Friday, April 06, 2012

Planetary Self-Defence

When I was in high school, I got addicted to an Internet tick-based game called Planetarion. For me, this was the beginning of Online Gaming. In the wake of the Year 2000 Problem, Elite Commander Zirconus was spending all day and night combing the galaxy, forming alliances with neighbouring planets to defend Arsentium against militant aliens looking to deplete my,  ahem, *his resources and steal his orbiting asteroid mines.
To a human, this probably looked more like staring blankly at a chart on a 12" monitor waiting for the next hourly tick to go by so I could buy another eon gun...

Twelve years later, there is now talk of low earth-orbit transit systems attainable by using existing magnetic-levitation technology.

Maglev passenger trains have carried passengers at nearly 600 kilometers per hour (373 mph) - spacecraft have to be some 50 times faster, but the physics and much of the engineering is the same.
-Brian Dodson
With our eyes fixed on the stars, we start to imagine even greater possibilities. Interplanetary travel? Alien life? Earth 2.0? Jedi Academy? Ok, now I'm getting carried away...
Trains would shoot to orbit in seconds in an 80-mile sealed tube – and the scientists behind the $60 billion proposal claim it could revolutionize industry, allowing for cheap space-based solar power and generating unimaginable wealth from mines on asteroids.
-James J. Williams
I don't know about you, but I find this exciting. Slowly but surely, my high school alter-ego, Zirconus of Arsentium, is shaping up to become a reality...

But with technology pushing us beyond the limits of our humanity, so the anticipated challenges come.
End Times prophecies are even more popular than ever among date-setters, and Hollywood has even capitalized on the paranoia. With so many people fixated on the annihilation of our world, it's questionable whether channeling the energy required to save it is worth our time.

And time, apparently, is of the essence.
A rock, which is quarter of a mile across, will pass between our planet and the moon in November 2012 and will be visible with small telescopes. Passing by at a distance of just 201,000 miles, the asteroid will be the largest object ever to approach the earth so close.
-Martin Evans
Discover Magazine predicted the 10 most probable ways the world will end. Rather grim study, I must say. Odds being 1 in 700,000, asteroid impact is the only one nearly 100% preventable (as opposed to unpreventable for the rest).

What could be seen as a demonstration of God's glorious power, instead instills fear to most who describe it as nothing less than a swing and a miss.
The universe is trying to kill us.
-Phil Plait
Perversely, some Christians cry for the riddance of our home in pursuit of something greater in an after life. Was this what God intended?
The LORD smelled the pleasing scent, and the LORD thought to himself, I will not curse the fertile land anymore because of human beings since the ideas of the human mind are evil from their youth. I will never again destroy every living thing as I have done.
As long as the earth exists,
seedtime and harvest,
cold and hot,
summer and autumn,
day and night
will not cease.
-Genesis 8:21-22
Some Christians finish that sentence differently. To them, God's promise is about a flood, and therefore, we should not rule out fire and brimstone. We needn't really take Him seriously. But the way I read it, the earth is meant to continue to exist unharmed. God promises that it will not end in destruction. It will not cease.

Side Note:
The confusion comes from this passage:
By these waters also the world of that time was deluged and destroyed. By the same word the present heavens and earth are reserved for fire, being kept for the day of judgment and destruction of the ungodly.
-2 Peter 3:6-7
Which is in reference to refinement, as opposed to annihilation.

My question is, if our world is in danger, should we be prepared to defend it?

In 1995, a politically unstable South Africa came together to celebrate the victory of a rugby World Cup championship. If a common adversary in sport is enough to unite a country facing civil war, even for a moment, what would be required to unite our planet?
If you want to make peace with your enemy, you have to work with your enemy. Then he becomes your partner.
-Nelson Mandela
It seems ironic to me that, for many Christians, world peace is not a goal but rather something to be feared. In light of end times prophecies, they seek war with each other as a means to an end. But what kind of God desires that?

Could it be that our God is feverishly trying to unite us?

Supposing our solar system lasts as long, scientists say that within the next 5 to 7 billion years, gravity will force the sun to collapse into its core which will ratchet up the heat on the remaining hydrogen and cause the sun to expand into a red giant. Currently, Plait labels this catastrophe "unpreventable".

So, we've got about 5 billion years, give or take, to figure out where science could lead us, before the sun implodes (*insert tongue in cheek). Is pursuing peace in our world a fruitless task? I believe one day, Jesus will return. And when he does, we will welcome him to reign in his kingdom here.
God sent his Son into the world not to judge the world, but to save the world through him.
-John 3:17
Could the Saviour of our world be the Saviour of our universe?

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