Monday, March 7, 2011

Venusforming‭ ‬Earth

There‭ ‬are‭ ‬microbes‭ ‬that‭ ‬exist‭ ‬in‭ ‬200+‭ ‬degree‭ ‬temperatures‭ ‬in‭ ‬sea‭ ‬volcanoes‭ ‬here‭ ‬on‭ ‬Earth,‭ ‬so‭ ‬it‭'‬s‭ ‬not‭ ‬unthinkable‭ ‬that‭ ‬something‭'‬s‭ ‬alive‭ ‬on‭ ‬Venus.‭ ‬But‭ ‬if‭ ‬it‭ ‬is‭ ‬alive,‭ ‬it‭'‬s‭ ‬definitely‭ ‬different‭ ‬than‭ ‬us.

If‭ ‬there‭ ‬were‭ ‬life‭ ‬on‭ ‬Venus,‭ ‬then‭ ‬it‭ ‬would‭ ‬have‭ ‬to‭ ‬survive‭ ‬in‭ ‬the‭ ‬tough‭ ‬Venusian‭ ‬environment.

Venus‭ ‬is‭ ‬completely‭ ‬uninhabitable‭ ‬for‭ ‬us‭ ‬humans,‭ ‬for‭ ‬a‭ ‬few‭ ‬reasons.
  • Days ‏on‭ ‬Venus‭ ‬last‭ ‬243‭ ‬days,‭ ‬meaning‭ ‬nights‭ ‬would‭ ‬be‭ ‬worse‭ ‬than‭ ‬winters‭ ‬in‭ ‬Alaska
  • There‎'‏s‭ ‬no‭ ‬magnetic‭ ‬field‭ ‬on‭ ‬Venus,‭ ‬so‭ ‬your‭ ‬compass‭ ‬wouldn‭'‬t‭ ‬work,‭ ‬plus‭ ‬you‭'‬d‭ ‬get‭ ‬radiated‭ ‬to‭ ‬death‭ ‬by‭ ‬solar‭ ‬flares‭ ‬a‭ ‬few‭ ‬times‭ ‬a‭ ‬month
  • The‎ ‏atmosphere‭ ‬is‭ ‬96%‭ ‬carbon‭ ‬dioxide‭ ‬and‭ ‬about‭ ‬0%‭ ‬oxygen,‭ ‬so‭ ‬you‭ ‬couldn‭'‬t‭ ‬breathe
  • The atmospheric pressure on the surface of Venus is 90 times more than earth (90 atms), so you'd be crushed to death just by the air
  • Oh,‎ ‏and‭ ‬it‭'‬s‭ ‬over‭ ‬400‭ ‬degrees‭ ‬there.‭ ‬So‭ ‬your‭ ‬egg‭ ‬would‭ ‬fry‭ ‬before‭ ‬you‭ ‬could‭ ‬crack‭ ‬it,‭ ‬which‭ ‬means‭ ‬you‭ ‬could‭ ‬only‭ ‬get‭ ‬hard-boiled‭ ‬eggs‭ ‬on‭ ‬Venus.‭ ‬Plus‭ ‬you‭ ‬would‭ ‬melt‭ ‬like‭ ‬a‭ ‬marshmallow‭ ‬in‭ ‬a‭ ‬microwave.
This gave me an idea for what I think would be an interesting story, so fast‭ ‬forward‭ ‬to:

