Thursday, 15 May 2014

Lifesaving Supernova

Time was running out for the people of earth. Only ten more years were left before the sun was to engulf the planet. Sarah had been working on the project of building a spaceship that could travel faster than the speed of light since her father had explained to her how important it was to get as many people off earth as possible before the catastrophe. She stood in her laboratory, staring at the dozens of holograms in front of her. There were Engine models, wing designs and so forth. Some she could be proud of herself others were designed long before she was born for the project had started about 3000 years ago. They had improved a lot of designs but the spaceship wasn’t even close to finished.
Sarah let out a sigh. She could remember learning about what was causing the problem like it had been yesterday. Her teacher kept on repeating that it all had to do with mass and that they could be happy for their sun was not big enough to explode. Instead, it would just grow to an immense size and swallow them. Then it would shrink and collapse in on itself. This all happens because after a certain time the star, in their case the sun, runs out of fuel. The dying star fuses helium into carbon and oxygen, then release their outer layers as a planetary nebula and over billions of years, the core cools down to form a white dwarf.
Looking back down at the plans something suddenly caught her eye. At first sight it seemed to be just a normal engine yet when she looked closer she saw that the structure was somewhat different. Zooming in, Sarah noticed that someone had taken what happened inside of big stars when they die and tried to recreate the chemical reaction that  made them explode. Suddenly, Sarah realized what this meant. Typing fast, she made the most basic of the calculations she needed to do. As soon as the computer had processed the answer, she got them out of the printer and ran as fast as she could down the hall to the elevator. She had to tell her colleagues right away. This might be the answer to the problem they had been trying to solve for 3000 years now!!! Overly excited she burst into the meeting room.
    “ I... found... the solution!!!”, She gasped, out of breath from her constant sprinting down dozens of halls.
    “I have the saving idea. This is how  we will be able to travel to the nearest planet which has the right living conditions for us!!!”
Her colleagues stared at her, dumbfound.
She was shouting now, throwing the results of her calculations on the table.
    “All we need to do is recreate the chemical reaction happening in the big stars that die. Seeing as it releases so much energy we could use this knowledge to our advantage.”
Finally, the other scientist started to grasp the concept. All hands darted forwards, reaching desperately for the papers with the calculations. Could this really be the solution? The one thing they needed to complete the ship?
      “Are you saying we should trap the matter of stars, contract it with gravity, create radiation pressure by a nuclear fusion reaction which will expand the matter creating a supernova?”asked one of her older colleagues.
        “Yes” Sarah said with a strong voice.
“That’s impossible!!!” yelled the old man.   
         A huge discussion broke out between the people in the room. It took 10 minutes to settle down. Suddenly, Sarah stood up on her chair. She knew the only way to convince them would be to explain how exactly they would be able to build and use the engine. She started out, unsure, not knowing if they would listen but the longer she talked the more confident she became for she knew they could manage to build the engine.

5 years later all of the worlds population were on spaceships, heading to a new solar system, to a new planet and to a new life.
Sarah sat in her compartment, finally noticing what might have happened if she hadn’t found the model and hadn’t managed to convince the others they all would have been doomed. She had managed to save a whole planet. Tired, she lay back her head, knowing that when she woke up she would have a new home.

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