2524: Comet Visitor
Title text: It's a myth that the Great Wall of China is the only human-made structure visible from space--there are LOTS of structures for us to feel self-conscious about!
| This explanation may be incomplete or incorrect: Created by a PACIFIC MOON FOOT-PATCH - Please change this comment when editing this page. Do NOT delete this tag too soon.|
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When a long-period comet comes into the inner Solar System, it's often figuratively called a "visit". But Megan and Cueball treat this more literally (or perhaps more sarcastically). Just as one usually neatens up their home when they're expecting guests, to make a good impression, they realize they need to clean up the Earth and its vicinity in preparation for this "visitor". Cueball starts handing out assignments -- he'll clean up the Pacific Garbage Patch, and suggests that Megan take care of all the debris in orbit.
Cueball and Megan also make notes to sweep up the lunar footprints that NASA astronauts left on the Moon during the Apollo missions and put away the Mars rovers. It's also common for people expecting visitors to put various objects out of view with the intention of returning them to their normal place after the visit, usually because the objects are considered unsightly that under normal circumstances is outweighed by the convenience of being out in the open.
However, since the comet will not come anywhere close to Earth and Mars, all this hardly seems necessary; it would be like cleaning up your home because the President or some other dignitary will be visiting your town. In addition, while a dignitary would theoretically be able to see one's house, although comets have tails, they do not have eyes, so they would not be able to perceive any difference between Earth before and after tidying up (even if the nucleus had an eye, it would not be able to see because it is in a coma). Furthermore, sweeping footprints in the Moon, that Cueball sees as a way of tidying up, would be seen as destroying an invaluable archaeological sites by NASA and other people.
Alternatively, Megan and Cueball aren't "cleaning up" for a visitor as one might do if the visitor was a friend of theirs. They're hiding themselves and contraband as one might do if they were worried the police were visiting. Or more likely in this context that it could be an alien visit, and they would like to make it difficult to spot the human civilization from space. In that case they might need to shut down all light in every big city on Earth as well.
The title text debunks the claim that the Great Wall of China is the only human-made structure visible from outer space; in fact the Great Wall cannot easily be distinguished from space (as it is very long but not wide), but some other human constructions such as the Pyramids can (and cities are easily visible at night because they emit light).
|This transcript is incomplete. Please help editing it! Thanks.|
- [Megan sits at a desk in front of a computer, looking to the left off-panel and pointing at the screen]
- Megan: Have you seen this big comet, C/2014 UN271?
- Megan: It'll pass near Saturn's orbit in 10 years.
- [In a frameless panel, Cueball stands behind Megan, who is now looking at the computer and typing]
- Cueball: Wow, look at the orbital period.
- Megan: Yeah, it hasn't been to this part of the solar system since humans evolved.
- Megan: At least.
- [Cueball starts running off-panel, holding his finger in the air. Megan looks towards him with both arms resting on the back of her chair]
- Cueball: Well, we definitely need to tidy up. I'll start on the Pacific Garbage Patch, you tackle orbital debris.
- Megan: What about the moon footprints?
- Cueball: Sweep them up. Collect the Mars rovers, too!
- Cueball: We can put them back once it's gone.
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