Recently, BBC2 showed a programme called The Search for a New Earth. It featured physicist Stephen Hawking, who claimed we will have to leave Earth within the next 100 years as it will have become uninhabitable. He listed various possible causes of this catastrophe, including overpopulation, pollution and nuclear war. The programme went on to explore the various measures being taken right now for the eventual colonisation of a new planet.
The technology is mind-boggling. It demonstrates the sheer brilliance of the human mind at its best. It seems there’s nothing we can’t achieve. In which case…
WHY ON EARTH CAN’T WE USE THESE SKILLS TO MAKE SURE THIS PLANET DOESN’T BECOME UNINHABITABLE?
For instance, scientists are developing technology that will utilise the sun’s energy to create superfast rocket fuel. Why don’t they consider using that energy for fuel here on Earth, to replace dwindling oil supplies, dirty fossil fuel and dangerous nuclear power? It would be a lot cheaper and easier than trying to colonise a planet that isn’t designed for human habitation.
The planet under consideration is called Proxima B. The shortest time it would take to get there – once they’ve got their superfast fuel – is 20 years. The crew would have to go into chemically induced hibernation to avoid radiation damage in space. Most of the planet is too hot or too cold to support human life, so we would only be able to occupy a thin strip around the middle. This would lead to even worse overcrowding than we’ve got here. It’s possible that the place has no atmosphere, so we would have to create one ourselves. This would take about 100,000 years, so the early colonists would have to live in a geodesic dome. They would never be able to walk under the open sky.
Even if we did manage to find a planet that was suitable for humans, the chances are that humans would be living there already – in which case, would they really want us showing up and asking to live on their planet because we’ve trashed our own? We might even find they’d made a worse mess of their world than we’ve made of ours.
Maybe we should clean up our act rather than jumping ship. If human science can develop the technology to colonise another planet, surely it can find a way to heal and care for the wonderful planet we live on now.
Find and follow Annabelle
About the Author
Annabelle Franklin lives on South Wales’s stunning and magical South Gower coast, sharing her chalet home with two rescued sighthounds. She loves humour, hates housework and believes magic should be on the school curriculum. She has published two children’s novels, Gateway to Magic and The Slapstyx. Her short story Mercy Dog has been published in Unforgotten (Accent Press), an award-winning anthology themed around WW1. Annabelle is a member of Swansea and District Writers’ Circle, and her short story Haunted by the Future appears in the Circle’s 2016 horror anthology Dark Gathering.
Annabelle is currently working on a new series of supernatural stories for children.
Books by Annabelle Franklin
Click the titles or images to go to Amazon
‘Slap it on and stick it down!’ That’s the motto of the Slapstyx Goblins, whose job it is to fill human homes with dirt and grime.
Twin sisters Georgie and Gem can’t work out why their house gets so much dirtier than everyone else’s – until they discover their home is the headquarters of the Slapstyx Goblins, who love to spread dirt wherever they go. They also love gold, and dodgy businessman Zachary Zigstack has promised them a mountain of it if they’ll help him sell his disgusting detergent. This putrid product is poisoning the world’s oceans, and the twins must use their special psychic skills to put an end to the goblins’ dirty dealings – but can they do it before the goblins put an end to them?
Steven Topcliff is a gaming fanatic trapped in Fairyland where all tech is banned by law. Steven hates Fairyland – there are no video games, no chicken nuggets and no one tells the truth. The inhabitants are dangerous, sometimes deadly, and the Land itself is a living being that deals out instant magical punishments to lawbreakers. He has to deal with spiteful goblins, an out-of-control shapeshifter who insists on being his best mate, and the diva-like Fairy Queen who embroils him in some mysterious game of her own. Steven is a boy who plays to win, but there’s no controlling this dimension with a console – he must use magic to survive and get home.