On Jørn, Hero’s world, people live in vast floating cities, far out of reach of an airborne toxin known as Pollen. Pollen is only toxic to humans, leaving much of the planet unexplored and its surface teeming with all sorts of weird and wonderful wildlife.
For Hero, being a xenozoologist and going down to the surface to see and study that wildlife seems like the culmination of a dream, even if she does have to be bundled up in an envrio-suit to do it.
In the real world
…zoologists don’t just work in zoos. They’re biologists who specialise in the study of animals, and many documentaries are based on their work (David Attenborough studied zoology, although he never took it up as a career). Famous zoologists include Dian Fossey, about whom the film Gorillas in the Mist was made, and Steve Irwin.
…isn’t just about animals from other planets, it’s about lifeforms that are radically different from us (eg. non-carbon-based). Such lifeforms are mostly found in science fiction, but late in 2010 a group of scientists announced the discovery of an arsenic-based bacteria in the waters of Mono Lake, California.