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Durakken
2012-Dec-06, 12:03 AM
In 2029 Apophis hits the key hole and the impact in 2036 is 100%
During this 7 years various efforts are made...
#1. Underground
#2. Near Earth Orbit space stations
#3. Multi-generational seed ships sent to various stars
#4. Experimental warp drive seed ships

From this starting idea I've thought that it might be cool to explore this 7 years dramatically... but I think it would be fun to also explore what happens after and how Humanity falls along several paths as they are forced out into the galaxy or forced to deal with surviving around earth in inhospitable conditions.

Just had this basic idea earlier today so not very far developed ^.^ anyone else think this would be interesting?

Van Rijn
2012-Dec-06, 12:26 AM
In 2029 Apophis hits the key hole and the impact in 2036 is 100%
During this 7 years various efforts are made...
#1. Underground
#2. Near Earth Orbit space stations
#3. Multi-generational seed ships sent to various stars
#4. Experimental warp drive seed ships


Out of those, maybe (1) would make some sense, and that would be limited. Apophis isn't that big. If it were going to hit, it would be important to determine exactly where. That can be tricky, but it would probably be nailed down at least weeks ahead of time. If it's going to hit ocean (likely since so much surface is covered by ocean) there would be mass evacuation of coastal areas. If land, the best thing would be again to evacuate, and it would be quite a large area.

The bigger issue would be to plan for rapid evacuation and societal disruption, and to store large amounts of food, water, fuel, and other supplies to be used during the crisis period.

As for the other options - not enough time for (2), (3) is unneccessary and impractical, and (4) is physically impossible (and even if somebody discovered a new principle tomorrow, there would still be no time to develop it, let alone start to explore with it).

Durakken
2012-Dec-06, 12:41 AM
Out of those, maybe (1) would make some sense, and that would be limited. Apophis isn't that big. If it were going to hit, it would be important to determine exactly where. That can be tricky, but it would probably be nailed down at least weeks ahead of time. If it's going to hit ocean (likely since so much surface is covered by ocean) there would be mass evacuation of coastal areas. If land, the best thing would be again to evacuate, and it would be quite a large area.

The bigger issue would be to plan for rapid evacuation and societal disruption, and to store large amounts of food, water, fuel, and other supplies to be used during the crisis period.

As for the other options - not enough time for (2), (3) is unneccessary and impractical, and (4) is physically impossible (and even if somebody discovered a new principle tomorrow, there would still be no time to develop it, let alone start to explore with it).

I would assume at least a continuation of where we are now so it wouldn't be that hard to build Space stations or expand them, or build new space spaces given that this 17 years away and we're presuming that decent amount of trying to get things built up for tourism so it wouldn't take much to redirect capital into NEO stations and seed ships...

Experimental Warp drive... there are theories out there now that proposes that a warp can be created using strangelets or something like that and can make up to 32x light speed possible. I'd presume that the theory is right and that some might try this out as a "trying all possibilities" it's there might as well try it type thing.

the underground stuff really wouldn't need development since there is tons of it already and so they'd be a "ok we have that, but there is a we can only dig and build so much no matter how much money and time we have" and so there are multiple projects and multiple things happening...

Of course if they could get 3 and 4 working you'd assume they could use it to dodge the asteroid. In that situation, given whichever path the story goes the end would be either it works or Deus ex Machina makes it worse ^.^

Nowhere Man
2012-Dec-06, 12:57 AM
Moonfall by Jack McDevitt. Similar premise, larger impactor (the Moon or bits thereof), shorter time frame.

Fred

Durakken
2012-Dec-06, 02:09 AM
Moonfall by Jack McDevitt. Similar premise, larger impactor (the Moon or bits thereof), shorter time frame.

Fred

well that pushes me to post impact, but pre-impact would still be an interesting drama of some sort to do.

Jens
2012-Dec-06, 02:16 AM
As for the other options - not enough time for (2), (3) is unnecessary and impractical, and (4) is physically impossible (and even if somebody discovered a new principle tomorrow, there would still be no time to develop it, let alone start to explore with it).

Yeah, but the story is supposed to be science fiction, not non-fiction, so I think that (4) might be developed because there is a mad genius working in a hut at the top of a mountain in Colorado who has figured out something very important about the workings of the universe. Of course, he doesn't want to participate, being very cynical, but the beautiful secret agent manages to get him on board.

Seriously, though, my criticism is that with all these options, you're going to have a huge, lifeless cast of characters. I think you'd be better off ruling out all the options except 4 for whatever reason. Apophis is actually bigger than we thought, and will sterilize the earth. So 1 is out, and 2 and 3 are impractical. But 4 would be possible if only we can get that genius on board!

