Michael G. Leong Gary M. Diaz Michael Bottom
Space II: The World Beyond
In the beginning, it appeared to be a measly scrap of ungainly metal floating above the Earth's atmosphere, seemingly balanced on the edge of an invisible table, waiting to fall by the pull of gravity. Now, nearly a year has passed and this piece of metal has since then turned into "a masterpiece Michelangelo and Leonardo would certainly have been proud to call their own," said MGM (c)1995 Corp.'s newly appointed spokesman Wendall Krôhm.
MGM (c)1995 Corporation (Michael Leong, Gary M. Diaz, Michael Bottom; both M's of the name are reversible), formerly DHL (c)1994 Inc. (Gary M. Diaz, Randall M. Hom, Michael G. Leong), the first entrepreneur company willing to invest a large amount of money on space colonies, has spent well over $3,000,000,000,000 (i.e., three trillion; 8E + 12; the total amount of money Michael G. Leong is estimated to own, one of the founding father's of the formerly existing DHL (c)1994 Inc.!) on the building of this massive but altogether experimental colony! Together with the combined brain power of the most prestigious National Aeronautics Space Administration (NASA ) scientists and staff members (NASA became a division of MGM (c)1995 the 13th of June, 1994), MGM (c)1995 staff members worked feverishly--but delicately, without concern of costs or expenses, on the "scrap of metal" and in nearly a year it was transformed into what will hopefully be looked at as a highly technologically advanced "aircraft" seemingly belonging to a higher order of human culture.
This spacecraft will be unveiled to the wondering eyes of a billion or so people around the world through the television sometime around June 1995 along with a model of their even newer space colony: Gaeos. Michael Leong, Gary M. Diaz, and Michael Bottom all got together and named the colony personally christening it the Princess Ishtar . "Ishtar" means 'star' and it is rightly named because the Princess Ishtar will look very much like a bright shiny ninja star when the Sun glitters over her protective armor reflecting her beauty like the Sun would to the Moon. It is speculated that if the Princess Ishtar were to get in front of the moon on a clear night, you would be able to distinctly trace out its many toruses. (For more specific information about the dimensions of the shapes of the Princess Ishtar , see last year's report; the dimension specifications of Gaeos, MGM's (c)1995 latest project, will be included after this report.)
MGM (c)1995 has since expanded its horizons even more and has included in its list of future craft to build a sort of mining colony. These mining colonies are almost exact replicas of the Princess Ishtar except they are part factory also. These colonies are built on top of the mines or maybe under and deep inside the core of the asteroid. Part of the colonies will have machines that dig deep into the core of the asteroid to extract valuable materials the colonies need or can use as a surplus supply for later storage. They may find gold, minerals, silver, copper, and maybe even a new element; but none of them half as important as finding water, one of the most precious resources needed in space colonies, second only to fresh air. Although this has been studied extensively to see if this is indeed an achievable idea, many scientists who are not part of the MGM (c)1995 and who are off-handedly trying to jinx the successful entrepreneurial company, speculate that this idea will not come into fruition for quite a long time, even with the amazing technology and knowledge that they possess. Albert Einstein once said, "Great spirits have always encountered violent opposition from mediocre minds." MGM (c)1995 is therefore out to disprove this now popular theory among these both hypocritical and mediocre scientists.
The Princess Ishtar is very much like a luxurious ocean liner, except that it is not only for the rich or well-off people who are able to afford a trip to a distant destination. The staff at MGM (c)1995 do not wish to have only "snobby" people (they do not want to be stereotypical either), but all types of people on board the Princess Ishtar . MGM (c)1995 will do its best (through surveys mailed in) to pick a large variety of people with rich cultural backgrounds. People with knowledge. People with memories. Hopefully the passengers picked to go aboard the Princess Ishtar will be very diverse. It is a hope that there will be many eager blacks, whites, Hispanics, Pacific-Islanders, Filipinos, Chinese, Turks, (Asians, generally), Africans, Poles, Russians, French, Scandinavians, and many other varieties of cultures and races of people willing to go on board. When the chosen amount of people are contacted, they will go through some informal training as to what expect on the journey to the colonies and what life will be like. When they arrive, many will be quite surprised with what they will find on board the first ever space colony; another small step for man and another giant leap for mankind.
The only problem MGM (c)1995 faces at the time being for the loading of passengers onto the Princess Ishtar is the fact that people might be too timid to go on board or even answer the surveys sent to them (worldwide, over two billion surveys were sent out in over 300 different languages). The thought that they are going on board the firstspace colony scares them. It will be explained quite bluntly to the people that the colony is indeed experimental which makes them think they are like guinea pigs or lab monkeys so if something goes wrong, they will and can be easily replaced. Some other people might think that they might be like the pilgrims who tried to settle in the Western Hemisphere or Cuban refugees on rafts. They think that the Princess Ishtar is a frail, flimsy thing. Reasoning is difficult since the matter of the Princess Ishtar being experimental is always brought back. If Randall M. Hom (co-founder of DHL (c)1995) was still around, he would have replied optimistically, "Leave 'em! It's my colony!" However, the opposite might happen and more than the allotted passengers needed to go on board will want to go. MGM (c)1995 must keep the amount of passengers at a minimum, if needed. There must always be an excess in ratio for supplies to people just in case any emergencies should arise.
