A World Moving Notion

Being a rookie science-fiction writer, and a long time reader of sciences in various disciplines, I have come across some goofy things from mainstream science types.

The concept of moving planets isn’t new to me. In fact I’m using that as a plot device in some of my short stories I post here occasionally.

And some of my favorite stories are about planets being moved. ‘Moving Mars’ by Greg Bear and ‘World Out Of Time’ by Larry Niven are a couple.

So it was without some trepidation I came across a recent article in New Scientist about moving the Earth into a wider orbit.

In about 1.1 billion years:

…in 1.1 billion years, the Sun will grow 11% brighter, raising average terrestrial temperatures to around 50 °C (120 °F). That will warm the oceans so much that they evaporate without boiling, like a pan of water left on a sunny kitchen counter.

Plants and animals will have a very tough time adapting to that hothouse, although some single-celled organisms called Archaea might survive. But only for a while. Once the water vapour is in the atmosphere, ultraviolet light from the Sun will split the water molecules, and the hydrogen needed to build living cells will slowly leak into space. If our descendants – or other intelligent life-forms that follow us – want to survive, they’ll have to migrate elsewhere. But where and how?

One approach would be to fire up rockets and move to another planet. Back in 1930, British science-fiction author Olaf Stapledon wrote about a future where our descendants fled to Venus, and later Neptune, when the Earth became uninhabitable. Eminent scientists such as Stephen Hawking have endorsed the idea of establishing colonies on the Moon or other planets so humanity would survive any disaster that wiped out life on Earth.

Yet evacuating all 6.7 billion Earthlings would take the equivalent of a billion space shuttle launches. Even if we could launch 1000 shuttles a day, it would still take 2700 years to move the whole planet’s population.

Then there’s the matter of taking care of people once they reached their new home. Moving to any other planet would require “terraforming” it to provide food, water and oxygen to support colonists. Why not bring our own planet along with the resources we would need?

Like I mentioned, moving planets isn’t hard for me to comprehend.

It’s the “In 1.1 billion years…” part that gives me pause.

For one thing, does Mr. Hecht believe that mankind will still be here, let alone be here virtually unchanged that many years into the future?

I believe as a thought exercise, the concept in the mainstream is worth contemplating. God knows these people need a boot in the arse of their imaginations more often than they do.

But moving Earth as they suggest, i.e., bringing in orbitting asteroids within 10,000 miles of the planet isn’t exactly too smart in my estimation. Although the solar sail concept sounds promising. But I would be leery of it floating off station into the much needed light and warmth!

Unplanned Ice Age anyone?

In closing however, I think whatever beings we become, or are at that time in the future, we should be able to save the mother world and move it to a safe location if we choose.

If there are no sentient beings here at that time, I guess it wouldn’t matter.

Nature will take its course.

The sad thing would be if other sapient beings evolve in that far future time only to discover their world will end in fire and flame before the Universe ever gets to hear their song.

Is there justice for them?

Moving the Earth: a planetary survival guide

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6 responses

  1. […] View post: A World Moving Notion […]

  2. Hi dad2059 et al. …

    Planetary terraforming and the moving of planets to bio-friendly orbits is the stuff of sci-fi; ie., nothing but “chewing gum” for the imagination.

    Actually the earth will become quite inhospitable within 350 million years and we as a species along with all supportive lifeforms have been living in a “sweet spot” of organic creation with reference to the evolution of the earth’s geosphere. We know reside in the middle of its “lifeform friendly curve”.

    In 350 million years the evaporative process of earth’s oceans will begin and long before the 1.1 billion year mark this will have become a parched, desertified planet.

    Mammalian lifeforms along with vegetation will have long since disappeared leaving only cynanobacteria as the remnanat surviors in the highly saline puddles of water and moist earth that may still be extant.

    Cyanobacteria have been around for at least 4 billion years.

    Certain flowers; ie., the lily family have been with us for at least “only” 140 million years.

    Mammalian species have been with us for no longer than 55 million years and humankind as a mammalian species has been around for a nominal 6 million years. We simply aren’t all that as a species.

