Wednesday, July 09, 2008

Sci-Fi: "Meltdown" : Earth's orbit decays after asteroid near miss


Here’s a scenario for “global warming.” What if the orbit of Earth were slowly deteriorating, edging closer to the sun by 1% a year, and “they just weren’t telling us”? That’s practically the premise of the Sci-Fi channel’s “Meltdown: Days of Destruction” with some minor league remedial work for actor Casper Von Dien. The director is John Murlowski, and it is written by Rick Drew. There are stories that John Carpenter had written this story ahead of time, and that there were some legal wrangles before this cable movie got made. If true, this movie may provide an object lesson in why Hollywood studios enforce a “third party rule” on loglines and unsolicited spec screenplay submissions.

Actually, what happens is that a huge asteroid, a couple hundred miles across (Ceres has a diameter of over 400 miles) approaches earth. The fibbies knock it off course with a nuke (an break off some of it as if it were a worn tooth crown), but the gravitation changes the orbit of Earth. It starts warming up, by about 30 degrees Fahrenheit everywhere. “They do tell us” after a few days, and the president declares martial law.

The rest of the movie is an attempted escape from LA “to the North,” which might not work since global warming affects polar latitudes a lot more than temperate, melting ice caps and rising sea levels. Will the gravity of the other planets pull Earth back into position?

I don’t know whether the “science” here is plausible. This is a good question for a college physics class.

Curiously, the script makes reference to the film “Deep Impact” (1998, Touchstone) which was about a comet strike.

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