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Tom Hanks on why he wants to live on the asteroid named after him

Tom Hanks on why he wants to live on the asteroid named after him

Who knew he'd been given such an interplanetary honor?

He's won multiple Oscars and been awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom, but one of Tom Hanks' coolest accolades is undoubtedly having an asteroid named after him.

12818 Tomhanks was discovered back in 1996 by University of Arizona astronomer Joseph L. Montani, but Hanks is only partially aware of the interplanetary honor.

"I had heard rumors about that - but honestly, there must be an anomaly in the vote-taking process if I got something," the Forrest Gump and Toy Story actor told UNILAD Tech.

Despite this, Hanks seemed low-key thrilled about having an asteroid named after him, and asked: "Does that mean I can move there? I can live there rent-free? That would be lovely!"

It's not a huge shock that an astronomer chose Hanks, as the actor has a long relationship with space. He has previously played astronaut Captain Jim Lovell in Apollo 13, served on the board of governors of the National Space Society and been honored by the Space Foundation - now, he's narrating an experience called The Moonwalkers: A Journey with Tom Hanks - which tells of missions to the moon - at London’s Lightroom.

"I think it was in honor of Tom's efforts throughout his career to really promote human spaceflight and space exploration as a really positive, powerful endeavour," said Christopher Riley, who co-wrote the experience with Hanks, bringing the Apollo missions to life.

Tom Hanks has a long obsession with space.
Dave Benett / Contributor / Getty Images

Hanks still seems to be completely obsessed with space - and is particularly excited about future explorations. And no, it doesn't seem like he's in the same boat as billionaires like Elon Musk or Jeff Bezos, who have set up companies to go to space - and presumably want to make money from it.

"We went to the moon on the shoulders of giants, the next generation is going to be doing on the shoulders of those very giants," Hanks said.

"And we can all do it now together - there's no race, no one's gonna get rich. There's nothing to be claimed in it. The only thing that's going to come out of it is greater knowledge for all of humankind that is going to make a huge difference in probably even just the way you and I take out our garbage and grow our food for the rest of time, because of what we're figuring out with every step that we take going back to the moon."

Hanks was joined by the Artemis 2 crew, who are going to the moon next year.
Dave Benett / Contributor / Getty Images

One thing he's particularly pumped about? Representation in outer space.

"Are you ready for this? This is big," he asked excitably.

"Sometime within the next, let's be charitable, three to four years... the first woman is going to step foot on the surface of the moon, as well as the first non-white American male. That is as equal and evolutionary place for humankind as Neil Armstrong was in 1960.”

It seems like Hanks' obsession is because he "came of age when humankind became a space-faring species," he said.

"We now go into space - so on the one hand, it's commonplace. But on the other hand, it is an endless frontier up there, that is loaded with great mysteries, treasures - it's going to be one of the greatest puzzles that everybody gets to work on solving for generations."

Featured Image Credit: Credit: Dave Benett / Contributor / Getty