Let's say, for the sake of amusement, that the asteroid that will miss us in 2029 really is going to hit us in 2036. Considering the massive climate change, extinction events, and general devastation that such an impact would cause, a lot of possible goals seem kind of silly. Why bother conserving a species that's going to get wiped out anyway? What's the point in controlling global warming if the dust kicked up into the atmosphere is going to play merry hell with the climate? And why bother making a city energy-efficient if it's just going to end up a smoking crater? There's no point in saving a world that's doomed.
But there's no reason to consider the upcoming death of all of humanity negatively. Nor is there any reason to put all these scientists out of work - hey, it's not like we have to save up to fund Medicare. If anything, this news should be treated with some measure of happiness. Now that the pressure to preserve is off, we have an even quarter century to do something really fun. We've got time to party, but not enough time to do anything else. Let's live every day like we're Dubai. Here's what we'll do before Doomsday, in the name of science.
The first science goal that we need to hit, and hit soon, is the perennial favorite: rocket boots. The Iron Man movies gave them a little heat, and let us see how much fun they are, but there were always practical reasons not to make them. Not anymore. We don't need to conserve oil. We don't need to worry about them leaving scorch marks on the precious earth. And if they have unconscionably high casualty rates, so what? By the time they're invented, popularized, and mass marketed, anyone who dies will only have knocked a decade off their life anyway. Rocket boots have to be first on the list. (For Harry Potter fans, the boots could be re-purposed as brooms. And yes, we'd make a snitch.)
The second science goal has to be bring back extinct creatures. All of them. Yes, someone is working on bringing back the mammoth within four years, and that's a good start, but it doesn't go nearly far enough. This world has seen pterodactyls the size of giraffes, T-Rexes, tank-sized ground sloths, giant carnivorous kangaroos, and much, much more. We need to see it again before we die. And not in zoos, either. We need to make armies of these things and release them into populated areas. Think how much more fun and exciting life would be if you never knew what kind of massive jaws you'd be dodging as you rocket-boot your way to work.
The third goal? Should be a space elevator. Carbon nanotubules could support it, and really, since many of us will spend eternity drifting through space, attached to the fragmented shards of the earth, we should be able to check it out before we go.
The fourth goal should be the ability to splice other species' genes into humans. They've already made glowing puppies, so humans that light up the night shouldn't be far behind. Not only would it make for cool visuals, but I'm sick of having to get up to turn on my lamp when I'm reading and it gets dark. If we only have another 25 years, we should use the time effectively.
Last, but most importantly, we need to invent an immortality serum. Whether derived from resveratol, the chemical that reverses age damage in lab rats, or pumping up telomerase, the enzyme that allows the species of immortal jellyfish to revert back to its adolescent form over and over, we need to keep someone alive. Why? Because if we do all of these things, we'd have trashed the planet, ascended to the heights of decadence, and been struck down by the gods. All that's left to complete the narrative is that one immortal wanderer, tormented and alone on a dried husk of a planet, waiting for aliens to arrive so he or she can tell them our tragic story.
And if they could mention this article as the thing that started our tragic descent? That would be neato.