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Our future, our universe, and other weighty topics

Saturday, November 9, 2013

The Planet Thieves: A Science Fiction Story

It all started on November 7, 2013, when scientists announced the discovery of a very strange asteroid that was spouting six tails of gas and dust. Scientists had never seen anything like it before, and they thought it was just some weird freak of the solar system. The object was found in the asteroid belt between Mars and Jupiter.

But in the weeks and months ahead, more and more asteroids in the asteroid belt started to show the same strange tails of gas. Scientists detected that the asteroids were moving towards Mars. The asteroids all crashed into Mars with tremendous force. The combined force of this onslaught was so great that the orbit of Mars was changed. Mars began to move closer to the sun.

The President of the United States met with his advisers at the White House to discuss the situation.

“Who caused all these asteroids to hit Mars?” asked the President. 

“We're not 100% sure,” said Ken Hamilton, the White House chief science adviser. “It is just barely possible that it was due to chance, although that would require a one in a billion coincidence for so many asteroids to have hit in such a small time.”

“But what about the jets of gas detected from the asteroids?” asked General Todd Brin. “Those kinds of jets are what we would expect if someone had attached rockets to the asteroids, to deliberately change their path. I think extraterrestrials must have caused these asteroid collisions.”

“But if it is aliens who moved Mars, why would they have done it?” asked the President. “Could it be that they are trying to attack us, by causing Mars to crash into our planet?”

“No, that wouldn't make sense,” said Hamilton. “If they knew how to move around asteroids, they could just cause one or two big asteroids to hit our planet. That would be a much easier way to wipe us out.”

The world watched with fascination as Mars started to move closer to the sun. Then another astonishing thing happened. Many new comets started to appear in the inner part of the solar system. Then the comets crashed into Mars. The icy bodies of the comets brought lots of additional water to the surface of Mars.

The President met again with his advisers at the White House.

“First a whole bunch of asteroids hitting Mars, then a whole bunch of comets,” said the President. “Does anyone now doubt that this is being deliberately caused by someone?” No one answered yes.

“As they say in the movies, it looks like we have company,” said Ken Hamilton. “It must be extraterrestrials lurking somewhere around the solar system. They probably have some spacecraft in both the asteroid belt, and also the Oort Cloud, the huge comet cloud that surrounds the solar system.”

“What are they trying to do with Mars?” asked the President.

“The fact that they're causing lots of comets to hit Mars may suggest that they are trying to make the planet habitable,” said Hamilton. “If you take a planet like Mars, move it closer to the sun, and give it a lot more water, as the comet collisions are doing, then before long long you may have something where people can live.”

“Perhaps this is being done for our benefit,” suggested the President optimistically. “They may be creating a kind of second home for mankind, which we can go to in case we mess things up too badly on our planet.”

After being hit by all the asteroids and comets, Mars moved closer and closer toward the sun. Mars came closer toward Earth, and many were terrified that it might collide with Earth. But then Mars finally entered a stable orbit only a million miles from Earth. Mars could now be seen very clearly in the sky. It now became very complicated to compute the tides at beaches, because there were now lunar tides and also tides caused by Mars. 

Mars near Earth

The President of the United States met again with his advisers at the White House.

“They've parked Mars very close to us,” said the President happily. “It's like a gift from the gods. Let's begin a colonization program. It will be a breeze now that Mars is so much closer.”

Many space enthusiasts signed up to be the part of the first wave of Mars colonizers. But then the world got a sudden shock.

Unidentified spaceships appeared in the skies of Earth, above the world's major capitals. The spaceships wrote a huge message in the sky, in giant glowing red letters. The message said:


The disappointed faces at the White House were glum.

“So I guess they moved Mars closer to Earth, and hit it with all those water-bearing comets, so that they could have a nice warm, wet planet to colonize all by themselves,” said Ken Hamilton.

“We wanted Mars, but they've taken it,” said the President. “Lousy damn planet thieves!”

This story is fiction, but the event described at the story's beginning is a real event that happened a few days ago. Is the strange new asteroid a sign of alien visitors?