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The Earth Question was the dilemma faced by the Interplanetary League regarding planet Earth and its inhabitants, namely, what in the universe should we do about the Earthlings' inexplicable need to kill each other, pollute their planet, and let each other starve? How, pray tell, can we protect ourselves from them when their technology is progressing at such an incredible rate and they will doubtlessly be out here among us any time now?

There were four main lines of thought regarding the answer. Some proposed leaving them alone in the hopes that they would destroy each other. Others suggested taking over the planet and solving all its problems themselves - curing diseases, stopping wars, ending poverty, etcetera - in exchange for total control. Others insisted on confining the Earthlings to their own star system either by sabatoging their science or setting up a military blockade. A fourth group felt that, regrettably, the best solution was to blow the planet up for a second time.

The need to settle on an answer was delayed when Hoo-Lan illegally gave Earthlings the means to invent television, successfully making them even stupider and slowing down their scientific progress. But it was not enough, and by AD 1989 it became clear that something had to be done. Broxholm and Kreeblim were sent to Earth disguised as teachers to study the inhabitants and figure out what made them tick, but their mission was foiled by the Earthling student Susan Simmons. The alarmed Interplanetary Council knew that something had to be done soon regardless and was leaning seriously towards blowing the planet up.

At Hoo-Lan's final request before going into a coma, however, they gave Earth one more chance and assigned Broxholm, Kreeblim, Susan Simmons, and her friends Peter Thompson and Duncan Dougal to travel the planet and find justifications for not blowing it up. Although they failed to find anything sufficient, an emerging scientific theory from their observations, aided by Hoo-Lan, CrocDoc, and a lot of poots, persuaded the Council to leave the planet intact for further study.

Their belief was that Earthlings had evolved as a collective mind and then shut each other out as their numbers multiplied, resulting in an inexplicable sense of loss that manifested itself by lashing out in hatred and apathy. The Council sent thousands of teachers in disguise in the hopes of unlocking their brains, unleashing their potential, and making them peaceful enough to visit the stars. So much for that plan.