Durakken
2012-Dec-06, 02:24 AM
Yeah, but the story is supposed to be science fiction, not non-fiction, so I think that (4) might be developed because there is a mad genius working in a hut at the top of a mountain in Colorado who has figured out something very important about the workings of the universe. Of course, he doesn't want to participate, being very cynical, but the beautiful secret agent manages to get him on board.

Seriously, though, my criticism is that with all these options, you're going to have a huge, lifeless cast of characters. I think you'd be better off ruling out all the options except 4 for whatever reason. Apophis is actually bigger than we thought, and will sterilize the earth. So 1 is out, and 2 and 3 are impractical. But 4 would be possible if only we can get that genius on board!

lol. Well the origination point is mutation of the Titan AE story line without the aliens killing the earth. So following the seed ships is the main idea... but i like the pre-impact idea and the idea that at some point in the future the non warp drive having humans survive and then make their way out into the universe too.

cjameshuff
2012-Dec-06, 03:47 AM
To make space stations a useful approach to the problem would require a much larger impact that actually renders Earth incapable of supporting life for an extended period. We're not talking about a climate shift due to airborne dust...we're talking disruption of a magnitude that makes major surface activities impractical. Even in extreme cases where the landmasses are rendered uninhabitable due to earthquakes and volcanism, cities and greenhouse farms floating in the deep ocean would be fairly safe, so it pretty much needs to be bad enough that Earth doesn't have oceans any more. Given such prospects, a focused effort might get a sizable population off-planet, perhaps with near-term plans of moving them to the moon or Mars and a mad scramble to bootstrap off-planet industry so they actually have a chance of long-term survival.

Evacuation to another solar system would only be reasonable if our entire solar system was rendered uninhabitable. And if that happened in 2036, about all you could hope for is sending records and genetic material to a possibly-inhabited star system. You're talking about events 24 years from now. The Shuttle started flying over 30 years ago, and the SLS, if money is allocated to actually operate it, will launch its last flight in 2032. Fortunately, you no longer have any reason for setting events in 2036, as it couldn't be anything to do with Apophis.

As for warp drive, there's simply nothing known that would get us anywhere close to building an experimental warp drive in 2036 or any other timeframe. Strangelets aren't an answer, they are themselves hypothetical. Even if some completely unforeseeable developments led to a practical warp drive, an interstellar colony craft would be enormously complex, and you want it designed, built, supplied, and colonists loaded in 7 years. And they'll realistically need to do this in addition to what they'd need to settle other locations in the solar system, except they'll need to take it all with them to an unexplored system.

Durakken
2012-Dec-06, 05:21 AM
Let's say worst case scenario... The asteroid hits say somewhere in africa or Asia. This causes shockwaves around the world which trigger the Yellowstone Super volcano to blow. A dual blow hitting tech and population centers (china/india consisting of 5-6 billion people and the US have most of the food production zone and tech development zones)

I think tourism will make space more quickly reachable and with the fact that we need to put all our efforts into surviving we throw money and materials and whatever else we can to get into space with whatever we can. So part of it is there the other part is expanding it and pretty much all industry stops and is thrown into one of the 3 solutions. They're not perfectly constructed but at that point it is more about getting space available than it is about anything else. 6 billion people could be evacuated to the US, but there is the matter that space is seen as a luxury and to some degree it would be wrong in their eyes to send refugees to a luxury place so you American's leaving earth in place of asians while at the same time many asians are being sent into space as refugees... it's a heated debate.

Why not build a moon base? Presumably if you are going to do that it is going to be long term or more sturdy and during the 7 years you are more interested in getting people off the planet and supplies. So I like the idea, but instead of having that directly in the plans a we build a moon base I think it would be more reasonable to have a wait and see attitude. Once the super volcano hits it is decided to set up the moon base. We'll forgo the space station and just have large ships being built... more like empty pressurized tin cans than anything flight worthy. Maybe have some sort of magnetized floor and dispense magnetic shoes...something like that.

Once the asteroid hits and some start to move to the moon, some also decide "we don't know how long the world will be like that...it could be thousands of years or never...we need to see about solidifying our ship and getting to a new planet." Of these groups some also try out experimental drives all with dangers that may not work, may work but may have problems later on, or may blow up the ships. So warp ships are built, ion drive ships are built, solar sail ships are built, and any other system they can think of they use.

