Sunday, February 01, 2015

But, but, but...!

A staple of the SciFi genre in games and literature is having to go colonize some far-off planet because a huge asteroid is about to Chicxulub us again. Sierra On-Line's disastrous flop Outpost* would be a prime example.

Something that never occurred to me at the time was this: There's all this space infrastructure, right? The construction yard that built your colony ship, the fueling station in orbit around Jupiter, your huge colony ship itself... And you're going to head off into the great unknown to colonize an inhospitable rock and hopefully eventually terraform it? 

Hey, I know an Earth-like planet that would be super easy to terraform: That one that just got hit by an asteroid. How about we turn around and land back home? Sure, civilization's been wiped out by tidal waves, earthquakes, and firestorms, but it's still more Earth-like than an airless rock in orbit around Zeta Reticuli.

I was reminded that there was some hand-waving about further impacts being expected in order to obviate this possibility. If only we had a huge spaceship that could be used to nudge them off course... Oh, wait, we sent it to Zeta Reticuli.

*I bought a CD-ROM drive, switched to Windows 3.11 from DOS, and added another two sticks of RAM just to run that dog. Imagine my chagrin.