New planets align with a Trump-era exit plan

March 17, 2017

Astronomers have found seven new earth-size planets orbiting a star called Trapppist-1, and think some of them might be inhabitable and/or even harbor life.

While I always tend to get excited about such discoveries, I am especially so this time because you can’t have too many exit strategies when you are “an enemy of the people.” At this point my travel plans are in wait-and-see mode, although I do have a bag packed in case the Trumpster totally loses the plot.

The most talked about Plan B is Canada, where a lot of Trumpster-fearing Americans are threatening to move in the event 2017 turns into “1984.” A secondary possibility is Mexico. I’m not crazy about either choice.

I mean Canada is a great country, close to the United States culturally, and home to friendly people. The problem is the weather. When you think worst place to spend winter in the United States, places like North Dakota, upper Michigan, Maine come to mind. Canada is north of all these places. Enough said?

Mexico presents the opposite problem. With climate change looming, Mexico could become a destination to which it is too hot to trot. The other obvious problem with relocating to Mexico is if diplomatic relationships sour, you could find yourself rounded up and deported back to the United States. I mean, talk about awkward.

If the situation were to present itself, moving to a new planet would be ideal if the logistics could be worked out. First off, there is the matter of getting there. The Trappist planets are 40 light years away, which seems a lot closer than it really is. Given that one light year equals 5.88 trillion miles, and the fastest space craft NASA has ever launched travels at about 36,000 mph, it would take somewhere in the neighborhood of 780,000 years to get there. That noted, there are Uber drivers who do warp speed.

Another obstacle would involve accommodations. Where would you live: apartment, condo, pod, double-wide, RV. How about if you wanted to build. Would lots be available? What are the zoning laws like? Mortgage rates?

Then there is the matter of immigration. How would they feel about taking us in, particularly if they have been watching us? Musing on the practice of owners following their dogs around and retrieving their poop, Jerry Seinfeld once wondered if space aliens observing us might get the wrong impression as to who was in charge.

There are other things inquiring aliens might wonder about.

The Academy Awards: Come on, they couldn’t get the Best Picture envelope right?

March Madness: Once a year tall men in shorts chase a brown ball around, which results in mass hysteria among the population. Is this a mating rite?

Driving: Do they steer their cars by waving middle fingers at each other?


Now that the new Trappist planets have been located, astronomers might want to call in some marketing people.

As it stands right now, the seven new planets are named Trappist-1b, Trappist-1c, Trappist-1d and so on through Trappist-1h. Beyond boring.

Imagine if the star gazers had been in charge of naming the sun, where would we be:

Literature: The Trappist Also Rises.

Music: Here Comes the Trappist.

Advertising: Fun in the Trappist.

I’m thinking, why not humanize the new planets by naming them after, say, characters from “The Mary Tyler Moore Show.” Tell me planets named Mary, Lou, Ted, Murray, Sue Ann, Rhoda and Chuckles wouldn’t resonate.

Seriously, wouldn’t you feel more connected to a planet named Chuckles than Trappist-1h?

Ground control to Major Tom.

Jim Shea is a lifelong Connecticut resident and journalist who believes the keys to life include the avoidance of physical labor and I-95. He can be reached at jimboshea@gmail.com and on Twitter @jimboshea.