The idea that the passengers would be very much like the characters in Jurassic Park was once brought up in one of the first training sessions. It was quite funny but very stark in reality. What if this colony is indeed too good to be true? What if somehow the MGM (c)1995 staff, even the ambitious NASA brains, missed some important details during the creation of the colony? Or what if something went wrong? Are space colonies going to work? All of the MGM (c)1995 staff firmly state and agree that that is why the space colonies are built. That's why humans invented the wheel, the airplane, helicopter and many other technologically advanced machines and mechanisms that benefited mankind. They had to build experimental models of their ideas and see if they could work through trial and error. The security staff in Jurassic Park never expected or could foresee the traitorous man who would offset chaos in the park. They had to learn from their mistakes. If they wanted to build another Jurassic Park, then perhaps they could screen their staff better so as to make sure they would not have any more sleazy and greedy employees. MGM (c)1995 cannot fully ensure that all will go perfectly well (nothing in the world ever does) on the Princess Ishtar either. She is after all the first experimental colony. All they can hope for is enough volunteers to assure a success rate in the colony and above all, trust in technology. It is expected that a majority of people willing to go on board the Princess Ishtar will be those who are younger since on the survey forms it is mentioned, as an additional incentive, that in space you age much slower than you would on Earth; of course this is a true fact and it has been proven in numerous accounts.
MGM (c)1995 does not want to conjure ideas that the Princess Ishtar is a cheap model that will be strengthened if an accident occurs and that all passengers will pass unnoticed. The Princess Ishtar is by far the biggest and the most advanced "aircraft" MGM (c)1995 has ever built and more money has been poured into it than any of the 20 most expensive monuments on the Earth put together. Be rest assured that much of the MGM (c)1995 staff will be on board firsthand including Michael Leong, Gary M. Diaz, Michael Bottom, Tub Shaizong (MGM (c)1995 advisor), and Al Globus (NASA advisor for MGM (c)1995), to make sure that all goes right and to hopefully see what they can improve on in the future.
Chosen passengers for the Princess Ishtar will be flown first class on board a space shuttle. They will arrive at their destination in about five or six days--the space shuttle will "stroll" around the world for breath-taking views while passengers will be allowed to take pictures before docking off at the Princess Ishtar . Passengers who should happen to get frightened at the last moment will be allowed to go back with the space shuttle to Earth. There will be approximately 50 flights to and from the Princess Ishtar . Passengers will be allowed to bring whatever necessities they need unless it exceeds a certain weight limit. No furniture or heavy appliances will be allowed on board. Hopefully all that is needed will be provided for completely, including life's recreational necessities..
Inside the space colony can be found rooms with the usual luxurious amenities that can be found on Earth. Lavishly accommodated by Gary M. Diaz, it was fitted with the styling comparable to those found in Lexuses and palaces similar to the Taj Mahal and had the size and space of the largest White House office. There are endless new discoveries bound to be discovered in the renovated quarters itself that alone cannot be found anyplace on Earth.
One of the first things different about the space colonies from Earth is the pressurized air lock chamber. You first have to go through this antechamber that ensures that much of the outside dust will not go inside (i.e. if you have just come out from traveling outside--like to the Moon perhaps and not on board the space colony from room to room). Upon passing through the door to the entrance to your quarters, a slight artificial breeze rushes at your face and body. But of course you cannot feel the onrushing air because of the heavily shielded suit you are wearing which protects you from the harshness of space. The purpose of the air is to sort of blow back some of the dust, from wherever you have traveled, back into a sort of duct that has a vacuum that sucks up the dust blown into it.
The concept of blowing air back and away from populated areas was sort of taken from many modern department stores found on Earth. It is the cool air you feel as you step into department stores' doors, used to keep hot air out, cool air in and vice versa when the season or weather conditions change. It is also supposed to be able to keep out flies and small flying pests. The fast-flowing air from the upper and lower parts of the door jamb (strong enough to keep small things out, small enough to not blow you away or be noticeable or irritable--or noticeably irritable) is used to keep out dust (mainly from the Moon where you will probably travel to extensively and will be, in the near future, quite accessible) which can easily accumulate in the surrounding air and into the lungs of a human or some domesticated animal residing in the quarters. There will be air filters on both the ceiling and floors to get rid of excess dust which can be effectively rid of in slow increments out to space when and if it becomes absolutely necessary.
