Changes

(E-Book - Graphic Novel by Megan Jorgensen)

Prologue

Planet X or Nibiru, comet Elenin (although according to Atkinson (2011) and other sources, it was hit by a mysterious force and consequently, spontaneously disintegrated, while NASA reassures the public that the ice and debris lump poses no threat to the human race), all on their course to collision with Earth; the Mayan calendar ending in December 2012 (a movie by the same name, 2012, showcases the catastrophic events that would ensue); a second (hidden) sun in our Solar System which is due to come back… predictions abound. Given the 2012 phenomenon, as Wikipedia defines it, it is only normal that people think about apocalyptic scenarios. Tons of books have been written and many movies filmed on the end of days subject, including Lars von Trier's Melancholia with Kirsten Dunst, which according to the Danish filmmaker is more about depression than about the end of the world. {Spoiler alert!} - when planets do collide, all hypothetical, theoretical or real life on both ceases to exist in a matter of minutes (UCLA, 2008).

Throughout history, most civilizations believed that their time was the culmination of time, at least at some point. Some (hapsalas.blogspot.com) have even proposed that perhaps life on Earth is cyclical, a suggestion plausible, given such facts as the Ice Ages and the disappearance of the dinosaurs and megafauna in general. After all, catastrophic events leading to extinction are common place on a geological timescale (Geological Society of America, 2011). [As a brief side note, during the Pleistocene, there was a giant koala, although it was really just a little bigger than the current inhabitant of Australia).

intergalactic life

Intergalactic life - artist's impression (fictional). Image: Megan Jorgensen

References:

  • Atkinson, N. (2011). "Comet Elenin Could Be Disitegrating." Universe Today. Web 17 Oct. 2011.
  • Geological Society of America. "Astrophysics and extinctions: News about planet-threatening events." ScienceDaily, 7 Oct. 2011. Web. 17 Oct. 2011.
  • Jet Propulsion Laboratory: California Institute of Technology. "Comet Elenin Poses No Threat to Earth." NASA, 16 Aug. 2011. Web 17 Oct. 2011.
  • University of California - Los Angeles. "Two Planets Suffer Violent Collision." ScienceDaily, 24 Sep. 2008. Web. 17 Oct. 2011.

CHANGES

Preface

While no one knows for certain, it seems better to remain optimistic, and definitely, skeptical. Along these lines, the following short e-book is completely fictional (aside from well known, real world and scientific facts, such as gravity, atmospheric conditions, etc., and the Youtube Space Lab experiment, although its purpose was altered in the present essay) - a short science-fiction story inspired by all these doomsday predictions.

Chapter 1 (The first chapter is in animated form. One sentence summary: basically, a comet is on direct path to collision to planet Earth. In the original version, the object in question was akin to a very small black hole, but due to scientific properties, and for simplicity purposes, was replaced with the icy and rocky formation):

Author: Megan Jorgensen

Chapter 2 Panic was rampant. Still, the good part was that after the initial despair passed, at least for some, humanity found a never before seen solidarity. After all, this time, the problem did in fact concern everybody. No exceptions. Even those capable of affording a flight into space would hardly be able to find an appropriate, close enough planet capable to sustain life, and even then, civilization would have to be reconstructed from zero. Thus, since life on reachable planets is unsustainable, even moving to other planets by those of means was unattainable. Privileges aside, all had to try to come up with a solution to the problem. And all did, starting with the Youtube Space Lab experiments.

Chapter 3 : After sifting though millions of suggestions, using software and other technologies, a conclusion was reached. The best option was to relocate, but with a twist. Instead of moving the whole world population, the home planet would serve as a vessel. The Scientists agreed: the Earth needed to be moved out of the path of the approaching object; the object was too big to destroy.

Moving the Earth using all available energy sources on Earth was deemed possible, but another problem arose. Given the relationship between the Sun and the Earth’s masses, it would be pulled right back into orbit by the star. An alternative was proposed: to push the Earth far enough so that it entered Jupiter’s gravitational field. The moon is 4 times smaller than our planet, while the third planet from the Sun is 1200 times smaller than Jupiter. Further, the moon has 1/80th mass of Earth's mass, while Earth has 1/368 that of Jupiter. The relationships should suffice for our home stellar body to be 'caught' in an orbit around the gas giant. But how would one make sure the Earth retains its atmosphere? Would it remain in place or be torn away by the move? If not, was sufficient artificial air a possibility?

rearrangement celestial objects

The resulting (hypothetical and fictional) rearrangement of celestial objects. The Earth and the Moon (dragged along) are now next to Jupiter. Venus, Mars and the Asteroid Belt remained in their respective places. One of the Galilean moons of Jupiter (out of 64!) - Io - is also illustrated. The others were equally named after Zeus' lovers, thus Callisto, Ganymede and Europa. Image: Copyright  © Megan Jorgensen

Epilogue

The move was successful; the Earth was now in orbit of Jupiter. Sure, the year was no longer 65 days, and the climate changed, and of course one side of the planet was now perpetually not only in the dark (well, as the moon long before), but also looking at a huge red planet instead of the sky interspersed with stars. Clearly, since stars could only be seen during the day, when they are pretty much invisible, stargazing had disappeared from human culture for many generations to come.

The End

Note: Also, is it theoretically true that a propulsion of the sort can be generated given present day technology, or even future technology as long as it makes sense. For example Einstein’s Special Theory of Relativity (STR) states that no particles can travel faster than light (despite claims to the contrary, such as the CERN neutrinos). Laws of physics must be adhered to. Nonetheless, science fiction writers and filmmakers often bend the rules, such as with Warp speed used in the Star Trek franchise and at least one other work, although that technique takes advantage of the idea that bending space would indeed result in travel at faster speed than that of light.

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