As time passes some humans are considered vagabonds by alien communities... Some are invaders... some like the ship life and decide to create a star base based empire. Back on Earth the moon base sends resource cargo ships to earth to briefly get resources and get back home. They become more barbaric as their supplies are limited and it is very easy to control the population through the fact that there are so many dangers and balances that have to be maintained and there is really no way off the moon till Earth recovers. The people underground develop a more peaceful civ due to needing to work together, but there isn't much that needs to be maintained in balance and it's kinda hard to kick someone out but at the same time it's not altogether impossible for them to survive outside anyways so if they were to kick people out those people may become a threat or something so it's not a good idea.

that seems reasonable to me...

Jens
2012-Dec-06, 05:29 AM
Are you thinking of writing a story, or a fictional history textbook from the future?

Durakken
2012-Dec-06, 07:09 AM
More along the lines of "We has ship...ooooh aliens. Got any cheese? Do you know what I'm saying? You got death ray. ha! I know kung fu and +10 to charisma! I keel you! Steal yo womens too! On to the next star chinaman, blind guy, kid, criminal, or cowboy!"

For those of you who get the reference... sorry space stations don't have pilots v.v

Elukka
2012-Dec-06, 10:29 AM
Flying to the stars to escape Apophis would be like fleeing to another continent because you saw a spider in your room and you're afraid of spiders. It's not exactly a planet killer.
Aliens destroying Earth is probably a more reasonable scenario.

Van Rijn
2012-Dec-07, 12:20 AM
Let's say worst case scenario... The asteroid hits say somewhere in africa or Asia. This causes shockwaves around the world which trigger the Yellowstone Super volcano to blow. A dual blow hitting tech and population centers (china/india consisting of 5-6 billion people and the US have most of the food production zone and tech development zones)


It's not big enough to do that, and more important for a story, nobody would be expecting that.

They would have seven years to prepare. That isn't enough time to make any significant space effort, and in any event that would just pull resources from more reasonable preparations. They MIGHT try to alter its path, though with the limited time that would be difficult. They certainly would want to get as accurate measurements as possible, so they could prepare for an ocean or land hit, and know where to evacuate. Of course, attempting to change its path could cause problems there.

Click Ticker
2012-Dec-07, 05:56 PM
Stephen Baxter handled a similar build up to, "the end of the world as we know it is coming, how does humanity survive it" in the books, "Flood" and "Ark". Although the destruction of all the land came about in a different way than the OP's premise, it did give nearly 50 years lead time and allow for the construction of various Arks.

Lots of characters, all very purpose built and shallow. Lot's of geographical description as well. Very wordy. That being said, I liked the books. Wouldn't mind seeing more in the series following up on the survivors.

cjameshuff
2012-Dec-07, 07:06 PM
Let's say worst case scenario... The asteroid hits say somewhere in africa or Asia. This causes shockwaves around the world which trigger the Yellowstone Super volcano to blow. A dual blow hitting tech and population centers (china/india consisting of 5-6 billion people and the US have most of the food production zone and tech development zones)

That's not bad enough. Your scenario kills most of the human population, but leaves Earth quite habitable. You need to make things bad enough that it's no longer feasible to do anything on Earth.

And as Van Rijn said, nobody would have any reason to be prepared for this. In your scenario, people won't have any reason to try to evacuate to space stations before the catastrophe, and won't be able to after.



I think tourism will make space more quickly reachable and with the fact that we need to put all our efforts into surviving we throw money and materials and whatever else we can to get into space with whatever we can. So part of it is there the other part is expanding it and pretty much all industry stops and is thrown into one of the 3 solutions. They're not perfectly constructed but at that point it is more about getting space available than it is about anything else. 6 billion people could be evacuated to the US, but there is the matter that space is seen as a luxury and to some degree it would be wrong in their eyes to send refugees to a luxury place so you American's leaving earth in place of asians while at the same time many asians are being sent into space as refugees... it's a heated debate.

It's not at all clear what you're saying here. Why would Asia evacuate to the site of a supervolcano that's rendering the entire planet unlivable? What's all this about space being a luxury? We're talking about cludged-together habitats that are the only option for survival, aren't we?



Why not build a moon base? Presumably if you are going to do that it is going to be long term or more sturdy and during the 7 years you are more interested in getting people off the planet and supplies. So I like the idea, but instead of having that directly in the plans a we build a moon base I think it would be more reasonable to have a wait and see attitude. Once the super volcano hits it is decided to set up the moon base. We'll forgo the space station and just have large ships being built... more like empty pressurized tin cans than anything flight worthy. Maybe have some sort of magnetized floor and dispense magnetic shoes...something like that.

Moon base or space stations, it doesn't matter. How are you going to get people off-planet while a supervolcano is destroying the world? This is something you need to have already done by the time the supervolcano goes off. And you haven't given any reason for people to have done it.



