Top 5 merit badges for when you find 7 Earth-size planets 40 light years away

So astronomers have discovered seven Earth-size planets around a nearby star, huh?

We’re officially one step closer to finding extraterrestrial life — or picking out the next planet for humans once we’re sick of this one. Or both.

Either way, it’s likely Scouts will be involved. After all, at least two-thirds of all astronauts have been Scouts. Plus, those NASA scientists working on the Pluto mission that made headlines in 2015? Ten of them are Eagle Scouts.

I wanted to make a contribution to today’s scientific breakthrough. So I present to you my big discovery: this list of the five merit badges that come in handy when you find seven Earth-size planets only 40 light years away.

Disagree with my selections? Make your case in the comments.


Apparently these newly discovered planets are rocky — not all gaseous like Jupiter.

So when (not if) we make it to one, we’re going to want someone who has earned the Geology merit badge. Scouts with this one learn the origins and characteristics of rocks and minerals.

They even learn about fossils — handy if the life on these planets is of the past-tense variety. You dig?

Crime Prevention

Look, we don’t know what kind of bad guys might await on these potentially inhabitable planets.

Are they more Borg or Ewok? The point is we don’t know.

But Scouts who have earned the Crime Prevention merit badge are prepared to understand the role and value of laws in a society with regard to crime and crime prevention. They even learn how to protect themselves from crime when traveling.


We’ve seen their (potential) home. Now let’s hear the bleeps and blorps they call a voice.

Scouts who earn the Radio merit badge learn how to listen to and communicate with others over a variety of frequencies. There is nothing in the requirements that says this communication must be limited to Earth.

So let’s point an antenna at these planets and hear what they have to say.

Scuba Diving

The seven newly found planets could have liquid water. Which means the aliens, if they’re there, could live underwater. Which means we could use a trained scuba diver to go say hi.

Scouts who earn the Scuba Diving merit badge get open-water certification from a recognized organization. Better bring them on the trip.

Space Exploration

You say, “too obvious!”

I say, “I agree with you.”

But if I didn’t include the Space Exploration merit badge — with requirements about designing an inhabited base on another planet and telling how pictures of other planets are made and transmitted — I would be laughed out of Scouting.

Bonus 6th badge: Exploration

This one hadn’t yet been announced when I first posted this, but it deserves a spot on the list.

Exploration merit badge celebrates a Scout’s spirit of adventure, and there’s nothing more adventurous than exploring another solar system.

Others in the Top 5 merit badge series

For more Top 5 merit badge fun, click here.

Make your case

What would you add to this list? To add one, you must also tell which one you’d remove.


About Bryan Wendell 3281 Articles
Bryan Wendell, an Eagle Scout, is the founder of Bryan on Scouting and a contributing writer.