same time
makes it smaller; things seem more knowable and more intimate.
— Data: It pleases me to be a pathway to a more intimate universe.