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The announcement yesterday about the discovery of “Sedna” planetoid orbiting our sun, at the known edge of our solar system, had me wondering earlier this morning: discovered last November, announced this (mid) March, and all that dialogue going on in the interim, dialogue I’d be interested in reading a record of.

If the discovery was tenuous or questionable — was the as-yet unnamed object on a fixed orbit around our Sun or was it on a trajectory indicating impact or near-impact with Earth? — that would explain the protracted delay in time from discovery through to public announcement. Or, otherwise, perhaps they were just deliberating as to what to say to whom and when and why.

Obviously, a lot of people had a lot to discuss and determine from past November until yesterday’s announcement about Sedna. If on an impact trajectory, should they keep it to themselves? Surely an object as large as Sedna — not nearly that large, even — would mean certain doom for Earth or any planet of our size should an impact occur, as would, even, a near-impact by a planetoid the size of Sedna.

If this were the case, would you want to know about it? If you knew about it, would you make the information public? Not like there would be too much anyone could do about anything, if so, given the size of the planetoid (or even smaller size object, unfortunately), and the distance involved at the time of discovery, meaning too little time to devise a survival solution, given the distance at time of discovery and impending near-term incident.

I know this reads somewhat similar to the premise used in the film, “Armageddon.” But, actually, no, it doesn’t, because we Earthlings don’t, as yet, have the technical ability to hide or escape from — or even deflect or destroy — an impact or even near-impact of such a devastating magnitude as would occur should Sedna or any other object in space of that general size be travelling Earth’s way, and we don’t yet have the ability to make fantasy from paper and a filmmaker’s mind into reality, at least as quickly as would be required. Thank God that Sedna is simply continuing on in space on it’s fixed, 10,500-year-orbit of our sun, because, otherwise, there’d be about enough time to make your peace, if you could and wanted to, with yourself, those you love and God and then drink a lot of beer.

But, thinking about these things earlier, I approached pain and went past pain when I thought about all the life, work and creation that would be lost by such a terrible impact event. All those cows in all those fields, all those mountains and lovely birds, bees, the oceans, the Vatican, the Great Pyramids of Cheops, Michelangelo’s David, medical knowledge, the Louvre, the neighbors, my files and computer and paintings, me.

It would be a good idea to start thinking and planning ahead now. If not the technology to make sure it will or might all survive, at least the ability to make sure that the memory of it all would survive. A beacon in space. A trajectory of records. CDs, DVDs, 35mm reels into space along with equipment necessary to access them and a power source with diagrams and instructions, with the hope that sometime, somewhere, someone would happen upon a rested parcel and open it up and look things over. I wonder if they will be able to read?

C O M M E N T S : now closed