from April 1, 2004
The news from space, unlike that from Earth, continues to be promising.
On March 15, the world awoke to learn that on November 14 last, a new object was sighted at the far fringes of the solar system. Neither a satellite nor an asteroid, this small mass, initially dubbed 2003VB12 by the International Committee on the Dubbing of Newly-Discovered Space Objects (ICDNDSO), can hardly lay claim to planethood, being even smaller (1800 km in circumference) than Pluto, itself the subject of controversy concerning its planetary status. It is, rather, a planetoid—or, in the terms of the common layman, a tiny little thing out there that goes around the sun.
Several features of 2003VB12, besides its Lilliputian dimensions, are worthy of mention. It is red, in imitation of its distant cousin Mars. It is slow; it takes 10,500 years to orbit the sun. It’s path around said sun is highly elliptical; it is currently 8 billion miles from the sun but will, in time, reach a distance of 84 billion miles—this compared to Earth’s distance, a mere and constant 93 million miles. And, as one would expect, it is cold; currently, on a balmy 40-day day, its temperature will climb to minus 240 degrees C.
It is this latter feature that led the dubbing committee to give 2003VB12 a proper name consistent with its icy nature: Sedna, after the Inuit goddess who was said to be responsible for creating Arctic sea creatures.
We at MJTT have known of this discovery since November 15. Early that morning I received a call from a highly-placed space scientist at JPL with the news. There was no time for our usual chat, he said; he wondered if MJTT could be enticed into thinking through the practical implications of 2003VB12 for the betterment of humankind.
After a hurried discussion with the top thinkers of the MJTT staff, I called back with the positive report that, despite our frenetic schedule, we would calmly consider the matter and report back ASAP.
After careful consideration, we at MJTT have devised a simple but brilliant plan. We put two and two together and concluded that the discovery of Sedna is the long-term solution to the problem of global warming. Given its coldness, we think, Sedna would be the perfect candidate for retrieving from the nether, icy regions of the solar system via advanced rocketry and placing in orbit around the earth, thus providing a perfect counterbalance to this steamy planet. The details—the precise path of the orbit, its distance from us, its influence on the gravity and orbit of the moons we will in the meantime have filched from Jupiter (see Archives), etc.—have yet to be worked out.
This, as I mentioned, is the long-term solution. We have one slight problem: it will take time to kidnap Sedna and any moon or moons it may call its own. Recall that it is presently 8 billion miles from us.
Fortunately, there is a short-term solution that should keep this earth at or near its present temperature. This solution, in a word, is Pluto. Pluto is more accessible, being a mere 39.5 x 93,000,000 miles from us. Though it is faster than Sedna—a single orbit around the sun takes it 248 years, as opposed to Sedna’s 10,500 years—it is catchable. And its temperature approximates that of its rival: minus 233 degrees C.
We conclude, then, that the initial phase of this astronomical air-conditioning plan should be to capture Pluto posthaste. The second phase would, of course, be to go after Sedra. According to our calculations, verified by our friends at JPL and NASA, the initial phase could be completed in ten years, which would be just enough time to cool our planet for the remainder of this century. (We are aware that bringing a cold planetoid into what might be called a partnership with a warming one would lead not only to a cooling effect on the latter but a warming effect on the former, rendering it useless.)
As for the longer term, we calculate that just as planet Earth begins once again to warm, we will have Sedra in place. This will occur in 2112, +/- 2.5 years.
This scenario will depend, naturally, on government funding of such programs as NASA and MJTT.