Scientists recently made a historical discovery in the form of Proxima b, an Earth-like planet orbiting in the habitable zone around the Sun’s closest neighbor, Proxima Centauri. At a mere 4.2 light years away this planet is still far out of range of where we can reasonably travel to with our current technology; however, that may not stop some from trying.
A group of about 80 scientists have publically declared that they will leave Earth and colonize Proxima b if Donald “The Donald” Trump is elected as the next president. The leader of this group, who call themselves “Proxima b or Bust,” also happens to have been the lead scientist of the team that discovered the planet, Dr. Penelope Mathews.
In an interview with Mathews, she said that the idea “started as a joke” during the celebration after Proxima b’s discovery. However, after a few napkin calculations the group figured out that “their chance of survival was .00026 percent more likely during the trip to the new planet than under the leadership of Trump.” The next day the team ran a more accurate calculation and found the difference in likelihood could be as high as .00058 percent.
According to Mathews, the team’s plan is to take a ship to Europa, an icy moon of Jupiter, and camp out there for six months to a year as they make modifications to their spacecraft. While on Europa they will drill through the planet’s icy crust to liquid water and create an Atlantis-like structure for a shelter. They then plan on using the gravity of Jupiter to slingshot themselves out of the solar system on a path to Proxima b.
The team is still working through some problems like food, water, and how to not die in the icy grip of interstellar space, but many of Earth’s top biologists, chemists, physicists and engineers have been joining the group in droves and they are expected to find some solution to these problems.
Mathews admits that the possibility of survival all the way to Proxima b is highly unlikely in one human lifetime; however, she believes that one of her far-off descendants might step foot on the planet. “Spending the rest of my life in the void is space has to be than an America without taco trucks on every corner,” Mathews stated at the end of our interview.
Applications to join the group are open at this time, but spots are expected to fill quickly.