Wednesday, October 31, 2012


Our seventh planet from the sun has been known about since ancient times, but most of the ancients thought it was a star, as only a dim point of light is visible from earth.    In the 1970s, we got our first good look at it, and what we saw was a dull green-grey sphere.   However, this planet has a greater significance.

Uranus is one of the odder planets in the solar system.   It has a much greater axis of rotation, being either 96 or 106 degrees, depending on which of the two definitions you are using.   If you are basing it on the way the planet rotates, and assuming the rightwards based rotation  is the north pole, then it's 106 degrees.  It's the coldest planet in the solar system.  There is one planet further way, Neptune, and the numerous dwarf planets beyond like Pluto, but these have additional internal heat from radioactivity that warm them up.

But soon enough on geological time, Uranus will have to become our home.   In one billion years, our home star will become a red giant star.   The innermost planets will be incinerated, and if we can't move the earth in time, it will be charred into a lifeless glowing rock.   And we too would be baked if we can't move the earth in time.

When the red giant phase is complete, the habitable zone, currently in our orbit, will have moved to the Uranus orbit.   I'd like to believe that we'll move the earth into being a new moon, but in all practicality, we'll probably just abandon the earth and rebuild on the various moons that are already there.

We'll need energy, in greater quantities than I can readily imagine, and technology that I can't even dream of, but we have a billion years to do it.

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