March‭ ‬2015:‭ ‬Scientists‭ ‬discover‭ ‬a‭ ‬ginormous‭ ‬asteroid‭ ‬about‭ ‬as‭ ‬far‭ ‬away‭ ‬from the Earth as‭ ‬Jupiter is,‭ ‬but it's headed‭ ‬directly‭ ‬toward‭ ‬Venus.‭ ‬It‭ ‬will‭ ‬pass‭ ‬by‭ ‬far‭ ‬from‭ ‬earth,‭ ‬but‭ ‬it‭ ‬appears‭ ‬that‭ ‬it‭'‬s‭ ‬headed‭ ‬on‭ ‬a‭ ‬direct‭ ‬collision‭ ‬course‭ ‬with‭ ‬Venus.‭ ‬Most‭ ‬news‭ ‬stories‭ ‬focus‭ ‬on‭ ‬whether‭ ‬or‭ ‬not‭ ‬the‭ ‬resulting‭ ‬Venusian‭ ‬dust‭ ‬cloud‭ ‬from‭ ‬the Venus‭ ‬impact‭ ‬will‭ ‬affect‭ ‬Earth,‭ even though the‭ ‬projected‭ ‬path‭ ‬of‭ ‬the‭ ‬asteroid‭ ‬is‭ ‬far‭ ‬from‭ ‬Earth.‭ ‬Some‭ ‬enviro-friendly‭ ‬people‭ ‬suggest‭ ‬that‭ ‬we‭ ‬do‭ ‬something‭ ‬to‭ ‬alter‭ ‬the‭ ‬course‭ ‬of‭ ‬the‭ ‬asteroid,‭ ‬but‭ ‬the‭ ‬President‭ ‬of‭ ‬the‭ ‬US‭ ‬announces‭ ‬that‭ ‬we‭ ‬won‭'‬t‭ ‬do‭ ‬anything‭ ‬about‭ ‬it,‭ ‬because‭ ‬it‭ ‬won‭'‬t‭ ‬impact‭ ‬earth‭ ‬and‭ ‬it‭ ‬would‭ ‬be‭ ‬too‭ ‬expensive‭ ‬to‭ ‬do‭ ‬something‭.‭  (‬This‭ ‬shows‭ ‬that‭ ‬we‭ ‬humans‭ ‬are‭ ‬insensitive‭ ‬to‭ ‬stuff‭ ‬that‭ ‬doesn‭'‬t‭ ‬affect‭ ‬us.‭)

November,‭ ‬2015: (six months later)‭ ‬A‭ ‬few‭ ‬weeks‭ ‬before‭ ‬impact‭ ‬with‭ ‬Venus,‭ ‬the‭ ‬asteroid‭ ‬starts‭ ‬reacting‭ ‬to‭ ‬what‭ ‬seems‭ ‬to‭ ‬be‭ ‬an‭ ‬anti-gravitational‭ ‬or‭ ‬magnetic‭ ‬force‭ ‬emanating‭ ‬from‭ ‬the‭ ‬Venus.‭ ‬The‭ ‬planet‭ ‬Venus‭ ‬appears‭ ‬to‭ ‬be‭ ‬magnetically‭ ‬affecting‭ ‬the‭ ‬asteroid.‭ ‬This‭ ‬is‭ ‬somewhat‭ ‬ironic,‭ ‬since‭ ‬Venus‭ ‬doesn‭'‬t‭ ‬have‭ ‬magnetic‭ ‬poles,‭ ‬like‭ ‬Earth.‭ ‬The‭ ‬asteroid‭ ‬barely‭ ‬clears‭ ‬Venus,‭ ‬skimming‭ ‬its‭ ‬atmosphere,‭ ‬and‭ ‬unexpectedly‭ ‬hurls‭ ‬back,‭ ‬directly‭ ‬toward‭ ‬earth.‭

This‭ ‬time,‭ ‬we‭ ‬do‭ ‬everything‭ ‬possible‭ ‬to‭ ‬stop‭ ‬the‭ ‬asteroid.‭ ‬Scientists‭ ‬project‭ ‬it‭ ‬will‭ ‬land‭ ‬on‭ ‬Los‭ ‬Angeles,‭ ‬and‭ ‬this‭ ‬will‭ ‬be‭ ‬a‭ ‬dinosaur-extinction-level‭ ‬asteroid‭ ‬disaster.

