(originally published in 2012 on "Cassandra's Legacy")
From: Earth Orbital Outpost
To: Galactic Central Command
(note: time spans in this report are measured in Earth orbital revolutions. One Earth orbital revolution corresponds to 4e-10 Galactic years)
Progress report: Human eradication plan
- Strategic Summary
The Earth Orbital Outpost is pleased to report to Galactic Command that
the eradication of the creatures termed "humans" inhabiting the planet
known as "Earth" is proceeding according to plans. The rapid warming of
the planet obtained by the injection of large amounts of greenhouse
gases in the atmosphere is expected to wipe out most large vertebrates
within 40-50 planetary revolutions around the parent star. The planet
will be ready for colonization by our species in a few thousand years;
when the ecosystem will have been restored.
- The original (1st level) plan
Planet Earth was the object of several preliminary explorations before
being selected as suitable for colonization. Upon reaching this
decision, the Earth Orbital Outpost was set up with the purpose of
facilitating the colonization task. The Outpost proceeded to study the
planet, finding that it is dominated by a species, known as "humans",
which has appropriated most of the planetary ecosystem productivity.
Individually, humans turned out to be highly intelligent and it was soon
clear that the species poses an important obstacle to colonization. A
necessary step for colonization was therefore their eradication. The
decision was reached also upon the consideration that, if left to
themselves, humans were likely to reach a technological level
sufficiently high to become a nuisance at the Galactic scale.
Several plans were developed to carry out the eradication program. It
soon became clear that sterilization with neutron beams, carried out by
the Galactic star fleet, was possible but expensive and, besides, humans
were rapidly reaching a technological level sufficient to produce a
significant opposition. Instead, it was found that humans could be
eradicated at a much lower cost by warming the planet at temperatures
high enough to make their survival impossible. That could be
accomplished by exploiting the human habit of burning fossil carbon
materials in order to obtain energy. According to initial observations
carried out about a hundred revolutions ago, just letting humans to
themselves would lead them to inject in the atmosphere sufficient
amounts of greenhouse gases to cause a warming intense enough to destroy
most large vertebrates.
In previous reports, we were pleased to describe that the plan was
working. 50 revolutions ago, the concentration of greenhouse gases in
the Earth's atmosphere had already picked up a trend of rapid growth and
it was calculated that it would lead to the collapse of the ecosystem
in less than a hundred revolutions. However, as mentioned earlier on,
humans turned out to be remarkably intelligent and the brightest of them
were able to identify and understand the ongoing process (that they
usually referred to as "global warming.") Humans built up a
sophisticated planetary monitoring system and created theoretical models
of the atmosphere. At that point, they embarked in a planet-wide effort
to stop global warming by curbing fossil carbon burning and deploying
non-carbon based energy sources.
Having observed this development, it was necessary to alter the original
plan and intervene more directly in the eradication task, although
still doing an effort to avoid the enormous costs involved in deploying
the Galactic fleet.
- The 2nd level plan
Stopping humans from taking measures to avoid destroying themselves
turned out to require a quite modest effort - completely within the
resources available to the Earth Orbital Outpost. This result may be
surprising and, indeed, some members of the Galactic Command had
expressed doubt on being able to convince humans - individually very
intelligent - to continue actting in ways that were leading to their
destruction. Nevertheless, we succeeded in accomplishing this task.
The key element of our action has been the study and the exploitation of
the human information network, that they call "the Web." It is a
sophisticated planet-wide information system that has been fundamental
for humans in developing their understanding of climate and diffusing
this knowledge with their decision makers. However, we found fundamental
flaws in the functioning of this network.
In particular, we found that the network is dominated by "super-nodes"
which show a higher level of connectivity than most nodes. These
super-nodes are called by humans "media" and sometimes "mainstream
media". Surprisingly, we found that the supernodes are managed by humans
who are quite unable to understand the basic elements of the
functioning of the Earth's ecosphere. Even more surprisingly, we found
that the humans in charge of these media nodes make no effort whatsoever
to check that the information they diffuse corresponds to physical
We also found that the humans in charge of managing the media supernodes
are easily influenced by other groups of humans which are called
"lobbies," whose role is not easily understood by us. We believe it has
something to do with the abnormal interest of humans in a virtual entity
that they have created and that they refer to as "money". Although the
characteristics of this entity are obscure to us, it seems that humans
(especially males) care about being associated with large amounts of
this virtual entity and this, in turn, seems to have something to do
with the behavior of human females. In any case, we were able to
penetrate the human computing centers which produce this "money" and
appropriate large amounts of it for our purposes.