Once the asteroid hits and some start to move to the moon, some also decide "we don't know how long the world will be like that...it could be thousands of years or never...we need to see about solidifying our ship and getting to a new planet." Of these groups some also try out experimental drives all with dangers that may not work, may work but may have problems later on, or may blow up the ships. So warp ships are built, ion drive ships are built, solar sail ships are built, and any other system they can think of they use.

An entire solar system in front of them, and they abandon it in a half-baked attempt to go to another star...why? With what? An improvised station meant to temporarily hold evacuees is not an interstellar starship, or something you can reasonably assume to be equipped to build one. Given a situation that allows such an evacuation, focus will be on getting basic industry going so they can actually survive, and if they manage that, there's the entire solar system open for colonization before they have any reason to think about something as risky, difficult, and expensive as going to another star.



As time passes some humans are considered vagabonds by alien communities... Some are invaders... some like the ship life and decide to create a star base based empire. Back on Earth the moon base sends resource cargo ships to earth to briefly get resources and get back home. They become more barbaric as their supplies are limited and it is very easy to control the population through the fact that there are so many dangers and balances that have to be maintained and there is really no way off the moon till Earth recovers.

What does Earth's recovery have to do with getting off the moon? What resources would ships have to go to Earth to get, and if they can get to Earth's surface and back, why couldn't they go elsewhere to get them?



The people underground develop a more peaceful civ due to needing to work together, but there isn't much that needs to be maintained in balance and it's kinda hard to kick someone out but at the same time it's not altogether impossible for them to survive outside anyways so if they were to kick people out those people may become a threat or something so it's not a good idea.

...huh? This doesn't make any sense. Not much that needs to be maintained in balance, in an enclosed system with extremely limited resources? Survive outside? As in, on the lunar surface, alone? How is this not impossible to survive?



that seems reasonable to me...

Sorry, but it really doesn't seem reasonable at all. It's a chain of improbable events, actions without any motivation, and absurdly unrealistic assumptions of capabilities. Seriously, post-disaster evacuees aboard a hastily constructed habitat with near-future technology and no industrial base converting it to a starship with a warp drive?

starcanuck64
2012-Dec-07, 07:40 PM
I had an idea for what I thought would be a good impact disaster story from a dream years ago.

The basic premise was a lunar expert who had a radical idea about the moons inner structure planned on exploding large amounts of anti-matter in a deep shaft in the lunar crust as a seismic sounding charge. Other academics were warning him this would fracture the moon and bring about a devastating bombardment of the Earth as pieces of it rained down on the planet. The expert decides that no one else knows what they're talking about and sets off the charge. Of course it fractures the moon into billions of pieces, and human kind is forced to go underground and learn to live under a very hostile sky. It was one of the most vivid dreams I can remember and some of the images have still stuck with me.

I don't know how plausible it would be, you'd need a lot of anti-matter to fracture something the size of the moon and I think we have a pretty good idea of its inner structure now, but I always thought the idea would make an interesting story if told well.

Durakken
2012-Dec-07, 08:03 PM
stuff

Apophis hit the key hole and we have 7 years to plan for the impact.
Evacuating the area is necessary. The obvious point of evacuation is America (the other side of the planet)
Population in America goes from 300 million to 6 billion.
People obviously realize this is a bad thing and so some are instead evacuated into space while Americans view space as luxery so they send themselves to space.
As the evacuation occurs the already thriving space tourism industry that already has space stations and ships are forced into growing to accommodate this.

So that gets people into space and into space stations and having cruise space ships.

The Super volcano doesn't go off while people are evacuating... They've already evacuated a bunch of people as a measure against Apophis. When Apophis hits it triggers yellowstone.

This would make the earth uninhabitable for at least a quarter century perhaps even longer than a century. In this time people turn to those other options. That was my though. Even if the earth is only uninhabitable for a short time there is still the problem of landing which I'm pretty you could argue that just building on the moon or trying to find some place with an already decently advanced civilization, or a planet in better condition, would make things easier to land and get back up or to settle in general. Or at least the thought would pass through some of the minds of the people remaining.

cjameshuff
2012-Dec-07, 09:06 PM
Evacuating the area is necessary. The obvious point of evacuation is America (the other side of the planet)
Population in America goes from 300 million to 6 billion.
People obviously realize this is a bad thing and so some are instead evacuated into space while Americans view space as luxery so they send themselves to space.

This is not reasonable. No matter how successful space tourism is, it is much cheaper to move people to another part of the planet, and you have limited time and resources with which to move them and prepare accommodations. There is no reason for anyone to evacuate to space, the same resources would support them in much greater comfort and security on the ground.



