Spoiler alert…. don’t read this post before you see the movie…
If you’ve already watched “Don’t Look Up” on Netflix check out this brilliant video by Brian Cox:
The 3 scenarios most likely to kill all humans:
#1. Nuclear Armageddon set off by rogue states with access to atomic weapons.
#2. A massive solar flare from the sun that burns the earth to a crisp and wipes out our atmosphere.
#3. A large enough comet OR meteor hitting our planet…
In the movie “Don’t Look Up” a fictional corporation tries to stop an incoming comet (and mine the metals from it) and the plan fails horrifically. Everyone dies.
There’s a lot more in the movie, the premise is really an allegory on the denial of climate change… but it boils down to “everyone dies” at the end.
I’m more interested in the idea of rockets designed to protect the earth from an extinction level event.
Corporations like SpaceX will eventually get us to Mars, I have no doubt about that, and we will see it in our lifetime… if we can avoid an apocalyptic event in the next few decades.
As innovative companies like SpaceX improve rocket and propulsion technology, we are moving closer to a planetary defense system that can obliterate anything headed towards the destruction of our planet, naturally occurring or otherwise.
In the next 100 years it will become profitable to actually capture and mine incoming asteroids and comets for valuable metals, and the technology required to easily do that will have the double purpose of eliminating any incoming asteroids that could potentially end life on Earth as we know it.
If we can drill into a huge (moving) asteroid to mine ore and other precious metals we can also drill into a dangerous asteroid and place a nuclear charge in the middle of the rock… then blow it to harmless bits.
This would all be done with rockets, robotics and cutting-edge artificial intelligence.
If an asteroid is 3 kilometers across, and we blow it into bits no larger than a bowling ball…. those smaller bits will harmlessly burn up in our atmosphere on entry, with a hell of a light show that will be seen by everyone within 500 miles.
Goodness knows there are enough nuclear warheads sitting dormant all over our planet… perhaps this will be the hidden blessing of the Cold War, the USA has extra nukes that can be repurposed for saving all humans from probable extinction.
It takes tremendous time, effort and funding to build a viable nuke from scratch, but the USA has plenty of thermonuclear weapons sitting and armed in submarines silently gliding under the ocean, and in missile silos hidden beneath corn fields in Iowa.
Government will supply the weapons, companies like SpaceX will supply the rockets…
I’m sure Elon Musk has already had some interesting conversations with the folks at NASA and the DOD.
I’m OK with profit driving the technological advances that will obliterate an incoming rock that’s 20 miles across flying towards our planet at 30,000 miles an hour.
Technology might save us after all.