Taking the space suit off is one of the only irritating things about traveling in space and returning to the space colonies. They're always so heavy and hard to get out of once you get back to normal Earth gravity or to the artificial gravity created on the Princess Ishtar . Luckily, Mikhail Leang, MGM's (c)1995 engineering technician, was born 16 years ago and still up to now he doesn't believe in the word "hard." In fact, he banished the very word "hard" and all its various configurations from his vocabulary. For the benefit of everyone interested in space traveling, Mikhail invented another ingenious creation: a special space suit very much like a Spandex suit (one size fits all), that has the protection of a 1000 inch lead suit (excludes for the protection of the neck and head as of yet) but the fit, weight, and comfort of the suit of those worn by ballerinas! The only abnormally large thing to put on is the helmet which is attached to a specially designed life-support pack with a supply of enough densely compressed air (they are unmixed air--it is not pure oxygen nor is it breathable till the machine mixes the air suitable for breathing) to last 12 hours. Attached to both sides are two miniature battery and solar (the solar power will ideally not be used because by the time your solar cells have started collecting energy from the sun and converting it into useful energy, your head would have shriveled up to a prune and what would not have instantly evaporated would dribble down to your still-intact body) powered jets on the side which can be activated, via voice recognition or clapping (joke), in case of an accidental "fly-away." It was named the "Soviet Spandex Super Special Space for the Sun and Star Suit" or "S8." Mikhail admits to not being very good at naming his numerous inventions, as were his parents when he was born.
Despite humorous rumors, MGM (c)1995 has confirmed that, no, the toilets will not be equipped with automatic washing mechanisms but they have arms that wipe it. No, of course not. The only special things about the toilets is that they do not use water to fill their gaping mouths (the porcelain has also been changed to another lighter and stronger substance). When feces is released, a cushion of air catches it during its descent and it is guided down a tube to an area of the ship where the feces is thoroughly cleaned (chemically and naturally). Through the length of the travel the waste is sitting on a cushion of air, never touching the sides. The cushion of air is strong enough to carry a large cat and large enough for an average-sized Dalmatian and the travel is relatively short since the powerful cushion of air pushes the feces down the tube at an approximated speed of 40 miles an hour. The air is like a wall since it can resist the strongest releases of urine. You have to activate a button with computer voice recognition or hit a hidden sensor to start the cushion of air which will last as long as there is applied pressure on the lip of the toilet or until the feces reaches its destination. Of course, the air will then be reused, however, it will go through a number of filters to insure that the air does not stay stale.
In the same way, the water used for bathing, showering, washing, shaving, brushing, etc. will use the same "air-cushion" effect except they will have a different destination. All bathrooms will be equipped with the necessary "equipment" and all questions regarding available cosmetics should be directed to Gayle Mueléo Duarez, Avon specialist for MGM (c)1995 (Avon is also part of MGM (c)1995) who can be contacted toll-free at 1-800-AVON -MGM (c)1995 Gayle is also head of all companies that MGM (c)1995 owns which concerns anything about care for the face, hair, and beauty.
Dehydration will not and should not be a problem on board the Princess Ishtar . There is ten times as much water on board as is needed for all passengers for a month. However, all water must be recycled. Water cannot just be emptied out into space--well, the water can be disposed of but, in order for the Princess Ishtar to be successful, she must be able to successfully and continuously recycle the used water as her big sister, the Earth, does. If it can be proven that space colonies cannot effectively do this, then they would constantly need a fresh supply from a source; but a source will not always be available for future space colonies. Where MGM (c)1995 hopefully plans to send their future space colonies is a place far from Earth and even into the far reaches of the solar system. At this distance, getting water from Earth or Mars would not be wise. Instead, recycling would provide a way out of this crisis. Water will be recycled as it is done on Earth. It will go through an even longer process of cleaning to avoid any spread of diseases. Water from the toilets, bath, showers, etc. will go to a separate processing region where it will go through stricter cleaning processes while water from the sinks will go to another sector of the ship where they may go through a faster cleansing process. Naturally, the water will lose some of its flavor so natural minerals will also be added to the water to enhance the flavor. Special tap faucets can be obtained for water with no minerals in them. All water will be tested by highly sensitive equipment and any contaminated water will be sent back through the whole process. There will be no restrictions on water but there will be a certain point when the water level goes so far down that water may be restricted or even stopped until unpolluted water levels rise again. The process of recycling still must be perfected so that less than a cup of water will be lost every decade or so.
Agriculture also plays an important role in the space colony. As a living thing, the plants needed to provide food for the colonists need the same nourishment and care as humans do. They must be in the proper environment with the right conditions in order for them to grow in an ideal fashion. If the plants do not survive, neither do the colonists. The plants must be able to reproduce and must be provided with adequate artificial light. Irrigated water must also be kept clean in order to avoid unwanted mutations. If the water should become polluted, the plants may mutate into a worse crop or just die. However, there is always an extra store of seeds--enough for a yield the weight of 8,000,000,000 bushels of corn. There will be a wide variety of species of plants along the trip on the Princess Ishtar too. They not only provide a way to neutralize the carbon dioxide in the air and convert it into oxygen for the colonists to breath but they can also be great decoration and may actually make people feel better seeing something alive instead of the mass of electronic gizmos and gadgets.