So that gets people into space and into space stations and having cruise space ships.

Except this particular disaster doesn't. You need a threat that clearly has potential to make the planet uninhabitable. Without your world-ending aftereffects, they might feel inclined to do so after the impact, but they will be too busy dealing with the imminent but not-apparently-world-ending disaster in the 7 years you give. Apophis isn't enough, make it a rogue outer-system planetoid or something else that makes it clear that the planet is not going to be a survivable environment.



The Super volcano doesn't go off while people are evacuating... They've already evacuated a bunch of people as a measure against Apophis. When Apophis hits it triggers yellowstone.

Except evacuation isn't a useful measure against Apophis, so they wouldn't have done it. Preparation for an Apophis impact would be things like:


Evacuation of part of a continent, to other parts of the continent (not to the other side of the world).
Construction of protected shelters near the possible areas of impact for those who can't evacuate ahead of time.
Massive stockpiling of food and medical supplies and construction of greenhouses to ensure a supply of food during the following climate disruptions (which are actually likely to be minor, but might reduce crop losses due to the dust itself).
Widespread training to handle emergency situations that might result from the impact, to find and properly distribute supplies, re-establish communication and government, etc.
Mass deployment of satellite communication gear.


"Evacuate to orbit" just isn't on the list.



This would make the earth uninhabitable for at least a quarter century perhaps even longer than a century.

So what if it does? That's nothing. It'd likely take at least that long to get reasonably securely established off-planet, and the population at that point will consist largely of people who've lived most or all of their lives off-planet. They're just not going to be building and launching starships immediately after losing their whole industrial and agricultural base and most of their population.



In this time people turn to those other options. That was my though. Even if the earth is only uninhabitable for a short time there is still the problem of landing which I'm pretty you could argue that just building on the moon or trying to find some place with an already decently advanced civilization, or a planet in better condition, would make things easier to land and get back up or to settle in general. Or at least the thought would pass through some of the minds of the people remaining.

Building starships and then finding, traveling to, and getting assistance from an alien civilization on a planet in a distant star system because they can't figure out how to land on Earth without a spaceport?!? This is not believable or reasonable at all.

Rhaedas
2012-Dec-07, 09:27 PM
I had an idea for what I thought would be a good impact disaster story from a dream years ago.

The basic premise was a lunar expert who had a radical idea about the moons inner structure planned on exploding large amounts of anti-matter in a deep shaft in the lunar crust as a seismic sounding charge. Other academics were warning him this would fracture the moon and bring about a devastating bombardment of the Earth as pieces of it rained down on the planet. The expert decides that no one else knows what they're talking about and sets off the charge. Of course it fractures the moon into billions of pieces, and human kind is forced to go underground and learn to live under a very hostile sky. It was one of the most vivid dreams I can remember and some of the images have still stuck with me.

I don't know how plausible it would be, you'd need a lot of anti-matter to fracture something the size of the moon and I think we have a pretty good idea of its inner structure now, but I always thought the idea would make an interesting story if told well.

Reminds me of a scene from the last Time Machine movie. Great line..."We went too far."

What if you had the experiment (or maybe a different, more exotic one) not fracture the Moon, but dramatically affect its orbit, so it quickly drifts inwards past Roche's limit. Two questions would be, what would it take and from where to lose enough of the Moon's velocity to come back towards Earth in a reasonable span for the plot, and when it breaks up, would the pieces continue the path inward to provide the falling skies main plot device?

Back to the OP's thoughts. As many have said, Apophis just isn't big enough, so either a rogue planetoid, or maybe like the above, somehow using something to make the Moon, a convenient large body, become the danger.

cjameshuff
2012-Dec-07, 09:36 PM
What if you had the experiment (or maybe a different, more exotic one) not fracture the Moon, but dramatically affect its orbit, so it quickly drifts inwards past Roche's limit. Two questions would be, what would it take and from where to lose enough of the Moon's velocity to come back towards Earth in a reasonable span for the plot, and when it breaks up, would the pieces continue the path inward to provide the falling skies main plot device?

The moon would have to come within about 1.5 Earth radii, from its current orbit of 57-64 Earth radii. Any single event that came close to doing that would probably send lots of pieces within 1 Earth radius.

publiusr
2012-Dec-08, 07:50 PM
I want to see an asteroid hit the moon at a very shallow angle, skipping and bits rolling along.

Chuck
2012-Dec-09, 03:16 PM
Something that could change the moon's rotation a little would be nice so we could see the other side sometimes.