I've always loved disaster movies--I think it started with When Worlds Collide (1951), about a team of scientists who discovered a new earthlike planet, revolving around a star on a collision course with Earth--and their plan to save mankind from extinction. Though the special effects are cheesy by today's standards, the image of our planet being destroyed is downright creepy.
The end-of-world theme has been a popular one in films: 2012, Armageddon, Deep Impact, The Day After Tomorrow, just to name a few. The History Channel's series, The Universe, has featured possible world-ending scenarios in some of their episodes.
A few years ago, my son Collin decided to make it the subject of his first novel, ELE (Extinction Level Event). He'd planned to publish it in 2012. He hadn't counted on the Murphy's Law of first novels: they almost always take longer than expected. So while it's not yet published, he hasn't given up on it. (I told him if he doesn't finish it, I will!)
Last Saturday, I found a National Geographic documentary on Netflix titled Evacuate Earth. (It's also currently available on You Tube.) It's a mix of scientific fact and fictional what-if, involving a supernova that took place 60,000 years ago and the resulting neutron star, headed for our solar system. Humanity has 75 years to come up with a way to save itself.
My first thought was: "75 years? I wouldn't be around in 75 years. Collin wouldn't be around in 75 years. Or maybe he would. People are living longer these days. And he might have children...grandchildren...."
The documentary covers how humanity might react to the prospect of the world ending...possible ways to save mankind from extinction...who would be chosen to be saved, since obviously evacuating the entire population wouldn't be possible...where the survivors might go and how they might get there...and how they might respond psychologically to losing friends, family and the only world they've ever known.
Cutting NASA's budget was a big mistake. Huge....