All quarters on board the Princess Ishtar come "standard" with a 40" color TV which is approximated to receive +1,000 channels from every country of the world, radios that also receive clear receptions from satellites, non-CFC (chlorofluorocarbon; this substance is said to have been one of the major causes of the depletion of the protective ozone layer above the Earth) emitting printers and computers, cordless fluorescent lamps which can easily be placed at any spot in the room or carried, and many other electronic "whatchamacallits". All of the equipment will come complete with surround sound and, for the hearing impaired, captioning with customizable colors, icons, fonts, and pictures. All of the aforementioned will be removed if desired. To interest those who love computers, the next two lines should be read about what all of the computers come standard with:
99,000 MHz 99 Terrabyte HD 99 MB Memory 20" SVGA
100,000 Pre-installed Software Programs IBM / Apple Compatible
All computers housed in the normal quarters are also hooked up, through underground wiring, to the most advanced hyper super computers (each at least 40 million dollars apiece) located on board which have nearly unlimited storage capacity and which can also receive information from large data banks from Earth through the wonderful invention of the satellite. Of course the computers are useless without software. That's why Microsoft , Apogee , ID Software , Broderbund , Claris Works , and many other computer based software and hardware companies bought by MGM (c)1995 have donated and will continue to donate all of their latest software and games and will keep updating your computer library.
The printers try hard to keep up with the amazing computers--and they do a good job of it. They are all whisper quiet, laser-quality printers, built especially by Hewlett-Packard and Epsilon [formerly named Epson of Seiko Epson Corp.] (both are owned by MGM (c)1995) which spit out 30 pages of color-filled (over 200 million colors) pages a minute in 1200 x 1200 dot per inch quality. Printer toners and cartridges last for five years of continuous page-filled printing! All equipment is indeed standard in each of the rooms and all of them can be removed if desired. These printers are even more special than normal laser printers because they do not release the pungent odor of ozone every time they print making it an excellent printer for power hungry people and mild-mannered, but sensitive to smell, people.
Computers will also be assisting along with their human counterparts, the MGM (c)1995 staff. These computers, however, are much more powerful than the computers in the ordinary quarters. These are hyper super computers. Operating at 50 times the speed of ten of the world's fastest super computers combined, these computers are literally the brains of the colony. They will effectively rotate the colonies for maximum comfort and safety at about .01 rpm. The jobs of other hyper super computers are varied. There are many hyper super computers located throughout the ship, each one performing an important task. Each and every one of these hyper super computers are monitored by the second by humans. There are also backup hyper super computers in case a few should fail. There is one room in the ship which houses the master hyper super computer which is only operatable if most of the hyper super computers should fail. It can effectively take over the jobs over 75% of the most important and inoperable super computers on board. If, by some remote chance, like one to centillion to the tenth power, all computers fail to operate, there may be a problem. Granted no one may die but everything will be flying like crazy making objects potential hazards and plus, with no gravity to hold anything down to a certain point, even the waste will be floating around making it a very dirty experience or even a very deadly situation.
All the computers on board, however, have no learning capabilities. They will all be closely monitored by the MGM (c)1995 staff. Should a computer malfunction, they can be overridden by manual control and their jobs taken over by human ingenuity. The hyper super computers have no control whatsoever over the security weaponry located outside the ship which will be used to fire down asteroids should they come near. But, if a fire or disaster should occur, a hyper super computer can seal of that point of entry--whether or not there is a human present or not. Sealing off an area that is leaking air or has been damaged significantly is much more important than letting a few people survive. A leak in the colony could be disastrous and therefore the survival of the colony will at all times be considered higher than that of the lives of the human crew. If a disaster should occur, one human life is nothing compared to whole ship full of oxygen-depleted humans, plants, and animals.
The hyper super computers also have control, if it be needed, over how the power be divided. If there were to be a shortage in power, the hyper super computers have to divide the power, possibly shutting off all power on board and directing them to the hyper super computers which have the most important jobs on controlling the most important machinery (i.e., the rotation of the colony, air pressure, air/oxygen levels, etc.).
