In Douglas Adams’ book (volume one in the trilogy of four) we learn, among other things:
- Towels are particularly useful for interstellar travelers on a shoestring.
- It’s not clear whether humans conduct experiments on mice or vice versa.
- The answer to Life, Universe, and Everything is “forty-two” as Deep Thought found after an extended period (seven and a half million years) of number crunching.
- But what is the question? To find out, an even more powerful computer was built: The Earth. “Deep Thought designed the Earth, we built it and you lived on it.”
- Unfortunately, the Vogons destroyed the planet just five minutes before the program was completed. The badly timed intervention was communicated as follows: “This is Prostetnic Vogon Jeltz of the Galactic Hyperspace Planning Council. As you will no doubt be aware, the plans for development of the outlying regions of the Galaxy require the building of a hyperspatial express route through your star system, and regrettably your planet is one of those scheduled for demolition. The process will take slightly less than two of your Earth minutes. Thank you.” And after some moments: “There’s no point acting all surprised about it. All the planning charts and demolition orders have been on display in your local planning department in Alpha Centauri for fifty of your Earth years, so you’ve had plenty of time to lodge any formal complaint and it’s far too late to start making a fuss about it now.”
- Another artificial planet may be under construction. It might feature fjords as in Norway (on the original Earth), but this time in Africa.
The Big History Project: From the universe to the solar system, earth, life and man.