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Nov
17

What Planet are They From?

[image by Eduardo Barreto, for the cover of DC Comics Presents #87]

In The End-of-the-World Delusion: How Doomsayers Endanger Society, I cover one of the doomsayers’ favorite such prophecies: that a mysterious planet like Planet X (Nibiru) will crash into the earth. This theory was first proposed by Nancy Lieder in 1995, who claimed that alien life forms had contacted her and shared this information with her. When the event didn’t happen when she said it would—2003—the deadline was merely changed to 2012, to coincide with the Mayan calendar.

As if that’s not enough, we were also warned by V.M. Rabolú, a South American professor (?) who claims to have mastered astral projection techniques, that a giant planet named Hercólubus would crash into the earth. This knowledge came to him after his spirit had the chance to visit the aliens living on Venus and Mars, who promptly informed him of the coming cataclysm. In his book, Hercólubus or Red Planet,1 he explains that this planet is 5 or 6 times larger than Jupiter; he is also highly critical of scientists for “daring to give the weight and the measurement” of the planet. In fact, he spends a lot of the book criticizing everyone and everything he doesn’t like: scientists, Americans, capitalism, religions (except the Gnostic church), and humanity in general. He’s not sorry at all about the catastrophe he says will strike our planet soon (and this was in 1998). No, he says this is the punishment that we collectively deserve.

There is quite a bit of literature devoted to this idea, although often with a different name: Tyche, Sedna, Frightener, Maldek, Marduk, Red Kachina, Purifier, Doomdragon. Some tie it in with other prophecies, such as Nostradamus’ Bearded Star, the Hebrews’ Destroyer, or the star Wormwood or the Red Dragon, both from the Bible’s Book of Revelation. More importantly, this theory is debunked by NASA and other actual scientists, who have spent quite a bit of resources actively looking for other planets.

There’s also another out-of-this-world theory being proposed, by a completely different segment of our population.

The way this theory goes, the world is so overrun by people that humanity will trash the planet, or use up all of the earth’s natural resources, that we will need to find another planet to maintain our lifestyle. The brilliant cosmologist Stephen Hawking once stated, “I don’t think the human race will survive the next thousand years, unless we spread into space. There are too many accidents that can befall life on a single planet. But I’m an optimist. We will reach out to the stars.”2

While 1,000 years is certainly a long time out, some of the more fanatical segments of our society don’t give us nearly so long. For example, an environmental group, the World Wildlife Fund, warned recently that based on our consumption of resources we would need two earths by the year 2030.3

Thanks for the warning. This is the same diatribe against people and our modern lifestyle that has been used to try to scare us for as long as I can remember. And sometimes, that fear is focused specifically at children. As one child (Kimberly Carr) told the EarthWorks Group in the 1980s, “I hope the earth is okay when I grow up, because I don’t want to have to find another place to live.”4

Well, that child is all grown up now, and the earth is still here.

Not that finding another world to inhabit wouldn’t be incredible. I’ll be the first to admit that a planet resembling earth—an earth analog, a twin earth, an earth twin, a second earth, an alien earth, earth 2, or even earth 2.0, as some are referring to it5—would certainly be the most important find in our history. In fact, some are even speculating that this will happen by the year 2014:


Earth-like planet will be discovered by 2014. Is this a second chance, or false hope? I’m Rich Awn, and this is your Green Air Minute. According to NASA exo-planet expert Shawn Domagal-Goldman, the Kepler Space Telescope has identified some 2,300 earth-like planets orbiting distant suns. Of the 46 earth planet candidates found in the habitable zone, 10 of these candidates are near earth-size. All that is really known of these planetary masses, however, is that they’re orbiting at just about the right distance from its closest star to support liquid water, which could quite possibly support life.

Due to the success of the Kepler mission over the past 4 years, its purpose having been specifically to find these other earths, has prompted NASA and Kepler’s prime contractor, Ball Aerospace, to extend the exploration from its original end date of 2012 to 2016. The extension will allow for longer period orbits and to install the next generation of detectors and instruments designed to block the glare of the parent stars to get a better look at what lies on the surface of these mysterious planets.

But while the presence of water, mass, and orbit distance, may chalk up to the very basic earth-like characteristics of a planet, earth systems scientists such as Mark Gibling of the University of Nova Scotia, caution us not to rest on our laurels. The key factor is plants. Plants are not passive passengers on a planet’s surface system, Gibling says, they create the surface system. Organisms tool the environment—the atmosphere, the landscapes, the oceans, all develop incredible complexity, once plant life grows.

I’m Rich Awn, and this is your Green Air Minute. For more on the search for Earth 2, and ways to improve the original, visit greenairradio.com.

How many of these earth-like planets are there? The current estimates range about 40 billion to 100 billion such worlds in our galaxy6,7. Go beyond the Milky Way, and that number increases to 50 sextellion—a 5, followed by 22 zeros.

As exciting as that possibility is, let’s keep it in the realm of reality. There is no reason to give in to the fear and the dread, that we absolutely must find another world to inhabit—before it’s too late.

Therefore, I propose a solution, by which these two doomsday theories cancel each other out: The second we run out of resources and need another planet to live on, scientists will discover the one that’s about to crash into earth, and we colonize that one instead. Now that’s killing two birds with one stone!

References

  1. Rabolú, V. M. (1998). Hercólubus or Red Planet. Puerto Cortes, Honduras: Ediciones Humanidad.
  2. Highfield, R. (2001, October 16). Colonies in space may be only hope, says Hawking. The Telegraph. Retrieved from http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/uknews/1359562/Colonies-in-space-may-be-only-hope-says-Hawking.html
  3. Thornhill, T. (2012, May 16). WWF Living Planet Report warns that by 2030 two Earths will be needed to sustain our lifestyles. The Huffington Post. Retrieved from http://www.huffingtonpost.co.uk/2012/05/16/wwf-warns-that-we-will-need-two-earths-by-2030_n_1520449.html
  4. EarthWorks Group. (1989). 50 simple things you can do to save the earth. Berkeley, CA: EarthWorks Press.
  5. SPACE.COM Staff. (2012, April 3). First “Alien Earth” may be found by 2014. Retrieved from http://www.space.com/15141-alien-earth-planet-2014.html
  6. Anthony, S. (2013, April 4). Astronomers estimate 100 billion habitable Earth-like planets in the Milky Way, 50 sextillion in the universe. ExtremeTech. Retrieved from http://www.extremetech.com/extreme/152573-astronomers-estimate-100-billion-habitable-earth-like-planets-in-the-milky-way-50-sextillion-in-the-universe
  7. New York Times. (2013, November 4). Planetary census finds many exo-Earths. The Chronicle Herald. Retrieved from http://thechronicleherald.ca/other/1165107-planetary-census-finds-many-exo-earths

1 comment

  1. Elaine says:

    Ha, ha. I love your proposed solution! But how do you stop the collision between Earth 1 and Earth 2 from killing the transplanted earthlings?

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