January,‭ ‬2016: (two months later)‭ ‬Everything‭ ‬we‭ ‬shoot‭ ‬at‭ ‬the‭ ‬asteroid‭ ‬gets‭ ‬deflected‭ ‬around‭ ‬it.‭ ‬We‭ ‬try‭ ‬a‭ ‬bunch‭ ‬of‭ ‬stuff,‭ ‬like‭ ‬in‭ ‬that‭ ‬movie,‭ ‬but‭ ‬we‭'‬re‭ ‬thwarted‭ ‬at‭ ‬every‭ ‬turn,‭ ‬by‭ ‬what‭ ‬seems‭ ‬to‭ ‬be‭ ‬an‭ ‬invisible‭ ‬force‭ ‬emanating‭ ‬from‭ ‬the‭ ‬asteroid.‭ ‬The‭ ‬asteroid‭ ‬starts‭ ‬gradually‭ ‬changing‭ ‬its‭ ‬course,‭ ‬so‭ ‬that‭ ‬the‭ ‬new‭ ‬projected‭ ‬impact‭ ‬point‭ ‬is‭ ‬anywhere‭ ‬between‭ ‬LA‭ ‬and‭ ‬Japan,‭ ‬and‭ ‬this‭ ‬is‭ ‬hotly‭ ‬debated‭ ‬by‭ ‬different‭ ‬scientists‭ ‬and‭ ‬astronomers.‭ ‬We‭ ‬start‭ ‬preparing‭ ‬the‭ ‬coastal‭ ‬cities‭ ‬for‭ ‬the‭ ‬worst‭ ‬tidal‭ ‬waves‭ ‬ever.

March,‭ ‬2016: (two months later)‭ ‬Right‭ ‬before‭ ‬the‭ ‬asteroid‭ ‬impacted‭ ‬Earth,‭ ‬it‭ ‬did‭ ‬some‭ ‬really‭ ‬weird‭ ‬stuff‭ ‬with‭ ‬its‭ ‬impact‭ ‬angle,‭ ‬and‭ ‬started‭ ‬spinning‭ ‬really,‭ ‬really‭ ‬quickly.‭ ‬Scientists‭ ‬were‭ ‬able‭ ‬to‭ ‬develop‭ ‬mathematical‭ ‬models‭ ‬for‭ ‬how‭ ‬the‭ ‬asteroid‭ ‬strangely‭ ‬behaved,‭ ‬so‭ ‬everyone‭ ‬still‭ ‬thinks‭ ‬the‭ ‬asteroid‭ ‬is‭ ‬a‭ ‬natural‭ ‬phenomenon.‭ ‬When‭ ‬it‭ ‬impacted,‭ ‬it‭ ‬hit‭ ‬Hawaii,‭ ‬but‭ ‬because‭ ‬of‭ ‬its‭ ‬spin,‭ ‬it‭ ‬had‭ ‬a‭ ‬ricocheting‭ ‬effect,‭ ‬so‭ ‬it‭ ‬actually‭ ‬hit‭ ‬and‭ ‬re-hit‭ ‬the‭ ‬earth,‭ ‬causing‭ ‬what‭ ‬felt‭ ‬like‭ ‬earthquake‭ ‬after‭ ‬earthquake,‭ ‬felt‭ ‬worldwide,‭ ‬for‭ ‬about‭ ‬two‭ ‬days.‭ ‬During‭ ‬the‭ ‬two‭ ‬days‭ ‬of‭ ‬earthquakes,‭ ‬everyone‭ ‬is‭ ‬pressed‭ ‬up‭ ‬against‭ ‬a‭ ‬wall,‭ ‬if‭ ‬they‭'‬re‭ ‬inside.‭ ‬Stuff‭ ‬outside‭ ‬that‭ ‬wasn‭'‬t‭ ‬nailed‭ ‬down‭ ‬moves ‬dozens‭ ‬and‭ ‬sometimes‭ ‬hundreds‭ ‬of‭ ‬miles‭ ‬away.

Three‭ ‬days‭ ‬later:‭ Very‭ ‬surprisingly,‭ ‬most‭ ‬buildings‭ ‬are‭ ‬still‭ ‬standing,‭ ‬almost‭ ‬everyone‭ ‬is‭ ‬still‭ ‬alive.‭ ‬The‭ ‬tidal‭ ‬waves‭ ‬ended‭ ‬up‭ ‬not ‬being‭ ‬all‭ ‬that‭ ‬bad,‭ ‬either.‭ ‬New‭ ‬Orleans‭ ‬got‭ ‬the‭ ‬worst‭ ‬of‭ ‬it,‭ ‬since‭ ‬they‭ ‬never‭ ‬put‭ ‬great‭ ‬levies‭ ‬in‭ ‬there.‭ ‬True,‭ ‬it‭'‬s‭ ‬the‭ ‬worst‭ ‬natural‭ ‬disaster‭ ‬since‭ ‬probably‭ ‬when‭ ‬the‭ ‬dinosaurs‭ ‬got‭ ‬destroyed,‭ ‬so‭ ‬things‭ ‬are‭ ‬pretty‭ ‬bad,‭ ‬but‭ ‬almost‭ ‬everyone‭ ‬is‭ ‬thankful‭ ‬they‭'‬re‭ ‬still‭ ‬alive.

