Weird Ideas For A Little Planet


Previously posted on June 28, 2010. Click it here.

Thomas Alfa Edison was once feared of dark, and this was why he invented light bulbs. Wright Brothers dreamt of birds made of steel, and this was where the concept of ‘aeroplane’ was introduced. Albert Einstein once dreamt of his ‘sojourner into the sun in leaps and bounds’, and this was where the relativity theory was invented, and had him awarded a Nobel, instead. See, what a simple idea could generate long-term transformation on this world, especially in
the way we are now living in. Small ideas that are worth huge changes, all originated from human’s minds. But what if these ideas all require billion, even trillion dollars out of the taxpayers’ money? Here are these weird ideas:

1. Atlantropa
Thanks to Herman Sorgel, a German architect. This idea came out of his mind, and was introduced in 1920s, at the same time European colonization of Africa was on its height. What is it about? Gee, it’s about unifying Europe and Africa with a 400-meter, miles-long dam, lowering the surfaces of Mediterranean Seas until 200 meters enabled to create vast tracts of land used in agriculture, and creating three sea-sized man-made lakes in the middle of Sahara desert, aimed at creating agricultural-friendly soils over the largest desert on the planet! However, Germany and Italy absolutely rejected this offer. Germany refused his idea not because of his money-wasting avant-garde, but it was more about ‘disagreements with the idea of Eurasian German Empire’. Italy refused his plan in a more realistic cause: the country may go bankrupt for most of its cities relied on sea-related exports-imports. However, Sorgel insisted on his beloved idea until his death in 1952. I can’t imagine how many zeros would be written down, especially in dollars, if Atlantropa were truly constructed. Anybody knows?

2. X-SEED 4000
We would like to appreciate this Japanese firm for introducing a 4000-meter, 800-storey megastructure,
224 meters surpassing the height of Mount Fuji, and enabling 500,000 until 1,000,000 people to inhabit it. That’s Taisei Corporation, which introduced this avant-garde concept at the same year I was born (1995, actually). But, two main problems make everybody confused of this project: How could it be built above the Pacific Ring of Fire, a ‘red zone’ known for frequent, massive, unstable, and high-tectonic earthquakes? And another problem arouses: only to build the ‘low-quality’ one would sacrifice taxpayers’ money until 324 billion dollars, but no larger than one tenth of Japan’s GDP. What if they build the ‘high-quality ones’? Multiply the former number three times, and you will find the answer surprising. That’s equivalent to Tokyo Metropolitan Area’s GDP for a year!

3. Shimizu Mega-City Pyramid
Once again, it was the Japanese who introduced this concept. It would be approximately 14 times the height of Great Pyramid of Giza (no longer great if this were accomplished), 1/47 the size of Tokyo Metropolitan Area, standing nearly 2004 meters high, and capable at housing 750,000 to 800,000 people. It would be constructed by super-strong lightweight materials based on carbon nanotubes. Based on Wikipedia, the pyramid structure would be composed of 204 smaller pyramids, each the size of Luxor Hotel (I don’t know how big it is) in Las Vegas. For more information, check it on Wikipedia. The article’s too long for me to explain.

4. Sky City 1000
Eng, ing, eng. How imaginative they are! As if unsatisfied with both megastructures above, they propose another, and another concept as well. It’s Sky City 1000, whose height is, exactly like the number written on the title, 1000 meters high, 196 storeys tall. The building would be half of the height of the prior one, which is half of the height of the prior one again. Designed in 1989 by Takenaka Corporation, once it were built, it may be able to house within 35,000 and 36,000 full-time residents, and accommodate nearly 100,000 workers on its office spaces. You might require 4 Monacos to match this superstructure (Monaco is approximately 2 square kilometers big).

5. Terraforming
This is another, damn, goddamned concept, but this time, it is on a planetary level. What is terraforming? Here it is: find any terrestrial planets, which in some aspects, are similar to those of Earth, not the gas giants, while on Earth, find some kinds of soil-related species of bacteria. Re-arrange their genetic codes, insert some additional genes, and send them to space. Spread these forms of bacteria into the planets’ surfaces, while at the same time specially built machines are attempting to adjust the atmospheric composition with that of Earth. Slowly, these planets in which you ‘re-makeup’ will appear like Earth bit by bit, but not years by years, instead. That’s gonna take at least tens of thousands of years to make these planets similar to Earth, and that depends on the planets’ conditions. The harsher and more complicating the structures of these planets are, the longer the time would take, perhaps, can be over millions of years. There are potential candidates in this ‘terraforming’ process, like Ganymede, Europa, Titan, Venus, and Moon. But the most promising one is Mars, because in most of all aspects, the planet is nearly similar with Earth. Only a few differences may apply: the planet is barren, very cold, and covered in very thin layers of oxygen. Main problem? That’s going to spend another trillions of dollars, perhaps, for every decade.

6. Asteroid Mining
Of course this planet has grown weary, as man’s population peaks, natural resources begin to deplete, and dwindle bit by bit. Oil, gas, coal, iron, gold, titanium, copper, zinc, and whatsoever, are going to be used up, totally empty, perhaps in less than a couple of centuries. But, stay calm, this is not another sign of the end of the world. Scientists have recently discovered asteroids known to have contained plentiful mining resources. First, scientists have discovered one, approximately a mile in diameter, known to have contained approximately metals and minerals worth 20 trillion US$. Another news soon came: scientists again discovered another one, 16 Psyche, is believed to have contained metals and minerals, in which if the production level is similar to that of 2004, it would supply the planet for several million years. So far, scientists are still discussing concepts on how to mine these asteroids away. But, this has so far been a good news for us.

7. Bering Strait Bridge
This was a concept about a bridge connecting Siberia and Alaska. This had long been introduced before 19th century, initially titled ‘Cosmopolitan Bridge’. However, as time passed, the project remained in uncertainty, especially in the periods of Cold War, until an architect, T.Y.Lin, once again re-designed the concept. In his own vision, it would not include only a bridge, but also a super-fast railway network, and oil pipelines. Experts have estimated the construction would require at least 105 billion US$ in order to connect both Russia and United States, excluding other external funds required to revitalize infrastructural networks in both Siberia and Alaska which would then be linked with this bridge. Russian government so far is willing to fund 65 billion US$ on this construction, which might be more than 100 kilometers long.

To Be Continued…

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