15 June 2016

Spaceythoughts

Dear diary,

If we end up destroying our habitat, our haunt, this globe we call home, then what?

Let’s say we move to another planet. What planet do you like? Can we just choose like we’re buying a model house? I don’t like Neptune or Mars… Saturn I think would be nice, because of the rings.

But I suppose the places in our local solar system are uninhabitable: the state has declared them not fit to live in. So we must go far away.

I don’t even know the names of those distant spheres. I think the scientists call them by number combos, like A-4857 or Z0lr-22, because they ran out of creative juice on the day of their discovery. Or is it only the stars that are named like that? (I should do a little research before delivering these sermons.)

But even the hurricanes get names. And it’s weird to name a pet with a name that is normally reserved for human beings; like: here’s my dog Michaela. But I guess it’s not that weird; we have Donald Duck, after all. But cartoon characters are different…

Anyway, let’s say we end up moving to planet 51 Peg b. That’s an actual planet, I think: for I just opened an encyclopedia at random, and there was its entry… in fact, this fascinates me so much that I want to quote the intro section in full:

51 Pegasi b (abbreviated 51 Peg b), unofficially dubbed Bellerophon, later named Dimidium, is an extrasolar planet roughly 50 light-years away in the constellation of Pegasus. It was the first exoplanet to be discovered orbiting a main-sequence star – the Sun-like 51 Pegasi – and marked a breakthrough in astronomical research. It is the prototype for a class of planets called “hot Jupiters.”

Allow me to go on record as saying that I fully approve of the name of that last class of planets.

But having reached the point of musing on the actual transference of this, our human life, beyond the moonbase that serves as our current residence (by the way, why does our moon lack a name: it’s just called “Moon” like a generic product; whereas other planets name their satellites nicely, for instance: “Io,” “Europa,” and “Ganymede”), I realize that I can’t get past having to wear an astro-suit, or whatever those things are called:

It’s hard to decide whether or not I’d find it desirable to be sealed inside a transparent head-bubble with a thick heavy bulky hard shell around my thermal micrometeoroid garment (I hope I’m using these terms correctly) and gloves made of a metal fabric called Chromel-r (which incidentally is also a good name for a planet) (or a pet)… In such a getup, it would be hard to hug one’s loved ones. (This might be a boon, though; for consider how often we earthlings attempt to avoid exactly that: since getting close to one another always comes at a price.) Our helmets clink when we kiss.

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