by Gordon Long

edited by Chris N

I find it rather interesting that I have no problems suspending disbelief and accepting Godzilla et al. at face value, but take great exception to the depiction of giant rockets shoving the Earth out of harm's way in the 1963 Toho film, Gorath (though the events took place in the year 1977). This is on a par with Earth's moon blasting out of orbit in "Space: 1999" because of a powerful explosion. (Interestingly enough, however, the film does seem to show the Moon as being destroyed; I guess the Moon forgot to follow the Earth when the planet was moved and got smooshed instead.) It is easy enough to explain the dai kaiju as being atomically-mutated genetically engineered dinosaurs and other prehistoric creatures. But those ranch-sized rockets really rankle me.

In the first place, conventional rockets cannot shove the several sextillion ton mass of the Earth out of its orbital path. A rocket engine big enough to move the Earth the required distance…would have to be the size of the Earth itself in diameter. The amount of conventional propellant needed would of course dwarf the physical size of the Earth. Even if you could get enough hydrogen from the atmosphere of one of the gas giants like Jupiter or Saturn, you would still have to travel there to get it. However, there is not enough time to make the trip, get back, and refine it in the short amount of time depicted in the story. So, conventional-style rockets are out.

In the second place, the rocket motors are supposed to be placed on the Poles. Okay, that might work at the South Pole, where Antarctica is buried under millions of tons of snow and ice. But the only thing supporting the Arctic polar cap is the Arctic Ocean. It is shallow compared to the Atlantic or Pacific Oceans, but it is a very distinct basin filled with water. Now, granted, in the Showaverse, there could be a continent buried under the Arctic polar cap. However, everything that we have seen about the Showa Earth seems to indicate it is physically identical to our Earth. With the possible exception of volcanic islands sunken below the surface of the oceans--Skull Island, home of the first King Kong, comes to mind--or raised above the surface, all in opposition to those on our Earth. All evidence, however, seems to show that Showa Earth is the twin of that in the RU (and twin to most alternate universes close to ours in the Multiplicity of Existence). For that matter, the Showa Moon, planets, and Sun all are completely identical as well. The ice cap is not particularly thick, either, as the nuclear-powered American submarine U.S.S. Nautilus was actually to surface at the North Geographic Pole in the 1950s and icebreakers on several science expeditions have cut their way to the Pole as well. That means the ice pack cannot support the weight of those heavy rocket motors as well. So, placement at the Geographic Poles (which would avoid problems with the rotational spin of the Earth, a very smart idea) is out as well.

I have raised the possibility in another one of my articles that an experimental warping was used. This could take place in one of four ways, all of which have some problems. One, the Earth could have been jumped out of its orbit, and then rejumped back. Depending on how long the repositioning was necessary, and the safe distance required, this raises the problem of being out of the Sun's Habitable Zone. The Habitable Zone is the optimum place around a star for life to develop on a planet. But if the Earth was jumped too far out, we could freeze--or too far in, and we fry. The speed of Gorath would have required a stay of at least a couple of hours, if not several, to cross the safe zone, enough to dramatically affect Earth's temperature. The jumped-to area would also need to be completely free of space debris (asteroids, comets, meteor showers), or else Earth would run the risk of things crashing into the Earth or materializing in the same space as a small asteroid (goodbye New York!) Then, after rejumping, we would have to hope nothing trailing in Gorath's wake would cause that same problem. Furthermore, the Moon would have to be included in the jump, or else it could be pulverized by Gorath, leading to a huge debris field when the Earth jumps back. (However, in fairly short time, Earth would grow a ring, leading to some pretty sky shows…until everything plunged to Earth and wiped out all life.) Even if Gorath didn't pound the Moon, a slight miscalculation for the re-jump could allow the Moon to smash right into the Earth.

Now, one variant idea relies on the fact that the Habitable Zone is a transparent shell surrounding the Sun, like the layers of a Tootsie Pop. You could make the Earth pop into a new location at the same distance from the Sun, but at a distance 'above' or 'below' the plane of Earth's orbit. Of course, this also requires the jumped-to area to be free of space debris. The good news with this method, since the Earth is still the same distance from the Sun, it does not need to jump back, since the radiation is still mostly the same….except for possible changes in emissions from the Solar Poles (the Sun more or less spins in the plane of our orbit).

