Fantasist's Scroll

Fun, Fiction and Strange Things from the Desk of the Fantasist.


Who Keeps Track of the Comets?

Filed under: — Posted by the Fantasist during the Hour of the Hare which is terribly early in the morning.
The moon is Waning Gibbous

Brian Marsden, apparently.

In this article on Scientific American, he talks about running the Minor Planet Center, which tracks comets, meteors and other near-Earth objects. I’m sure that the job is mainly trigonometry and physics, but it fascinates me that it even exists.
And, what a great bunch of ideas for science-fiction it stirs up. Of course, there’s the ever present idea of a meteor hitting Earth, but that’s been done to death. Or, that the folks who work here make first contact with extra-terrestrials. But, I imagined something more like a galactic air-traffic controller. I mean, if one has lots of space travel, it could become necessary, right? And, think about all the things they’d have to keep track of in three dimensions! Certainly there must be enough tension and action in such a setting to find a story.
Well, something to ponder, anyway.

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