The‭ ‬weird‭ ‬thing‭ ‬is‭ ‬that‭ ‬the‭ ‬sun‭ ‬never‭ ‬sets.‭ (‬At‭ ‬least‭ ‬for‭ ‬us‭ ‬Americans.‭)

May,‭ ‬2016:‭ (two months later) ‬After‭ ‬we‭ ‬get‭ ‬the‭ ‬power‭ ‬back‭ ‬on,‭ ‬we‭ ‬realize‭ ‬that‭ ‬the‭ ‬only‭ ‬real‭ ‬impact‭ ‬of‭ ‬the‭ ‬asteroid‭ ‬was‭ Earth‭'‬s‭ ‬rotation‭ ‬has‭ ‬been‭ ‬slowed‭ ‬to‭ ‬a‭ ‬crawl.‭ ‬Well,‭ ‬that‭ ‬and‭ ‬a‭ ‬huge‭ ‬volcano‭ ‬close‭ ‬to‭ ‬the‭ ‬north‭ ‬pole‭ ‬that‭'‬s‭ ‬now‭ ‬even‭ ‬taller‭ ‬than‭ ‬Mount‭ ‬Everest,‭ ‬due‭ ‬to‭ ‬shifting‭ ‬of‭ ‬the‭ ‬tectonic‭ ‬plates,‭ ‬scientists‭ ‬say.‭ ‬The‭ ‬equator,‭ ‬which‭ ‬used‭ ‬to‭ ‬rotate‭ ‬at‭ ‬over‭ ‬a‭ ‬thousand‭ ‬miles‭ ‬per‭ ‬hour,‭ ‬now‭ ‬only‭ ‬rotates‭ ‬at‭ ‬about‭ ‬6‭ ‬miles‭ ‬an‭ ‬hour.‭ ‬This‭ ‬means‭ ‬a‭ ‬new‭ ‬day‭ ‬will‭ ‬last‭ ‬about‭ ‬a‭ ‬year.

Needless‭ ‬to‭ ‬say,‭ ‬GPS‭ ‬devices‭ ‬no‭ ‬longer‭ ‬work.

May,‭ ‬2018: (two years later)

The‭ ‬new‭ ‬volcano,‭ ‬which‭ ‬we‭ ‬called‭ ‬Mount‭ ‬Vesuvius,‭ ‬put‭ ‬a‭ ‬bunch‭ ‬of‭ ‬stuff‭ ‬into‭ ‬the‭ ‬atmosphere,‭ ‬so‭ ‬that‭ ‬scientists‭ ‬say‭ ‬that‭'‬s‭ ‬why‭ ‬the‭ ‬days‭ ‬don‭'‬t‭ ‬boil‭ ‬us‭ ‬and‭ ‬the‭ ‬nights‭ ‬don‭'‬t‭ ‬freeze‭ ‬us.‭ ‬Plus‭ ‬as‭ ‬a‭ ‬weird‭ ‬aftereffect,‭ ‬the‭ ‬winds‭ ‬in‭ ‬the‭ ‬upper‭ ‬atmosphere‭ ‬blow‭ ‬almost‭ ‬a‭ ‬thousand‭ ‬miles‭ ‬an‭ ‬hour,‭ ‬even‭ ‬though‭ ‬winds‭ ‬on‭ ‬the‭ ‬surface‭ ‬have‭ ‬slowed‭ ‬down‭ ‬considerably.

Life‭ ‬is‭ ‬pretty‭ ‬much‭ ‬the‭ ‬same‭ ‬except‭ ‬days‭ ‬last‭ ‬130‭ ‬days.‭ ‬And‭ ‬nights‭ ‬last‭ ‬130‭ ‬days‭ ‬also.‭ ‬So‭ ‬most‭ ‬of‭ ‬the‭ ‬technological‭ ‬development‭ ‬of‭ ‬the‭ ‬last‭ ‬two‭ ‬years‭ ‬was‭ ‬focused‭ ‬on‭ ‬how‭ ‬we‭ ‬can‭ ‬grow‭ ‬food‭ ‬on‭ ‬the‭ ‬bright‭ ‬side‭ ‬of‭ ‬the‭ ‬world‭ ‬and‭ ‬transport‭ ‬it‭ ‬to‭ ‬the‭ ‬dark‭ ‬side‭ ‬of‭ ‬the‭ ‬world.

