What If Earth Had Rings Like Saturn
You’re relaxing in your room and streaming some good tunes when suddenly, the network’s down. You try rebooting your phone, but there’s still no connection. Out of nowhere, your sister barges into your room in panic.
She’s screaming something about rings. Boxing rings? Wedding rings? Rings on the tub? She’s not making any sense. So she drags you out of the house and shows you the sky. You take a look-up and see streaks of objects forming miles above the Earth’s surface.
Her connection seems to work. The two of you check online what’s going on, and everywhere the same thing is making headlines: Rings are suddenly appearing in our sky! #Earthrings is breaking the hashtag record and videos are going super viral. Your sister can’t help but join the crowd and takes a bunch of selfies with the sky.
You run to the TV in your living room to check out the news. Scientists are warning about a coming catastrophe and explaining that everyone should remain indoors. Even though it’s a cloudless day in the middle of summer, the weather seems to be getting colder and colder.
Suddenly, the signal’s cut off. Other channels show nothing either. Then you see your neighbors packing their bags and heading out. Others follow suit. You hesitate a bit but decide to do the same in the end. Your sister is still outside taking selfies when you urge her to come along with you to seek some answers.
The two of you hop in your car and drive out into the city. The rings above seem to be gaining more mass with each second. You and your sister are getting colder and colder. You head to the university to see if anyone knows anything, but there’s no one there. Only one parked car in the lot. And it’s a good thing you recognize that car.
You and your sister rush in and find the astronomy professor doing some quick calculations and trying to figure out why all this is happening. He urges you to take the seats and begins explaining. No one knows what this all is about, but it’s limiting the sun’s exposure on Earth. Which explains why it’s getting colder by the minute. Why the rings are getting thicker is a mystery too.
On Saturn, the rings are made up of ice and rock particles. They can be as small as an ant or the size of a bus. The rocks could be leftover meteor debris or even remains of dwarf planets. But since Earth is so close to the Sun, ice wouldn’t be something you’d find floating above us. With all these rocks piled up, they block the Earth’s access to the Sun to warm us up and give us light.
The professor goes on to explain that Earth will enter a new Ice Age and oxygen levels will deplete within a year’s time unless those newborn rings disappear anytime soon. This also explains why there’s no connection; the rocks that form the rings are hitting and breaking the satellites.
Suddenly, you hear a loud ringing noise outside. The three of you head outside and see a helicopter blasting an alarm with a red light flashing. “Everyone to your homes now! This is not a drill! Everyone, head home!”
You get in your car with your sister, but the roads are jammed. You have to go on foot which will take 2 hours. There’s no way anyone can remain outdoors. You venture out seeing everyone stuck on the road. They’re all arguing with each other and causing chaos. You try not to get caught in the middle of anything and sneak your way to the highway.
With the rings getting thicker, less sunlight is breaking through. This Ice Age info is stuck in your head, chilling you even more. You take a deep breath and see a thin mist coming out of your mouth. The sky is getting darker, and you’re still not home yet.
Your sister is tired and needs to rest, but you urge her to move on. You find an abandoned clothes shop and head inside. The store clerks are actually giving away thick jackets for everyone to wear. You grab a couple and slip them on.
Only 1 more hour to get home, but the sky is completely dark. There’s no way you and your sister can go out in such conditions. So you decide to camp up in the clothes shop. They set up a mini bonfire in the middle of the shop and create makeshift sleeping bags with the rest of the unused clothes. Luckily, there’s enough food to feed everyone including you and your sister.
It’s the middle of the night. The fire goes out, and you can’t see outside the shop. You head to the window and open it up. A huge pile of snow spills in and wakes everyone up. It’s the middle of August and a snowstorm formed overnight. Everyone is freezing and start the fire anew. There’s no radio or any way to find out what’s happening.
The wind picks up and starts shaking the shop. Things start falling off the shelves but you and everyone else are cozy by the fire. The next day you look outside and see the entire area covered in snow. You live in a sunny place where it barely rains. And the rings in the outer atmosphere are even bigger than last night.
Out of nowhere, a truck filled with people pulls over and the driver tells you there’s a shelter for everyone some miles away. The truck has chains all over the tires and is equipped for the worst snowy conditions. Even though it’s morning, the sky is pretty dark. You and everyone else hop in.
Abandoned cars, some with their doors still open, are scattered all over. The truck drives around them, or just smashes through the ones in the way. It pulls over next to an ambulance and takes all the equipment to help the ones in need.
You drive past your neighborhood and see your entire house covered in snow. The large tree in your backyard has fallen under the weight of the snow and broken the roof, allowing snow to flood in. The truck speeds through and gets to the shelter, which, to your surprise, is the mall.
You get out and see many of the townspeople being led to various stores that have now turned into dorms and health units. You’re left in a sports store with a bunch of other people. Your sister has also been able to bunk with you. And to your luck, you see the professor helping out some people.
But shortly after that, a loud explosion blasts through the mall and shatters glass screens. Everyone ducks for cover. You see people running outside. You head out and see a large metallic object lying in front of the mall entrance.
There are people crowding the entire area, so it’s not easy to see what all the fuss is about. But after getting a closer look, you find out it’s a satellite fallen from orbit. It crashed in the front yard and made the boom.
There were also reports of other satellites crashing on Earth in the most random places. That means all communication has been wiped out of the map. You run back inside the mall to await what happens next. You look at your sister in fear not knowing that the new Ice Age has just begun.
1 year later. You’re relaxing in your bunker when your sister barges in, freaking out. The rings are still there, but it’s something else now. You run outside and see everyone gathering round and looking at the sky. Within a year, temperatures have dropped to freeze the entirety of the Earth’s surface.
Deserts and tropical jungles have turned into icy wastelands. More than half of the wildlife went extinct and trees are as rare as a 4-leaf clover. Which means oxygen levels have dropped significantly. Most of the population, or what’s remaining of it, live with oxygen tanks, with scientists still trying to crack the case of the rings. Exactly what the professor predicted.
But up in the sky, rocks seem to be falling down and crashing all over. It starts off far away, but then the rocks begin to fall down close by. You and everyone else run back to the mall, which has been covered with a layer of metal to keep the warmth inside. It should be pretty safe in there.
If the rocks are falling down, that means the rings are dissipating. Suddenly, you’re full of hope that the Ice Age might be over soon.