The New Tork Times reported today that scientists have begun to take concerns about an anthropogenically-caused Andromeda-Milky Way collision more seriously.
The Andromeda-Milky Way collision is a predicted galaxy collision that could take place in the measurable future between the Milky Way and the Andromeda Galaxy. The Milky Way is a smallish, barred, spiral galaxy that contains the Solar System along with about 400 billion stars. Andromeda is a “nearby” galactic neighbor with about twice as many stars. The Milky Way and the Andromeda galaxy are approaching each other at a speed of 300,000 miles per hour.
These simulations of the impeding Milky Way and Andromeda Galaxy collision, one a simulation of the University of Toronto, have scientists wondering if mankind will survive this collision.
“Just as greenhouse gases are the steroids of weather, the wobble in the Earth’s rotation caused by the increasing heat is having an effect on the systems around us,” Dr. William Hogarth, a senior Fluidics Professor of Biological Oceanography, said at a briefing held by the National Center for Deep Space Research. “We need to start not only reducing the spin, but the data is showing that perhaps we’ll even need to change our orbit.”
The discipline called geoengineering was originally dismissed as science fiction or even fantasy but geoengineers have shown that they can defeat global climate change by cooling the planet with sun-blocking particles or shades, by adding reflectivity to clouds to make them return more solar radiation to space, and by constructing a 26-mile diameter carbon nanotube to remove vast quantities of carbon from the atmosphere and “duct” it into space.
“We now have definitive computer models that show just how rapidly the collision is approaching,” Dr. Hogarth said.
Still, skeptics are still concerned about the possible unintended consequences of tinkering on a large scale with planetary and galactic orbits.
“We do need to act now,” Dr. Hogarth said.
“Without intervention, today, by the time that the two galaxies collide, the surface of the Earth may have become far too hot for liquid water to exist. That would end all terrestrial life as we know it even as the luminosity of the Sun increases.”
Remember, you heard it here first, 11/11/11.