I had a thought yesterday about the meteorite that hit middle Russia and the asteroid that flew by later that evening last Friday. Imagine we find out that an asteroid the size of the one that wiped out the dinosaurs was on a collision course with Earth. It would hit Earth in seven years’ time, we have roughly five years to figure out the plan to either destroy the asteroid or manoeuvre it out of our path. Instead of the usual way of imagining this catastrophic event, I thought how quickly humanity would put aside its differences, its petty fears, its misgivings, and all work as one, quickly and efficiently to find an answer that would prevent the end of the world, and the extinction of our species.
How far would humanity progress in those five years?
We would have to find a better solution for propelling objects into space. Improvement of fuel efficiency, find answers to questions at this time no one seems to be able to find answers too. We would need to spend our energies on improving the International Space Station, so it can handle many people working on space related solutions, in space. Many problems would need solving immediately, it would focus the greatest minds of this world, it would move us away from thinking of ourselves in a counterproductive way and everyone would have to work to solve the worst problem that humanity ever had to deal with.
I know we have seen plenty of films that show this kind of disaster, but this is not only an American catastrophe, it is a world one, and the world would have to work together to solve it. I would imagine many of the countries that at present cause the world more grief than their size or influence demands, will have to put their petty differences aside and think if they do not do this, they will die. It’s amazing how quickly one can put aside petty insignificant differences when you realise you are going to be dead if you do not act in a more mature and professional way.
It is hard to say how many improvements to society and life, as well as many other benefits to life that would come from solving such a problem. There would be a reason to make every effort to create artificial gravity in space. This may seem like a small benefit in the grand scheme of things, but imagine the advantages if we could create artificial gravity. If you have many people working in space, it has to be one of the top priorities so we can build the device to manoeuvre the asteroid away from our orbit. We would need to create a quick and efficient way to get into space. I know I have read about space elevators, if this were plausible, it would need to be a top priority. If not other means, we would need to invent quicker and cheaper ways to reach space, rather than solid fuel rockets; I bet we would have a solution in time.
As well as improvement on how to get to space and making a suitable space device to send to the asteroid, we would have to decide whether to make it a manned mission or not? We would also need to improve infrastructure on Earth. If all countries are finding solutions, we need a quick and efficient way to move everything to the launch sites or elevators. Greed and profit would have to take a back seat and any hidden patents that perhaps will help in creating let us say better energy solutions, so that fossil fuels would become redundant. We would need to seize them immediately to help solve these problems.
The way the world works would have to chance for at least the time until we have either destroyed the asteroid or moved it. Large companies would have to change their ways from making many useless consumer goods to putting their collective knowledge to help stopping the asteroid from killing us all. What is the point in making profit if we are all going to be dead in seven years?
I believe we could do this, stop an asteroid from hitting Earth if we had five years to solve the problem. The reason I say five years and not seven is because I feel you would need probably two years to send the device to where the asteroid is in space, waiting until the last minute should not be plan A, that should be plan Z. In a strange way, being so close to disaster might be the best thing that could happen to this planet, to the human population. Yes, there would be the doomsayers, the ones who will not help and think it is the end of days, but I think most people want to live, whatever they may say. Humanity wants to have a reason to survive, and finding out humanity is seven years from extinction would be a massive incentive to work hard to solve the multitude of problems we would encounter.
Now I think about it, we subconsciously and sometimes deliberately try to create doom events that perhaps will springboard humanity onwards to another level. Climate change is an example of this, the war on terror is another, and its antithesis the religious fundamental terrorists themselves. Nuclear weapons and the impact it may have on the world is a major doom event. Probably the greatest doom event so far has been the Second World War, though this was not a subconscious attempt to improve society, it had a massive effect on society, not just in the devastation it caused, but also the many improvements, inventions, the progression forward humanity made. Our attempts to cause doom across the world are not attempts to improve society directly, but sometimes they do have that effect. However, they are small or not seen as a definite problem or issue that will cause total destruction. An asteroid hitting Earth would have that effect destruction would be inevitable unless we solved the problem of moving it.
Perhaps this is a heartless way to look at things, but I see it as trying to see the positive in bad or catastrophic situations. Not to think, oh god this is the end we are all going to die, instead to think no we are human beings with amazing gifts, we have the ability and the resolve, the ingenuity and courage to work together to solve the greatest catastrophe to ever befall our planet in our era. Its just a shame we need some kind of catastrophe to have this sort of affect.
Imagine Hollywood making a film about that, instead of a wildly inaccurate film like Armageddon, to make a film or series about how we found a way too effectively move an asteroid, the brains a skill behind it. No one would watch it because it would seem boring, unless it actually happened, as even if Hollywood did make it, it would still be wildly inaccurate. We can never fully know what we would discover because of our human genius.