The Orion Nebula (also known as Messier 42, M42, or NGC 1976) is a diffuse nebula situated south of Orion's Belt. It is one of the brightest nebulae, and is visible to the naked eye in the night sky. M42 is located at a distance of 1,344 ± 20 light years and is the closest region of massive star formation to Earth. The M42 nebula is estimated to be 24 light years across.
Orion Nebula in "Herbig-Haro"
The Loki Salvage Service sent scout ships throughout space exploring planetary systems previously held by the Terran Confederacy and salvaging technical and scientific knowledge from any ruins that were discovered. Eventually scouts explored past the farthest extent of the Confederacy including the other side of the Orion Nebula. Four such scout ships were lost, and Erasmus Chang was ordered to discover what had happened to them.