The Princess Ishtar will receive energy in many varieties and forms. The colony will receive part of its energy from its huge radiometers on the outside of the ship. These large radiometers are of alternating black and white colored diamond "vanes"--rhombuses. When the radiant energy from the Sun strikes the black vanes, they absorb the energy while the white vane does the opposite by reflecting the light (if you knew this, you probably wear brighter clothing when it is hot and darker colors when it is cold--well, it really does not matter what color of clothes you wear if the Sun isn't out). The white area(s) of the vane(s) tend(s) to turn away from the radiation, making the vane spin, even madly. This rotation would and could be used as an excellent source of energy for rotating the colonies. In addition, solar panels can be affixed to the black vanes to absorb the radiant energy and thus convert it to electricity for many other uses by the colonists. MGM (c)1995 had quite a time trying to figure out how to control the vanes but they found out a simple solution. The vanes were just like wheels in a car so naturally, they put brakes on the side--power disc brakes. A radiometer would not work too well in Earth unless it were enclosed in a 99% airtight container. However, in space there is almost no friction, just like in an airtight container, and the power of the Sun will also not be filtered through four layers of atmosphere and so the radiant energy will be quite powerful--enough to easily evaporate all of the Earth's water--oceans, rivers, and all. This brings us to the subject of shielding.
Shielding is quite an expensive thing to account for. It is very necessary for life to exist in the colonies. It not only protects the colony from the extreme cold of space but the deadly radiation emitted by the Sun through ultraviolet and gamma rays. Since, of course, there is no shielding for the colony as there is in the Earth, special artificial shielding needs to be developed to protect the colonists and possibly the equipment. This shielding must be composed of the finest, most durable material because it will cover the colony for a long time and act almost like the atmosphere in Earth. The shielding will consist of many layers of protective barriers including many many layers of lead to protect against radiation from the Sun. Shielding is expensive, no matter what materials are used. One solution was to use the surface of the Moon as shielding and it would be a lot cheaper since the distance to transport the materials to the colony would be a lot shorter than bringing them from Earth. With a shortage of money at hand, MGM (c)1995 decided that that would be a wise choice.
Another form of energy on board the Princess Ishtar might be nuclear energy since, at times, it can be the most reliable form. MGM (c)1995 has the knowledge, skill, and know-how to tap into the enormous benefits of nuclear power. However, it has, as of yet, not been decided. Nuclear energy is an incredible source for energy but the fuel needed (either plutonium or uranium) are extremely radioactive and, of course, makes them extremely dangerous. A teaspoon of each could easily kill everyone on board especially since the Princess Ishtar is an enclosed, 99.9999999% leak-proof aircraft. MGM (c)1995 is still looking for better reactors in releasing the nuclear energy for more efficiency and safety. They have a number of nuclear reactors but as of yet are still inoperable without its vital fuel of plutonium or uranium.
Humans were not created by God (or the Creator--if there really is one) to flourish alone. That was why he put him alongside animals on board spaceship Earth. Animals will always be a part of human life and culture. Domesticated animals and house pets will be allowed on board Princess Ishtar but they will have to go through a number of screening tests in order to make sure that they carry no viral diseases. These are just about the only animals, however, that will be allowed on board. Animals such as amphibians, large mammals, water dependant creatures, etc. will not be allowed in the space colonies. Perhaps in the future many other types of animals will be allowed to go on board special colonies made especially for animals. And even farther in the future, these special colonies will later become known as space zoos or space sanctuaries which people can visit when space travel becomes available and accessible. Till then, the colonists can always dream and read about these animals only in books and watch them on TV and hope that their blueprints can be saved before it is too late.
Playing all day can make even the most motivated and smartest people lazy (excludes Michael Bottom and Leong and Mikhail Leang). If any children are situated on the colonies, they must go regularly to school, as any child on Earth. The ratio of student to teacher is 15:1. About every 15 students will have seven teachers for seven subjects. Classes range from coloring and cooperating in pre-school with kind, mild-mannered teachers all the way to the most advanced mathematics and calculus and English classes with challenging professors. All classes have the same computers that can be found in the quarters.
All parents on board can get involved in a variety of things that they may have been interested in when on Earth but never got to try. They can master the arts of the culinary chef or become an expert architectural engineer. These classes are optional but all are encouraged to keep learning. After all, what they do on the colony can perhaps help them get jobs back on Earth when they return in 10 years.
Security on the Princess Ishtar will be conducted much like that on Earth, except on a much stricter basis. There will not only be special security patrols going around the ship around the clock but there will also be special agents disguised as passengers, for security purposes only. There will be hidden cameras as well as cameras that are not hidden at all. These cameras are strictly for security purposes as well. They will not be used to spy on people or listen in on their conversations. They are used for a variety of purposes such as making sure that no vandalism occurs or that there is no problem in a sector of the ship that the computer has not located or identified. If a person should so happen to be convicted of a crime, they can be locked up in their own quarters where not even the computers or anyone on board has access to except the three owners of MGM (c)1995 . They will not be charged with a conviction or tortured or anything. They will simply be placed on the next ship en route to Earth and will be considered the jurisdiction of the U.S. government. MGM (c)1995 will not tolerate any type, level, or form of violence or criminal offense on board the Princess Ishtar .
