You might not be aware of it, but: The Sun is slowly increasingly in luminosity, and over the course of the next billion years or so it will become so bright that the Earth will cease to be able to support life, and everything on it will die.
Yeah I know, it's a downer.
Thankfully, though, one intrepid scientist says he's figured out how to keep the party going past 1,000,002,023 A.D.:
At the moment, Earth is orbiting the sun at a distance of 93 million miles (150 million km) but this needs to extended to at least 96 million miles (155 million km), [University of Manchester Prof. Albert Zijlstra] says.
This movement would extend a year to 380 days, meaning we'd have to insert an extra 15 days into a calendar year somewhere.
An extra fifteen days a year, eh? We should add another weekend day to every week in Summer and then chuck a couple extra in December. Give us working folks a break at least!
I digress. Prof. Zijlstra's plan is to use gravity to move the planet away from the sun.
Essentially he proposes that scientists manipulate a massive asteroid, one about 30 miles in diameter or so, to do a "slingshot" maneuver around the Earth in order to speed up the planet's orbit, which would take it farther away from the sun.
Unfortunately we'd need to do this more than once:
'Because the Earth needs to speed up in order to move away from the sun, we need to let the asteroid lose speed as it moves to the inner solar system,' said Professor Zijlstra.
'Do this a million times and the Earth will increase its velocity by the amount we need.
Ah okay, so we just need to send a city-sized asteroid rocketing around our planet one million times.
Nothing to it. And really it's hardly a chore.
As the good professor notes, we have about a billion years to do this, so we "only need one fly-by from the asteroid every one thousand years." It's barely an item on the planet's honey-do list.
Phew. Now, back to worrying about the existential threat of generative AI...