The World Ice Theory

“[Hans] Hörbiger was an Austrian engineer in the 1920s, and his World Ice Theory takes some beating. He believed that the moon was about to crash down upon us. That is, it was not just orbiting the Earth but slowly spiralling inwards. In fact, all the planets are doing so. Basic to the World Ice Theory is the idea that space isn’t really empty, but filled with sticky fluid. This is slowing down all the planets: any body moving through it naturally loses energy through friction, so all orbits are spirals. The Earth and planets are falling into the sun, the moon is falling into the Earth, and so on. Hörbiger also decided that the moon and all the planets (except ours, oddly enough) are thickly coated with ice. More ice falls into the sun all the time, and that causes sunspots. Finally, the Milky Way is nothing more or less than an enormous aggregate of ice cubes. The Hörbiger theory went over well in Nazi Germany where, with several other crank theories, it was welcomed as a refreshing alternative to “Jewish science”. The Nazis tried at one time replacing practically anything done by any scientist who could possibly have been Jewish with something else. They had to start by wiping out Einstein and going back to an ether theory … this would fit in very well with Hörbiger’s sticky fluid, I suppose. By the way, we now know that the moon is spiralling outwards at three centimetres per year. So relax.” – John Sladek, “Science Fiction and Pseudoscience” (1972)

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