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"The point sticks in your head: physics rules. Virtue does not triumph unless the physics allows it."
- Larry Niven

Straightening the Earth's Poles  
  By means of a suitable force, push the Earth until the planet's axis of rotation is perpendicular to the ecliptic.  

The climate of the Earth would be much more regular, without seasons, if only the planet's axis of rotation was not angled at 23.4 degrees to the plane of the planet's orbit around the sun (Earth's axial tilt). As far as I know, this is the earliest use of this idea in science fiction.

The operation which is being tried by President Barbicane and Capt. Nicholl is as follows:

The production of a recoil, on the 22d of September, at midnight, by means of a cannon a million times larger in volume than the cannon of twenty-seven centimetres, throwing a projectile of 180,000 tons, with a powder giving it a velocity of 2,800 kilometres.

Now, if this shooting takes place below the equatorial line, nearly on the thirty-fourth degree of latitude west of the meridian of Paris, at the foot of Kilimanjaro, and if it is directed towards the south, these are the mechanical effects which it will have on the earth’s sphere: Instantly, in consequence of the shock acting with the daily movement a new axis will be formed and, as the old axis will be displaced to the amount of twenty-three degrees and twenty-eight minutes, according to the figures obtained by J.T. Maston, the new axis will be perpendicular to the direction of the ecliptic.

From The Purchase of the North Pole (Topsy Turvy), by Jules Verne.
Published by Pierre-Jules Hetzel in 1889
Additional resources -

Thanks to Yossi Preminger for pointing this out.

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Additional resources:
  More Ideas and Technology from The Purchase of the North Pole (Topsy Turvy)
  More Ideas and Technology by Jules Verne
  Tech news articles related to The Purchase of the North Pole (Topsy Turvy)
  Tech news articles related to works by Jules Verne

Straightening the Earth's Poles-related news articles:
  - Arctic Resource Jackpot An Old Wish

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