Monday, October 7, 2013

The Solar Sytem is Going to Get You

From an undetermined distance of a transmitting tower, sounds and images hit the flatscreen and a man proclaims: "At some point the solar system is going to get you."  

"Huh?" she thinks, rousing herself out of a television news stupor from the couch upon which she lounges indolently.

This solar-statement comes not from the ramblings of a paranoid schizophrenic; the hunted quality of said viewpoint was expressed by a prominent astrophysicist of supposedly sound mind and intellect. (Disclaimer: for people whose brains have a chemical imbalance or for their loved ones, the reference is not meant to denigrate a difficult and heart-wrenching situation.) 

Based on past evidence that meteorites have struck the earth with catastrophic results, numerous  humans worldwide have invented contraptions to scour the outer limits in search of rogue space rocks. And we are not talking little telescopes, folks. Humungous space-age spheres, shields and the like dot our planet's mountaintops in many countries, where those who prefer to diddle in space-gazing watch and wait for random dead planets to attack earth.

The prominent astrophysicist with a wild imagination would like billions of dollars to set up a state of the art Star Wars defense department, for the inevitable time when we will have to detect, and take out, the Mother of All Monster Space Rocks. Scientists would only need approximately thirty years advance warning to knock it off its deadly earth-bound trajectory.

For once, our government had the good sense to decline funding such an endeavor, in part because it is broke, and in part because on the "to do" list, things like unemployment, environmental issues, national security (from people, not rocks) and House Republicans are a far greater threat to our saftey and well-being.

Thus,  Mr. Astrophysicist is now fundraising among the world's elite to privatize his noble venture. Today, after reading about Syrian refugees in Eygpt who are being persecuted and driven out of their former place of refuge (Buddhists call this "suffering upon suffering"), or hearing story after story about the endless carnage of humans, animals and the environment, I wonder: 

Do the wealthiest of the world want to hedge their bets with large donations to counteract a hostile solar system armed to the teeth with space rocks that are out to get them?

I implore you, philanthropists and spacey humans, please give your dineros to the people of this earth who need help so desperately. Because while we are here, let's take care of "what is," and not stare into space endlessly waiting for Godot.

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