Another form of security, no less important than that on board the ship and maybe even more so, will be the security weaponry located outside the ship. They perform another important task needed for the survival of the ship and her contents. There will be special weaponry located outside the Princess Ishtar , possibly laser guided missiles or even lasers. They will not be controlled by computers but of course computers will aid their human associates in the identifying and centering on the target(s) approaching the ship, usually asteroids. The reason large asteroids don't fall on a regular basis on Earth and destroy every living thing in sight is because the Earth possesses a special protective suit, the atmosphere. Many of the asteroids that fall towards the Earth get incinerated in the atmosphere before they can impact. Shielding is used as the atmosphere for the Princess Ishtar . This, however, is not enough for an asteroid can easily rip into her and cause sure disaster. The effectiveness of the weaponry is rated at 96% accuracy and 93% effectiveness in destroying medium sized asteroids with diameters ranging from the size of a giant frog to an average upscale mansion.
No matter how much publicity they have received and how much they try to explain, MGM (c)1995 always faces the same questions always made by inquiring minds: 'Why floating and rotating space colonies in space?' or 'What about colonies that can be built in the Moon?' and maybe even 'What about Mars? When are we going to send ships over there?' These are very difficult questions but MGM (c)1995 believes that the choice of building colonies on neighboring bodies of planets or their moons is an unwise step for the next 500,000 millennium (500 million years) to 1,500,000 millennium (1.5 billion years), the predicted dates when the Sun, will become very unstable and begin rapidly expanding first into a red giant (BIG). After a while, the Sun will cool down but again expand into a red supergiant (VERY BIG) and finally degrade to a white dwarf no larger than the Earth. Of course, no one will be around to see these changes because every form of terrestrial life, including us, in the solar system will be dead by that time--unless we do something about it to ensure that our species lives on. The reasons why space colonies are more ideal than space bases, at the time being, are quite simple. The expected dates for the transformation of the Sun make many people angry that we are wasting money on something that isn't going to happen for a long time to come. MGM (c)1995 stresses the fact that procrastination--kills, literally. It makes people lazy and when the end is near (let's say--the due date for a project), rushing to accomplish the project before the intended date is commonplace. Rushing can usually lead to unnecessary foul-ups which in turn can result in disaster. Building space colonies now, without rushing, gives MGM (c)1995 the upper-hand and more time to construct models of space colonies and reconstruct even better and newer models out of the old ones.
Terra forming has once been introduced into the subject but terra forming, even with the right environment like the one found in Mars (lots of water which just needs to be melted and needs a proper atmosphere to protect from evaporation), can take hundreds, even thousands of years; years that many of us do not want to wait or truly can afford to wait. Space colonies, on the other hand, are truly achievable and have proven to be a feasible idea. It is still speculative whether life can exist deep underground Mars. Some scientists have said that if water were present far enough under the arid surface of Mars, there is a possibility of life. MGM (c)1995, however, has not taken the liberty of exploring this idea but believes that if Mars were able to support life, it would be an excellent outpost which they could possibly use as a base to setup another colony near Mars, instead of two rotating around the Earth.
Procrastination is not the only problem we Earthlings face even at this very moment. Asteroids, or meteors, pose a very serious threat to humans, even on Earth. As of now, only a handful of scientists are watching the vast expanse of the heavens, scanning for any misshapen meteor in a crash collision course with our Earth.
The movie, No Warning, which appeared on CBS, 9:00 to 11:00 P.M. on Sunday, October 30, 1994, painted a grim picture of what could indeed happen here in real life here on Earth as it was shown in a dramatic story. It was and odd movie but it can easily be applied to our reality. The actors were so real that anyone could have been fooled (like the radio show Invaders from Mars which was broadcast across the nation and scared the socks off many people way back when) until they were told, during a commercial, that what they were seeing was not real. Very shocking. No wonder no other channel had these "fast-breaking news flashes." The movie started off with some humans (scientists?) sending out a sort of message into space in hopes that someone or something would answer back. Someone or something must have answered with "geometric precision" by sending back not-too-big, non-destructive asteroids or meteors which emitted an eerie noise which played back the exact same message the humans had sent out. Then, about four large ones headed towards the Earth (still in geometric precision). Luckily, the people were spared an early death by some department of the military that was somehow able to destroy the foreign missiles before they could inflict damage that would surely have lead to catastrophe. People were elated when they thought they had beaten death. (All this time, two reporters were on the air, reporting this news live to the nation, all the way to the very end). The end was not quite so happy. Radar showed specks--thousands of them and presumably meteors or asteroids--from the heavens, heading towards the Earth at an increasing speed. It ended with transmission going off with one of the reporters staring sadly at the camera, knowing that a day far worse than Armageddon was at hand. The director of this movie sort of took another direction in the story. They introduced the possibility of extraterrestrials. Who else could have answered them? But then again the director was directing the movie under his opinion. There is as good a chance of their not being extraterrestrials in space as we think there are.
