May 4, 2007
So scientists are all excited because they’ve discovered a new planet that, they claim, is so much like Earth some of them are calling it "a new Earth", mainly because there’s a hope of a chance of good odds of a probability of water on this planet. I think they’re jumping the gun a bit here. First of all these are probably some of the same scientists who decided Pluto was no longer a planet. It’s big, it’s round, it orbits the Sun, so what is it? A bagel? Actually I think that demoting Pluto was a good idea. I don’t have anything against Pluto, but it was about time school textbooks got revised. When I was in high school my science book had a chapter called, "Will We Ever Reach The Moon?" It was right after the chapter about how the flu is caused by an excess of yellow choler.
But I digress. And let’s consider some of the other facts. This planet is orbiting a red dwarf star. Now, Red Dwarf might have been very funny, but do you really want to live in a British science fiction television show? This planet is also 20.5 light years away. That’s roughly one-hundred and twenty trillion miles (do not attempt–stunt professional on closed course) and that’s one unbelievable road trip. Even if you have one of those newfangled mp3 players (I’m thinking of trading in my Victrola myself) that holds the equivalent of 38,000 CDs you’d need a whole case of those things just to have enough music to get you through the trip. And believe me: you’d want it. I was once on a long bus trip where the only tape we had to listen to was The Joshua Tree. After a while I couldn’t sleep because I was having nightmares of Bono showing me his spoon collection.
But I digress. This planet also has gravity 2.2 times stronger than Earth’s. If you think you need to diet now you’d never eat again once you more than doubled your weight just by stepping onto a new planet. And can you imagine trying to move your stuff there? I’ve helped friends move because they’ve said those three little words–"beer and pizza"–but I’m not sure I’d want to help anyone move to a place where everything was 2.2 times heavier, not even if their apartment building has an elevator. Imagine just trying to get the refrigerator into place and then, after you’ve done that, realizing you forgot to plug it in. Still, these scientists could be wrong. After all these are the same people who are trying to tell us Pluto is a bagel.