[ExI] life after people

Dan dan_ust at yahoo.com
Mon Apr 20 17:09:10 UTC 2009

--- On Sat, 4/18/09, spike <spike66 at att.net> wrote:
> Did anyone see this?
> http://shop.history.com/detail.php?p=70292&v=All

I saw it last time they broadcast it.
> http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Life_After_People
> Its a documentary on what would happen if all humans
> suddenly disappeared.
> I didn't see it, but I know of a modern structure that
> would be around for
> perhaps longer than the pyramids.  It is a special
> aircraft bunker on the
> Redstone Arsenal in Alabama for assembling rockets,
> specifically designed to
> contain explosions in the event that one of the solid
> rocket motors somehow
> ignites and then ignites the other motors in there. 
> Everyone inside
> perishes of course, but people outside wouldn't know
> anything was up.
> The building was designed to withstand any tornado or
> earthquake which is
> needed since the building contains all those rocket
> motors.  It is in the
> middle of a vast expanse of solid concrete that was once an
> airforce runway.
> Since there is very little blowing dust in that very moist
> environment, I
> could easily imagine the inside of that bunker would look
> somewhat similar
> in ten thousand years as it does today.  All the
> rubber would be gone, the
> foam in the office chairs turned to dust, the vinyl seat
> covers vaporized,
> etc, but that concrete shell would hold up and keep the
> stuff inside dry and
> the various beasts outdoors.

I suspect, on Earth, some military bunkers might be left for long, long times.  But regarding this particular facility, and the others, what sort of maintenance needs to be done to keep it going?  In many cases, these facilities might survive being attacked by weapons, but a few decades of unchecked water seepage -- as I've heard of in missile silos -- would make short work of them.

I was surprised, in the series, that there was no mention -- or I missed it -- of human artefacts off world.  The lunar landers, assets in solar orbit (including some Apollo upper stages, no?), and interplanetary fly-by probes (Pioneers X and XI, Voyagers 1 and 2, that Pluto probe) are all likely to outlast the pyramids, IMO -- unless they smash into something.  (Of course, I don't mean they'll be operational in 100K years.)

I would also take issue with some of the predictions regarding species humans have introduced to various places.  For instance, there's talk about most dogs dying out, but, IIRC, little mention of house cats.  I think house would do reasonably well.  Also, humans have introduced many other species that would probably indicate their presence and would not go away were humans to disappear.

Overall, the show and the article in _Scientific American_ reminded me of Steven Howe's short story "Wrench and Claw."  Anyone else here read it?




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