Globus Cassus
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Basic Information

Globus Cassus is proposal by Swiss architect and artist Christian Waldvogel presenting a conceptual transformation of Planet Earth into a much bigger, hollow, artificial world with an biosphere on its inner surface. The thickness of the new megastructure shell would be 150km, and the radius of the new earth would be just a little smaller than the size of Saturn.

The plans to do this have already been drawn up and shared with the world. Construction would begin with a set of four space elevators. These would be used to move building materials up into space, where a frame work would be built in the shape of a huge icosahedron. The core of the planet would be excavated and pumped out to make the walls - 8 of which (out of 20) would be big sheets of transparent silicon glass (curved so water couldn't collect on them). Eventually, enough of the core is gone, that the traditional surface of the earth no longer has enough gravity to keep the atmosphere and water on it. The gases and liquids will drift outward to the be caught on the inner surface of the new shell, a process known as "The Great Rains". The remaining materials of the earth's core and crust are further dismantled, and all the people and animals ride the elevators up to the new structure.



Game and Story Use

  • There's plenty that could go wrong with such a process. The normal hurdles and dangers involved in the whole stellar megastructure process are amplified several times in this proposal. While it's tempting to just dismiss this a silliness, it could also be plenty fun to game in a world where the Globus Cassus meme got out of control, and governments started to disassemble the Earth.
    • It'd be like a planetary disaster film with superscience, where our own industriousness literally tears the earth apart.
      • The atmosphere and/or water might escape instead of raining onto the new surface.
      • The moon might lose orbit and crash into the sphere.
      • The partly-built structure might lose balance / orbit and crash into the semi-hollowed earth.
      • "The Great Rain" might take too long, and billions die from starvation or asphyxiation waiting for Globus Cassus to become habitable.
      • What happens to those who can't afford the elevator ticket? Or those who refuse to leave?
        • Some bizarre war might break out. In the end, a despotic world government goes ahead with the construction.
    • It's a conspiracy! The plans have already been published, and you just know The Conspiracy is planning to do exactly this. The PCs find out, and don't know whether the plan is a bad joke or seriously demented.
  • Sufficiently Advanced Aliens may be able to do this successfully.
    • Can be used for a distinctively ultra-tech version of the ol' Hollow Earth trope.
    • Could make for an impressive After the end setting where life has re-appeared on the 'outer hull' of the remade planet (perhaps with water from comets or ice meteorites) and is unaware of the fallen civilisation living (or extinct and in ruins) on the inside of their world. Key landmarks would include the "extinct volcanoes" serving as "gates to the underworld" that are actually the space elevator heads from which the mantle of the old planet was pumped up, the big holes that were designed to allow spacecraft to enter the hollow world and, of course, those big islands made of glass that are the 'windows'.
    • For a really impressive hollow earth theory - this has already happened. We are living on the outside of a globus cassus built by a previous civilisation.
    • As in some current conspiracy theories, UFOs1 turn out not to be aliens, but inhabitants of the hollow world on a mission to investigate the weird life forms wandering about 'on the hull'.
  • A spacecraft stumbles upon the decayed remains of a similar project in another Planetary System - turns out there used to intelligent life in that system, but now it's all dead. Did they gamble and lose? Was the society caught up in some horrible mass-insanity? Is it contagious? The ship's engineer keeps mumbling about how he'd like to try his hands doing the same to earth - he's sure the academy of sciences could fix the design flaws…
    • Bear in mind that a civilisation advanced enough to do this would probably also have the tech to automate the entire process - the bots and their controlling AI might well see the process through to completion even if everyone they were meant to be doing it for died during the transition.
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