In practice, it was sufficient for the Earth Orbital Outpost to take
control of a small numbers of leading human individuals; whom we refer
to as "avatars." This task was accomplished mainly by our control of
large amounts of the above mentioned "money" entity. Using money, the
takeover of these minds turned out to be extremely easy: we found little
resistence on their part and no evidence that our operation was
detected by other humans. Our avatars carried out several tasks, mainly
providing the media super-nodes with fake data that contradicted the
results of the previous scientific investigation on the degradation of
A special operation that turned out to be extremely successful was to
break into the database of one of their best scientific organizations
(called by humans "climate research unit") and diffusing internal data
exchanges all over the network. This operation generated considerable
confusion among humans as it highlighted several uncertainties in the
research; something typical of scientific investigation but that,
apparently, most of them are not familiar with.
Assessment of the present situation
The takeover of the human information system (the "Web") by our human
avatars was completely successful and we have been able to turn it into
an instrument for our purposes. We are pleased to report that most human
leaders have been turned into avatars under our direct control or are
completely confused about the issue of global warming. It has been
possible to relegate the discussion on this theme to only some minor
clusters of the information network. All attempts carried out by humans
to diffuse it outside these clusters are met by aggressive denial
(humans turn out to be extremely aggressive for reasons that to us
As a consequence of our takeover of the information network, all
attempts of humans to stop the ecosystem destruction have been halted
and appear unlikely to be restarted any time soon. The amount of
greenhouse gases being emitted in the Earth's atmosphere keeps
increasing. That is creating a rapid rise of temperatures, as confirmed
by the recent observation of the near complete melting of the North Pole
ice cap, a planetary feature that had been existing for several million
years of planetary history.
It is clear that the Earth's system is heading towards a tipping point
where rising temperatures will trigger a series of phenomena which will
lead to runaway warming and to the total collapse of the ecosystem, even
without further human generation of greenhouse gases. We have been
monitoring the system evolution using climate modeling programs
developed by humans, which turned out to be very sophisticated.
According to these models, the tipping point could have been already
reached or, in any case, will be reached within a few planetary
revolutions. Therefore, we expect that the eradication of the human
species could be fully accomplished within a few tens of revolutions.
Recent developments and recommendations for the future
Even though the Earth's climate tipping point is likely to have been
reached, humans could still, theoretically, react with various
countermeasures, such as restarting with the phasing out of fossil
carbon burning, deploying non carbon energy sources, shielding the Earth
from solar radiation, and so forth. In order to succeed, however,
humans need first to regain control of the planetary information system.
Our avatars on the planet report ongoing human efforts in this sense,
perhaps triggered by
the observation of the melting of the North Pole ice cap.
Given these recent developments, the coming planetary revolutions will
be critical for the success of the human eradication plan. The Earth
Orbital Outpost will keep the situation under strict and continuous
monitoring. We do expect difficulties, in particular with our avatars.
Their physical integrity cannot be guaranteed if their role in the
eradication plan is discovered by humans not under our control.
Nevertheless, they have done their job and their loss will not change
the rapid evolution of the Earth's climate system.
Assuming that things continue to move according to plans, planet Earth
will soon be free of humans and of most large vertebrates that could be a
nuisance for colonization. We shall therefore proceed with the second
part of the plan, which consists in cooling down the planet by deploying
space mirrors. Subsequently, natural processes will re-absorb
greenhouse gases and restore the planetary ecosystem in about one
thousand planetary revolutions. At this point, the planet will be ready
for colonization by our species. Ships with colonists are expected to
arrive in about ten thousand revolutions from now. Then, a new planet
will be added to our Galactic civilization!
End Report - The Earth Orbital Outpost
(note: this post was inspired by Isaac Asimov's story "The Gentle Vultures" - 1957)