NASA is primarily a pioneering cosmic photographer and space researcher, but it’s also a Bethesda fan. At least, that’s what it seems after a short interaction between the American space agency and the official Starfield account on Twitter.
Professional astronomers and casual aficionados of impressive cosmic images were collectively impressed recently, after NASA published several striking color images of the James Webb Space Telescope. Starfield’s Twitter account was one of them, retweeting a photo that showed our distant universe in unprecedented detail.
NASA followed in kind and responded to the tweet with a link to the full gallery of images (opens in new tab), alongside an apt quote from an older Bethesda game. Even longtime fans of the studio have a hard time recognizing these:
“We once heard that ‘the sky is marked with countless sparks, each a fire and each a sign,'” NASA tweeted (opens in new tab)followed by a wink emoji.
Space is beautiful. We can’t wait to see what’s out there… 🌌 #UnfoldTheUniverse https://t.co/HSr2U6wd0rJuly 12, 2022
NASA knows what it’s about
It’s definitely a deep cut. The line is said by Emperor Uriel Septim VII during the opening mission in The Elder Scrolls IV: Oblivion. After making your way through a series of underground tunnels to protect the Emperor from assassins, he stops to chat for a bit. That’s where the quote comes in.
“I’ve served the Nine all my days and I’m charting my course according to the cycles of the heavens,” Uriel tells the player. “The sky is marked with countless sparks, each a fire and each a sign. I know these stars well, and I wonder… which sign marked your birth?”
It serves as a useful sequel to the last part of Oblivion’s character creation menu, as you choose your character’s birth sign to gain new buffs and abilities. It’s also quite small, and is more of a passing comment than a beloved quote. Whoever runs NASA’s social media accounts must really like Oblivion.
It’s kind of strange to see NASA communicating with a video game studio. It’s not often that the worlds of federal space exploration and fantasy RPGs collide, but it’s quite fitting. Bethesda has previously said it has sparked ideas from contemporary space agencies to create Starfield, borrowing ideas from SpaceX to design the look and feel of the grounded sci-fi environment. It has also been previously described that the art direction of the game is “NASA-punk”. Maybe someday we’ll see Starfield play aboard the ISS.