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Earth A Rogue Planet? A Wandering World?

Well, there's no lack of imagination in this story!

In about 5 billion years, the sun will die.

But as it ages, it will get brighter and hotter, and by about 500 million years from now, our star will have heated Earth beyond redemption. But is there any way to save our planet from its disastrous demise?

Indeed, there is. Our distant descendants could steal energy from Jupiter's orbit and give it to Earth. But if they got it wrong, they'd send our planet careening out of the solar system.

To save Earth, we'd have to raise its orbit, keeping it safely away from the ever-angrier sun. Raising Earth's orbit would require energy, but thankfully, our solar system has heaps of energy available in the form of Jupiter's orbit.

Science fiction writers have had lots of fun with this idea over the years. One of the earliest is this description of wandering worlds from When Worlds Collide, a 1932 yarn by Edwin Balmer and Philip Wylie.

Bronson's calculations revealed to him that these wandering spheres would pass very close to the earth, make a circuit of our sun, and turn back toward space and infinity. The larger of the two wandering worlds would strike and annihilate the earth. Finer and more delicate calculations tended to show that the smaller body, which was of the same magnitude as the earth, would be "caught" by the sun and held in an orbit between the courses of Mars and Venus...

It was probably golden age great Edmond Hamilton who had the idea for moving worlds and rearranging solar systems, since he wrote about steering a star in his 1928 classic Crashing Suns.

For more details on how sf authors thought about how to restructure solar systems, take a look at Moving Whole Planets, Revisited.

Check out this true story - A Rogue Planet - Right In Our Neighborhood!.

See also the Xenephrene Interstellar World from A Brand New World (1942) by Ray Cummings, the rogue planet from Poul Anderson's 1967 novel Satan's World and the rogue world from George R.R. Martin's 1977 novel Dying of the Light.

Scroll down for more stories in the same category. (Story submitted 7/11/2023)

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