    Rest assured we will have long been extinct as a species before the 1.1 billion year mark much less still around within the next 5 million years or 100 years for that matter based on the way the “planet of the chimps” are screwing up bigtime since they’ve discovered the “atom” and their mismanagement thereof…!

    I’ll post three interesting links concerning the longevity of species etc. We are as a “johnny come latelys” concerning the diorama of earths species. We may be sapient, but seemingly aren’t all that smart…!?

    http://www.madsci.org/posts/archives/oct2000/970670539.Ev.r.html
    http://www.news.harvard.edu/gazette/1999/12.16/angiosperms.html
    http://www.livescience.com/animals/070328_mammal_diversity.html

    Based on my research…the first shall be last; that being bacteria as the earth winks out in the orb of the expanding “red giant” …once known as our star Sol…!

    Carl Nemo **==

  3. Hi dad2059…

    I posted one that was three link intensive and it didn’t post. I think you and other folks will find the content interesting. Thanks for an assist.

    Carl Nemo **==

  4. Assist done Nemo.

    Maybe a truce between you and “Aski” would be in order, n’est pas?

    The planet moving hypothesis is just a thought exercise, especially when it’s mainstreamers doing the ‘thinking.’

    But at least they are thinking about it, which is what I’m giving them credit for.

    As for science-fiction, heavier-than-air and super-sonic flight, let alone moon landings were things of fantasy at one time.

    Here are some notable “fantasies” Nemo that have made the ‘Hall of Shame’:

    “Everything that can be invented – has already been invented,” – Mr. Charles Duell, United States Patent Office, 1899.

    That’s an amazing invention, but who would ever want to use one of them?” … President Rutherford B. Hayes in 1876, after Alexander Graham Bell demonstrated the telephone to him at the White House.

    “There is no likelihood man can ever tap the power of the atom,” … Robert Milken, Nobel Prize winner in physics, 1923

    “Heavier-than-air flying machines are impossible,” … Lord Kelvin, President Royal Society, 1895

    “Who the hell wants to watch movies with sound?” Who said this? Believe it or not, it was the president of Warner Brothers Studios, Harry Warner, sometime around 1918.

    Don’t be like Sean Connery in 1983 Nemo who had to say “Never Say Never Again!” 😉

  5. Thanks dad2059 for the “spankin’ ” concerning my presumed negativity. Actually I’m not that way, but am a pragmatist; ie., one who believes in focusing on that which is practical and practiceable with the resources at hand. It may not always be the optimum choice, but one that can be done with the resources at hand.

    Not only the U.S., but the world at large must become energy independent within their own national boundaries without the heavy reliance on energy sources being transported from afar from mostly nations that are hostile to the West and its values.

    We aren’t going to Mars much less moving it to an earth friendly orbit because earthmen have foolishly wasted their capital resources on useless Madison Avenue hyped pulltoys as well as MIC “killtoys” …!

    The entire planetary financial paradigm “IS” collapsing and there’s nothing the scamsters that have gotten us into this fix can do about it. In fact the more tinkering they do with the capital markets the more grief they cause.

    We surely aren’t going to build hyperspatial vehicles or move planets via a system of ‘barter’… :))

    We’re headed back to down home times of beatin’ drums, dancin’ around the campfire, sacrificing goats and enjoyin’ our “wimmin” under the moonlight as in olden times… 😀

    Carl Nemo **==

  6. We’re headed back to down home times of beatin’ drums, dancin’ around the campfire, sacrificing goats and enjoyin’ our “wimmin” under the moonlight as in olden times…

    I think Highwayman would agree with you Nemo, except for the goat sacrificing part! LOL!

    The Eden myth is the longing and memory of a simpler time when men worshipped mother earth, hunted the bear, bison, deer and yes, goat by the light of the varying phases of the Moon.

    Agriculture, towns, cities, patriarchal gods with their warfare is a continuing trauma upon our psyche.

    Hopefully, the next paradigm we’re entering into will allieviate the traumas and not increase them!

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