Now You See It…
On the nightly news, the population were kept up to date with the latest efforts to try to divert the massive fifteen kilometre wide revolving rock as it continued on its collision path with Earth. For the first time in the history of the troubled planet, all the governments around the world put aside their political, military, and religious differences. They all agreed on one thing, all life on the planet was about to end! The Earth’s nemesis was a planet killer and it would be here in less than eight weeks. The scientists constantly monitored its speed and trajectory as it drew near.
The armed forces of the world did what they could to try to calm the Earth’s population. But in many countries, the people were simply too scared and had a deep mistrust of the military after enduring years of brutality at the hands of the very men who were now trying to help them. The nuclear powers still thought they might be able to nudge the giant rock away by setting off a volley of nuclear blasts close to it. When the scientists pointed out that to achieve the goal, the entire nuclear arsenal of the world would be needed, the world’s senior military vetoed the idea. The idiots firmly believed they still needed their nuclear arms to maintain military authority!
Then one night on a live television broadcast, three young children who had won an essay competition were given the chance to ask questions about living in space to the men and women operating the large international space station orbiting the earth. One young primary school child in her innocence solved the world’s problem. If it couldn’t be blown up, why couldn’t rockets be sent to it, stick them onto the side of it, and simply push it away!
With less than six weeks left before the life extinction event occurred, large satellite launch rockets, sat at three American, Russian, and French launch sites in readiness. Inside their payload bays, hurriedly redesigned ICBM rockets with specially adapted nose sections, replacing their nuclear warheads, were put through their final checks. The combined operation would be handled by the European Space Agency, once the rockets were simultaneously launched by their three launch controls.
The Earth’s nemesis was steadily closing. Time was of the essence. The three giant rockets successfully lifted off and climbed to a predetermined rendezvous point and control was handed over to the ESA. Each of the rockets would release their payload at prearranged points close to the large spinning asteroid.
The ICBM’s would then continue the short twenty-eight kilometre journey to the asteroid’s surface under thruster power where their redesigned nose sections would drill their way into the surface of the asteroid using powerful lasers. After the anchor holes were drilled, bolts would be fired into the holes to secure the ICBM’s into place. Once this was done, all three rockets would be fired simultaneously and hopefully nudge the giant asteroid a few metres away from its present path.
Everything went like clockwork. The world’s population watched the entire event live on television beamed around the world by satellite. No one bothered to go to work. In effect the world stopped. The only thing that mattered now was those three rockets. The world waited anxiously as the signal to fire the three rockets was given. For a few precious seconds nothing happened. Then via the cameras aboard the delivery rockets, the world watched anxiously as they ignited and rapidly built up to full power. The combined thrust of the three rockets continued for nearly an hour. Then like their smaller cousins in a firework display, they fizzled and died. The world held its breath until the trajectory of the giant asteroid had been recalculated.
Approximately five hours after the rockets ceased, the physicists delivered the results. The operation had been successful the world was safe! The giant spinning solid rock asteroid would graze the outer atmosphere causing minimal damage as it passed by. The primary school child was hailed as a hero and honoured by the world’s leaders. Now that the danger was over, the world once again resumed its normal daily life. Then the unthinkable happened.
Instead of grazing the Earth’s outer atmosphere, the asteroid hit the back surface of the moon in a perfect billiard’s cannon shot slightly shifting the moon’s orbit. Tides suddenly changed, winds whipped up into a ferocity never before witnessed as the Earth’s satellite drew nearer. The equilibrium between the Earth and the moon was now in total chaos. The moon’s new orbital path was calculated and it was determined that it would encounter the Earth’s atmosphere over the Pacific ocean in twenty-seven days, fifteen hours and thirty-seven minutes.
Among the billions of floating pieces of debris, spreading out from the catastrophic event lay the battered remains one of the delivery rockets. Its solar powered camera still functioned. It automatically focused on a small object a few metres in front of its lens. It was a wristwatch. As the sun’s rays illuminated it before destroying it, the hands of the dial were frozen at the date and time of impact. The world had ended at eleven minutes past nine on all fools day.
Rather appropriate really…