“A young star is speeding away from the Milky Way so fast that astronomers have been puzzled by where it came from; based on its young age it has traveled too far to have come from our galaxy.” – The story startled me. A runaway star from one of our neighboring galaxies – the Large Magellanic Cloud (LMC) – crossing the intergallactic void, and now crossing our own galaxy at unimaginable speed as I type this post – really not a news that we can expect on daily newspapers! The very concept took me back to the days of childhood imaginations – of reading Flash Gordon comic strips and of watching the famous 1980’s movie. Ming the Merciless used superior alien technology to free their planet from their star-system’s gravitational pull, and transforming it into a spaceship, he came with his people and planet into our Solar System – to conquer Earth. A nice way to get around the problem of creating galaxy-class spaceships – the species becomes spacefaring because their planet is a spaceship! As long as one can make the planet’s lifeforms survive through their travel across interstellar void, a nice idea indeed!
But lo! 28 years down the line, we get to know from Mother Nature herself that truth is stranger than fiction. Are you facing the problem of sustaining the atmosphere of the orphan planet? Why don’t you take the star along with the planet as you start off? Doesn’t it make you wonder – can a civilization – our civilization – be so powerful one day that we could move stars? Not a movement of a mile, but make the star shoot across galaxies at will? Can we make our home star-system our very own spaceship?
Does it sound familiar at all? For those who knows their Hindu mythology – look at this image of the Sun-god Suryadev. According to Hindu scriptures, he rides his chariot drawn by seven horses across the sky. That was the explanation of day and night assuming a geocentric model for the Universe. But we’ve come a long way since then – we now know more about the structure of our Solar System, we know there are no horses and no whip behind the horses that take the Sun across the sky – rather we on this poor planet spin like a top and enjoy a nice merry-go-round around the Sun every year.
But wait – remember, that the Hindu mythology is all about metaphors. And where else to use this apart from in Science Fictions? Imagine a civilization who has complete control of the movements of their star-system. When they wish to travel across space, they don’t travel using spaceships – they take their star-system with them! Just like this picture above. And as for the whip – have you heard of cosmic strings? 😉 Boy, that would be a story!