The Goldilocks Planet: Earth’s “Get Out of Jail Free” Card


This is the magical Gliese 581, a planet that would have business executives and hunting advocates singing, “I’ve Got a Golden Ticket!” (Lynette Cook/NASA)

Published: October 20, 2010

I’ve been waiting, wishing, hoping, dying for this moment. Scientists have detected an area where there might be a planet inhabitable by humans. My excitement isn’t fueled by my love for astronomy or my desire to see if there are other living beings out there. No, I am a simple opportunist.

This planet’s existence is fuzzy right now, but it is supposedly three times the size of the Earth and may or may not (depending on who you ask) lie in the “Goldilocks” zone: the one area not too hot nor too cold for liquid water. You know what that means? We are only one step away from having a replacement world!

Think of the consequences of having a backup planet once we invent sub-light speed space travel (ETA: 10 years, 20 tops). Almost all of the world’s problems would disappear immediately. Why worry about overpopulation when we can just start sending extra people to Kiefer SutherLand (I want a copyright on the new planet’s name)? It’s already three times the size of this crowded place, and it doesn’t even have any people yet! Obviously we’d have to send equal numbers of each nationality over on each ship to avoid domination by any one people, but Noah already set the precedent for this.

Global warming wouldn’t be a problem if we had another globe in mint condition as a safety net. I could finally get my old school army-issue Humvee and build a carbon-biased (as opposed to carbon-neutral) garage to park it in, next to my two Suburbans, tank and jumbo jet. I am going to buy enough water bottles to fund Dasani for a millennium, use the water to fill my gas-heated swimming pool and then scatter the empties into every single ocean. I’m going to get plastic bags for the individual items I buy and then personally strangle a baby dolphin with each one.

Which reminds me, now we don’t have to worry about animals going extinct! We can just pull a Jurassic Park and recreate everything in a theme park setting on Kiefer SutherLand. My goal is to shoot a polar bear, skin 10 whales and annihilate at least 45 different species of insect. By Thanksgiving. We’ll just use harvested DNA samples to repopulate the species we miss when we get to our new home!

Remember those debates about drilling for oil in the Alaskan wildlife refuges? No problemo: not only can we bleed this baby dry (I think it’s a pretty safe assumption that Kiefer SutherLand will have three times as many resources in it), but we can also completely disregard any thoughts of natural preservation. All we have to do is take pictures of the stuff we like (thank you, tourists) and then recreate it on our new planet, à la “Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy.”

Kiefer SutherLand will also have less obvious benefits for society. For one, it will solve our economic woes by creating an entirely new real estate market with the potential of making a bubble three times as big as our last one. And of course, with all the new exploring and discovering to be done on the new planet, the entire world will be overtaken by an energy not seen since America’s Manifest Destiny, and this time we wouldn’t have any Indians in our way to makes us feel any hint of remorse!

Sure, some purists will pooh-pooh about letting our home slowly die and the immoral aspects of playing God, but while we look toward our brave new world, they’ll be choking on my enormous carbon foot down their throats. God Bless Kiefer SutherLand.