Extraterrestrials are indeed out there. The only reason that we have not received any signals or signs back from "the other side" is because when we send out our own signals, it takes time for it to get to the place we may want it. It may take thousands or even billions of light years for the signal to reach a destination (radio signals and broadcasts are not as fast as light). By that much time, the signal would probably have weakened significantly and it would not be strong enough to continue. When and if the signal is ever received, it may be answered, presumably by aliens. If indeed the aliens do answer, it would take them just as long to send their own messages back to us here on Earth and by the time it reaches us, another billion light years would have passed again and everyone on Earth might be long gone, including the whole solar system. That is why it is a foolish notion for even some humans to think that they are the only living beings in the whole universe (are there any of you left in this world?). Although the chances of having life on another planet is slim because, according to our knowledge of biology, life needs light, a right amount of oxygen and the correct mixture of air and the continuous exchange of gases by plants and animals, the vastness of the universe multiplies the chances of having life somewhere in the universe billions of times. Of course Earth was a very lucky planet. It would be easier to win the lottery a billion times than there being life out in the universe. But there is a possibility of extraterrestrials. Till they send their message to us after receiving our old television receptions (they will be watching old reruns of one of the first television shows like I Love Lucy), we will never know and by that time, we will probably be dead--unless there is some form or means of travel that is much faster than light...
Believe it or not, evolution can lead to the extinction of the human race. New viruses have been spreading around the world. These new viruses are smarter, more powerful, and perhaps more cunning. Because of the super antibiotics that we humans have created in our laboratories, many of the viruses affected by the antibiotics were forced to change their very forms and evolve into something that could adapt to the changing environment where at first the antibiotics ruled; an adept organism one step up in the evolutionary ladder (Darwin's theory of evolution). They had to make strains of themselves that were immune to the antibiotics so that they would not die and to ensure that their "species" live on. Their bodies changed so as to evade the effects of antibiotics. Many viruses have gotten smarter, so to speak. Their own bodies learned to not be affected by the antibiotics and, of course, newer strains of viruses were formed; each generation a little more immune to the antibiotics. Therefore, newer antibiotics must be created to destroy these more "intelligent" viruses. In the long run, the viruses might catch up with us and beat us in this war whose end is still not in sight. It might not be a very long time either. Antibiotics must be used wisely at the time being and newer antibiotics must be formed to protect us against these little critters who are as terrifying and horrible as war--perhaps even worse. Or we can simply outsmart the viruses, and separate ourselves from them entirely, leaving them with no host in which they can reproduce in and perhaps eventually leave them dancing with their own deaths.
Yet there are still many ancient viruses that have not been discovered, or classified for that matter, which have remained like bears under the ground, hibernating for thousands of years. These are not new viruses. They live deep in the ground. A long time ago, these viruses settled down and were covered by dirt and left in the ground while the whole world passed over them. These viruses are perhaps as old as the Earth itself. As old as old can get. Ancient as the very water that we drink. They are even much wiser than us and much better hunters of their prey--primates, including us humans. Other prey also include lions, pigs, birds, snakes, zebras, crocodiles, and even bacteria, among many others (pretty much all the animals excluding plants and trees and probably a few other species of animals).
When people clear trees in mass production, such as what many are doing in jungles and rain forests for land for their crops, they are potentially unleashing a force with which the likes of human beings have never experienced--or will never experience again when the slaughter has cleared. Many of the trees being cleared for farmland are completely uprooted from the ground and the dust is uprooted along with the trunk too; and along with the trunk and dust, the virus, which had come out of hibernation and was waiting, ready to ravage the world, a world dominated by a species not used to being dominated by another species or that had ever been dominated by another species. The virus. Nature's own way of cleaning itself of its deadly viruses. Humans. Uprooting and burning the trees also ruins the soil and leaves it susceptible to erosion.
Richard Preston has so accurately depicted in his non-fiction story, The Hot Zone, what could happen if the viruses were spread across the world. He specifically talked about the virus E. Bola virus, and its many forms, which is spread and infects humans through the air. The virus literally eats the insides of people up. The people eventually die--in only a few days or a week, vomiting what is left of their lifeless and black organs through any hole in their bodily orifices, be it their mouth, their anus, their eyes, ears, etc. They die gruesomely painful deaths, as you can well imagine. The E. Bola and its many different strains can ravage and completely destroy your body in ten days what it takes AIDS approximately ten years or more to do.
