Planet Glove

It's quite hard to get excited about stories like this: "Scientists are monitoring the progress of a 390-metre wide asteroid discovered last year that is potentially on a collision course with the planet." The asteroid is called Apophis, after an ancient Egyptian spirit of "evil and destruction, a demon that was determined to plunge the world into eternal darkness."
Scientists are now "imploring governments to decide on a strategy for dealing with it" – because the earth is in danger...! Again.
Only this time, the story has inspired an architectural idea.


[Image: The Roman Coloseum, photographed from space].

The exact trajectory of Apophis is apparently well-calculated (albeit with a few minor blindspots, such as whether or not it will actually come anywhere near the planet).
But surely you could just use a bigger computer – or cancel your lab workers' vacation time – and soon you'd know, to the exact square-meter – to the very time of day! – where Apophis will land.
At which point we'll build a huge baseball glove.


[Image: Michael Sorkin, Chavez Ravine, Los Angeles (with a new Dodgers Stadium); from the excellent, Christmas gift-worthy Wiggle].

Massive amounts of fiber-glass padding and reinforced concrete – plus entire subterranean, manmade lakes – will deflect the tectonic pressure of the asteroid's impact, softening the outward-rippling aftershocks; the glove will even collapse in upon itself, blocking the explosion of dust that would otherwise cloud the atmosphere.
Best of all, we'll know the exact moment of arrival, so the whole thing will be captured on film. A billion dollars' worth of ad time has already been sold.
But maybe the calculations are off, you're thinking. Perhaps we know Apophis will hit in 2029 – but what if it's outside Springdale, Utah, or somewhere in the Gobi Desert, maybe even in the middle of the sea.
No problem: we'll just build huge, kilometer-wide baseball gloves all over the planet. Floating through the Pacific. In 2016 an artist will apply for a one-year residency on one of the floating gloves, and her notes and photographs will be published the next year to great critical and commercial acclaim.
Then, in 2029, live on TV: catastrophe averted.
The glove-stadium actually works.


[Image: Planet Glove, by BLDGBLOG].

(Inspired by a brief discussion on Archinect; see also BLDGBLOG's earlier post, The Torino Scale, for more on the architecture of impact).

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5 Comments:

Anonymous Anonymous said...

From Asteroid Apophis set for a makeover via Wikipedia:

However, mythology may not have been the only consideration in naming Apophis. Codiscoverers Dave Tholen and Roy Tucker are fans of the TV series Stargate SG-1. The show's most persistent villain is Apophis, an alien also named for the Egyptian god.

So, you know, if the glove thing doesn't work out, maybe we can build this.

By which I mean a giant light fixture on top of a pyramid.

December 17, 2005 5:38 PM  
Blogger Geoff Manaugh said...

Or a giant baseball glove on top of a pyramid - or a giant pyramid inside of a baseball glove. With a light fixture on it.

December 17, 2005 6:40 PM  
Anonymous e-tat said...

my head is spinning. But not just because I am on planet Earth. Is my head an asteroid heading for a collision? Actually, what I wanted to write about are the alternatives to yet another natural-disaster-cum-sporting-event. I am thinking meringue. Cream Pie. I am thinking, where's Aaron Kay? Can he take a trip to outer space for humanity? We need a supersized lemon custard. Or maybe that should be chocolate? Is pie-throwing a sport?

If we cannot do pies, I'm thinking squidgy foam stuff. I'm thinking wrap that sucka in cotton candy! A super-fast spiner racing around teh asteroid like some space-based arachnid, spinning a coccoon for the soon-to-be-boundt rock. Cloaked in gossamer filaments, the asteroids will bounce off the upper ionosphere like so many golf balls.

Damn, there's that sport analogy again!

December 17, 2005 7:51 PM  
Blogger Alexander Trevi said...

Or the the glove stadiums spin, an array of architectural gyroscopes clamped onto the mantle. They would spin, you see, or foppishly flopping and flaying about, in an attempt to slow down the earth's own axial spin or its solar orbital journey. Shorten the month by a second or perhaps even stretch the year by an hour, and the earth arrives and departs before Apophis. Pacifist warfare strategy no extraterrestrial body can match.

December 18, 2005 1:18 PM  
Blogger Geoff Manaugh said...

I like wrapping the asteroid in bubble wrap.

December 20, 2005 11:49 PM  

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