The third idea is similar to the second, except for jumping 'ahead' or 'behind' in the same orbit. The other parameters of the orbit would stay the same (except for some long-term changes that would affect both ideas two and three from tidal drag effects from the rest of the Solar System combined). You would just have to worry about the usual space debris, or running into Gorath-trailing debris if you jumped backwards.

The fourth idea requires the Earth to be 'hiding' in subspace or warpspace for the duration, then re-emerging in its previous spot. Again, this is subject to lunar debris or Gorath-trailing debris issues. Furthermore, one cannot be certain of how long one needs to be in warpspace, unless you can monitor Gorath's progress in the outside universe. There is a chance that without Earth 'ahead' of it to keep pulling it along, Gorath's progress would slow…and instead of say seven hours of transit, eight hours are taken…then Earth comes back on schedule and POW materializes in the same space as Gorath. Poof! No Earth. Monitoring would require outside communication from camera-satellites, which would require yet another technological leap. On the other hand, you could build a 'ringworld'-style jumpgate that would monitor Gorath's progress and control the actual jump and re-emergence. However, this would require more material than comprises the Earth, so at a minimum you'd have to chop the Moon, Mars, and/or Venus into a bazillion bits and then ship them back. Again, not feasible in the short amount of time. Another problem is that it is highly unlikely the Sun's warming radiation would reach into warp space, so again the Earth runs a risk of freezing. Oh, of course, in all of these angles, the Moonbase would still have to be evacuated if the Moon was not going to be jumped along with the Earth. And the amount of technology needed is far in advance of that seen in Star Trek's 24th century, though probably well within that of the Star Wars galaxy. One more thing to worry is the chance of Gorath following Earth through warpspace and crashing anyway--just like going down the drain. So, my warping ideas are also out.

So what's left? Well, at this point in time, Earth has developed early-stage force field technology and is doing some work on gravity control (thanks to the reverse-engineering of left behind Muan-level technology). Force fields are in evidence as to how the U.N. keeps the kaiju on Monster Island. The Moonbase has evidence of artificial gravity, as the Moonlight SY-3 crew moves as normally there as on Earth without any evidence of leaping ala the NASA Apollo astronauts did. The SY-3 also seems to have artificial gravity inside it as well (nothing floats around loose as far as we can tell). So, if Earth scientists used force field technology or gravity control, it appears they were tapping into Earth's magnetic field at the Magnetic Poles. At this point in time, the lines of magnetic force come through the Earth's surface on the continents, which would have a strong enough bedrock to support the giant machines necessary for this purpose. Keeping in mind the events of the movie Core, it is possible that the big machines were used to reverse the spin of the core and thereby creating a reverse magnetic field (in essence, a force field) which made it possible to 'deflect' Gorath. Of course, then they would have to return things to normal, accounting for the effect of moving the Earth from its orbit. Or else, there was a mass-lightening effect (theoretically beyond Star Trek-level technology, but observed in the first season TOS episode 'The Naked Time' happening to the planet), which caused Gorath to pass by. In this sequence, Earth's gravity is somehow not pulling as strong, so the effect of the Sun's gravity is enough to pull Gorath away from the Earth. This also sounds like a tractor beam adjusted to repel. You would expect this to be out of Earth's technological reach at this point. However, the Xians clearly have this capacity (seen when they towed Godzilla and Rodan off to Planet X), which Earth science has apparently been able to copy, modify, and expand to a planetary scale for this emergency. As for observed visual effects, these large machines are probably subject to St. Elmo's Fire (observed on ship riggings at sea during storms and on big buildings on land), which when coupled with auroral visual displays, might just look like big rockets. I suspect, however, the strain on the machines was great enough for them to explode and not be usable without a great deal of work (Gorath has an incredibly strong gravitational field).

So, it appears that working with a combination of force field generation and gravitational control, Earth was able to escape the wrath of Gorath's path…unlike the Nebulans.

Back to Guest Section