The Andromedia Strain Essay, Research Paper
The Andromeda Strain is a novel written by Michael Crichton. It was later turned into a movie in 1971. The Andromeda Strain is an amazing story of a weird disease that came down from space. The disease was named “The Andromeda Strain”.Sometime during the year 1971 a satellite, codenamed “Scoop”,crash landed in a little town in the southwestern United Sates known as Piedmont, Arizona. When the United States Army went to pick up Scoop, almost the whole town was dead, it looked like the whole town had been frozen in place, except on old man and a baby who had died almost instantly from an unknown cause. The Army realized that an deaths were probably the result of the crashed satellite, so the Army sent men, clothed in the latest technological bio-hazard suits, to retrieve Scoop. The Army retrieved the only two surviving humans and the remains of the crashed probe and brought them back to the secret lab known as “Wildfire.”
The scientists at Wildfire were amazed by what they saw. After spending countless hours examining the satellite with an electron microscope, they discovered minute particles of what looked like paint. Since this was the only unusual thing on the satellite, the scientists assumed that it was the strange carrier of the disease. The scientists cut away a single molecule of this unusual substance and saw that it was a pure crystal life form, the perfect form to live in space. The crystal used everything, wasted nothing, and grew in every substance known to man. To make matters worse, it grew and multiplied at an incredible rate. The scientists recognized the potential of this lethal crystal to envelope the globe if not contained.
Now that the scientists at Wildfire knew what caused the Piedmont deaths, all that remained was to figure out how to control it. They ran the crystal through several different tests, but it grew and flourished on every known substance, including penicillin. Since no new deaths related to this crystal form were reported near Piedmont or any of the neighboring towns, the scientists assumed the strain was dead. This crystal was dubbed “Andromeda,” that being the U.S. government’s codename for the project.
The research team at Wildfire continued testing and looking for clues to contain the biological threat. Then they heard the bizarre, yet true story of a fighter pilot’s mask and equipment dissolving into this air. Natural, the people at Wildfire assumed that, because this was happening directly above the Andromeda Strain’s former home in Piedmont, Arizona, the crystal was still at large and causing no more trouble than before. Now they knew it was still out there and spreading.
Meanwhile, the President of the United States had been briefed on the Andromeda Strain and its implication for the United States and for the rest of the world. In the hopes of eliminating this threat, the President and his staff considered and finally agreed to drop a nuclear bomb in the Piedmont area.
While this was happening, the team at Wildfire had come upon a major discovery. The Andromeda Strain thrived on high energy sources such as plutonium and radiation. They tried to figure out how to use this information, and then realized that the President was planning on nuking the Piedmont area, which would result in a huge spread of this disease. Their only hope was that the Andromeda Strain would either mutate into some non-fatal form, or that their continued experiments would uncover a cure or a way to make the crystal harmless.
Fortunately for the world, the President reluctantly agreed to take back his previous order to drop the bomb, and thereby avoid the rapid spread of Andromeda that a nuclear bomb would produce. During this debate the old man and the baby did not die. Andromeda could only survive in a very narrow range of blood pH. If anyone’s blood was too acid (the old man had two bleeding stomach ulcers) or too alkaline (the baby had been crying for hours causing the alkalinity in his blood to increase), then the Andromeda Strain could not survive in that person’s body.
Unfortunately, there was still no way to contain the Andromeda, and so the crystal (which has somehow mutated to a non-lethal form) spread throughout the whole southwestern U.S. Meanwhile, the people at Wildfire did all they could do to prevent Andromeda from mutating again. They seeded the clouds where Andromeda was (over the Pacific Ocean) and hoped that the rain would force the crystal into the ocean where the water would be too acidic for it to survive.