ATLANTA (CAP) - The Atlanta-based Interplanetary Coalition of Celestial Bodies has announced plans to shut down the planet Saturn by this time next year. Close to 2,500 astronomers are expected to be out of a job at that time.
"We feel the decision to close Saturn is in the best interests of the solar system," said ICCB President Donald Zimmerman. "By closing the one planet, we feel we can avoid any sort of reduction in force with regard to the other planets."
A recent study published by the ICCB cited the dwindling numbers of astronomers and a continued decrease in interest in astronomy over the past decade as the main force behind the decision. Early efforts had focused on the possibility of closing Uranus instead.
"We had to look at what both Saturn and Uranus bring to the table, and frankly, Jupiter's got Saturn covered," said Zimmerman. "There is a chance that when we close Saturn, we may rename Uranus to Saturn for some obvious reasons. That decision is still pending."
Zimmerman said every effort will be made to place out of work astronomers with other planets, but added that many would be asked to stay on with Saturn until "the windows are locked and the lights are off."
Preliminary ICCB plans call for each of Saturn's 31 biggest moons to be auctioned off early next year, with the winning bidders then having approximately a year to remove their items from Saturn's rotation.
Once each of the moons has been removed, the final step will take place.
"We originally planned to also auction off Saturn itself, but frankly it's just too big to do anything with," said Zimmerman. "So instead we'll be hiring a demolition company to implode the planet. It should be pretty spectacular, and we hope to coordinate it in time for First Night festivities the year after next."
The demolition has been put out to bid, and the ICCB expects to select a company later this year. The Dempsey Auction Company of Rome, GA. has already been hired to handle the auction of the moons.
- CAP News Staff