The E. Bola virus is just one airplane or cruise ship away from a potential disaster. If the virus were to arrive here in America, the virus would spread as fast as a wildfire, infecting millions in a single day and wiping out hundreds of thousands in a single week. This virus is similar to the Bubonic Plague which struck Europe in the 1300's and wiped about three-fourths of the population out. As of yet, there is no cure for the E. Bola virus. Unlike AIDS (Acquired Immune Deficiency Syndrome), E. Bola is quite hard to not catch if it ever lands here since it is transmitted via air (the E. Bola Zaire strain--the most deadly of its many sisters). AIDS, on the other hand, is avoidable, mostly through abstinence from sex. E. Bola is definitely a more serious and deadly virus but as of yet it is not as widely known as AIDS. People do not know the enormous danger this virus poses. AIDS arrived here in America through one man. One man! One single person! The AIDS virus rapidly spread out of control in perhaps only a month. Imagine how fast E. Bola would spread and leave behind its path of destruction. AIDS is 'child's play in comparison' with the E. Bola virus. The E. Bola virus has the contagiousness of influenza and the killer effects of the Bubonic Plague. When it arrives, the familiar child's rhyme "Ring around the rosy..." will be as serious as it was back in the 14th century.
Bacteria too have sprung up their offense for survival. For too long we humans have needlessly been using medicines advertised to help aid us in fighting off colds and flus when really, it is not too serious and we can simply let our immune system fight it naturally. Bacteria, like viruses, have learned to avoid being killed by medicines and have become immune to it. Soon bacteria may make a comeback as strong as the virus overwhelming our efforts to keep them at bay.
Recently also, a new movie has come out: Outbreak, as it is so aptly named. It is very much like Richard Preston's story but it provides a visual aid of what the effects of viruses could do. Widespread viruses can inflict not only pain and impending death on people but also panic. A whole nation full of panic-stricken people looking for a cure and finding only death. It would be impossible to quarantine a nation full of panicked people infected with a Biosafety level four contaminant. How long will it take before a virus the strength of E. Bola emerges and ravages the world more than five billion people strong?
Vice-president Al Gore also wrote a book called Earth in the Balance back when he was a senator. This is an excellent book which generally outlines all the potential natural disasters our world faces. He talks of the issues of pollution, ozone-depletion, the greenhouse effect, etc. The whole book is an explanation of man's wrong-doings and what should be done to remedy the current situation. This is further proof on why MGM (c)1995 should get a move on and start doing exactly what they've been talking and planning about for so long. As Richard Nixon put it so well, "The sky is no longer the limit." For indeed it isn't. Space makes the sky endless. There is virtually no end to the sky. The boundaries are immeasurable and incomparable.
Yet the Princess Ishtar is not the last goal of MGM (c)1995. MGM (c)1995 has already started planning the structure of a new space colony which will dwarf even the Princess Ishtar . Twice as complex and perhaps ten times more expensive, the new space colony will probably not be available or ready for public display until the year 2000. But MGM (c)1995 doesn't plan on keeping this project a secret. On June XX, 1995, as they did a year ago when they unveiled the Princess Ishtar , MGM (c)1995 will introduce a miniature model of their new space colony which incorporates even newer ideas and much better technology to thousands of scientists, astrophysicists, astronauts, etc. Their model will displayed at NASA -Ames in Mountain View along with other participants. MGM's (c)1995 ideas will be competing with Lockheed, GASA, NASA , Argo, and many other companies including other smaller divisions of MGM (c)1995. This however is not a competition between the big companies (MGM (c)1995, however, does own all the companies except GASA) but rather is a show of the latest technology of our time. It provides a sense of well-being to the people who watch the display. People who take a look at the new models are captivated by the new technology and at the same time are learning about space colonies. They begin to realize that space colonies are the future. Space colonies hold the future. That's it. Nothing more.
Look up at the sky, night or day. Imagine yourself on a plane, first going at the speed of a rocket as you look below at the Earth slowly disappearing beneath you. As you look out the window of your rocket, you place your thumb on the window and see that it easily covers the Earth. The only small, fragile, life-sustaining, and beautiful planet known to man. Soon you are traveling at 50 times the speed of sound and the other planets pass your sight. Mars. Jupiter. Saturn. Uranus. Neptune, then Pluto. You identify them all by each of their distinct characteristics. Then you are out of the solar system, yet you wonder when your trip will end. Your ship is now going at the speed of light. Finally, after millions of years you are able to see the galaxy where your solar system originated from. Now, traveling at 100,000 times the speed of light, you are able to pass a galaxy every second. You coast by nebulas, quasars, black holes, super novas, and all the stuff you read about that you find in space but still your ride does not end; and it never will. Space is so vast that it is indeed the final frontier but it is, as of yet, a world unexplored and not wholly understood and it will never be quite explored. Space will always remain a mystery with secrets waiting to be solved. It is so vast that new mysteries await to be unlocked and discovered before old ones are ever solved. It is the last great mystery and truly the greatest conquest that man will ever partake in for centuries, perhaps for eternity which only time and space will tell.
DHL (c)1994 - MGM (c)1995 - Princess Ishtar (c)1995 - All
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Curator: Al Globus
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