This‭ ‬is‭ ‬also‭ ‬the‭ ‬same‭ ‬month‭ ‬we‭ ‬discover‭ ‬another‭ ‬asteroid‭ ‬headed‭ ‬on‭ ‬a‭ ‬collision‭ ‬course‭ ‬with‭ ‬Venus.

May‭ ‬2019: (one year later)

The‭ ‬same‭ ‬thing‭ ‬happens‭ ‬with‭ ‬this‭ ‬asteroid‭ ‬as‭ ‬with‭ ‬the‭ ‬first‭ ‬one. It barely misses Venus, skimming its surface, and turns back on a collision course for Earth.‭ ‬The‭ ‬only‭ ‬difference‭ is this‭ ‬one‭ ‬misses‭ the ‬Earth‭ ‬and‭ ‬becomes a‭ ‬secondary‭ ‬satellite‭ ‬to‭ ‬our‭ ‬planet. The effect of this satellite is that 95% of the time, the Earth’s magnetic field is neutralized.

Solar flares severely affect Earth now. People don’t want to go outside, because skin gets fried pretty easily now, and electrical stuff only works about half the time.

June 2019: (one month later)

It’s pretty obvious now that these two asteroids weren’t accidents, and something in Venus is trying to transform Earth into a Venus-like environment. We react to this in just about every way possible. The people who have been saying this since the first asteroid hit instantly become celebrities. We start sending peace messages to Venus. India launches a nuke at Venus, but before it hits, some force pushes it so the bomb goes around Venus and heads toward the dead of space. People start praying to the gods and goddesses of Venus.

June 2025: (six years later)

Life has been pretty much the same for years. Lots of people died, because of the problems of transporting food around the globe, but we fixed enough of them so most of the Earth’s population is still alive.

In this month, where Hawaii once was, this massive bubbling, or boiling comes up out of the water. We find that it’s ice-cold carbon dioxide vapor, and that something or someone is turning the oceans and the biomass in the oceans into carbon dioxide and this kind of salt-like substance.

September 2025: (three months later)
The carbon dioxide vapor has kept coming, so much that it’s very hard to breath, so almost everyone who can afford it is wearing supplemental oxygen devices. The atmospheric pressure is rising rapidly, and so are the carbon dioxide levels, but surprisingly because the vapor steaming out of the ocean is super cold, it stabilizes the Earth's temperature. So the temperature has basically been the same as it always has. So much for all of the greenhouse effect warnings we heard over the years. We’d stopped trying to make contact with Venus the last few years, but with the carbon dioxide being pumped into the atmosphere, everyone starts trying to make contact with Venus again.

December 2025: (three months later)
The temperature starts to rapidly rise, because of a massive greenhouse effect. We try to stop the oceans from boiling, but find that it’s being done by this kind of indestructible nanotechnology that will turn pretty much anything into carbon dioxide. Most people think that the Venusians just can’t see us, and so we focus most efforts on experimental technologies and communication methods, trying to tell the Venusians that we’re alive and we want to keep living.

January 2026: (one month later)
We start to die, some from heat, some from lack of oxygen, some from being pressurized to death, and some from starvation. We did shoot a few pods off into space with cryogenically frozen humans in hopes of preserving humanity, and also so this story isn’t ultimately depressing.

January 2126: (ten years later)
Venusforming of Earth is complete.

January 2226: (one hundred years later)
Venus explodes.

January 4226: (two thousand years later)
Beneficent and advanced aliens find the pods and construct a new Earth for us. Or at least for the ten humans they saved from the pods.

The End.

This is a plot outline of a movie I think would be cool. Hopefully someone takes it and turns it into a book or a movie. If you need a moral, it’s that maybe we should be thinking now about how life might exist in forms that are much different than us. Almost all of us believe we have souls that are alive, yet those souls are as strange and elusive as the aliens in my story who couldn’t see us and we couldn’t see them.

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Photo purchased from istockphoto.

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