This fascinating story was shared by Mr. R.M., and it has me speculating wildly (of course) on what it might all mean. It seems that our friends at the Defense Advance Research Projects Agency, or as we like to refer to it here following the suggestion of Mr. J.B., the Diabolically Apocalyptic Research Projects Agency, want to take humanity underground. The only question is, why? As one might imagine, the ostensible purpose is military, but as we'll see in today's high octane speculation, I can think of a few others.
Here's the article:
According to Ms. Tia Ghose, authoress of this article, the goal of all this is to develop the technologies, both hard and soft, for deep human presence underground, with an ability to respond to "unknown conditions" quickly, a military purpose to be sure:
The Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) has announced its latest challenge, called the Subterranean or "SubT" Challenge. The global competition asks entrants to develop systems that can help humans navigate, map and search in underground locations that are normally too perilous to visit.
"One of the main limitations facing war fighters and emergency responders in subterranean environments is a lack of situational awareness; we often don't know what lies beneath us," Timothy Chung, program manager in DARPA's Tactical Technology Office (TTO), said in a statement. "The DARPA Subterranean Challenge aims to provide previously unimaginable situational awareness capabilities for operations underground." [Humanoid Robots to Flying Cars: 10 Coolest DARPA Projects]
Groups all around the world will compete to solve problems that help people navigate in unknown, treacherous subterranean conditions, where time is of the essence, according to the statement.
Now, obviously, the ostensible purpose of this contest and goal is to develop new military capabilities for subterranean cartography and operational capability. This has been going on as long as there have been militaries and fortifications: the easiest way is not through, but under, or over them. "Sapping" or digging beneath an enemy position is as old as warfare, perhaps the most famous example being the enormous tunnel and mine the British tried to dig prior to the Battle of the Somme in 1916. Then, British sappers dug a tunnel beneath the German fortified trenches and planted an enormous amount of explosives, which were then exploded at the beginning of the battle with the hopes of blowing an enormous hole in the German lines. That it certainly did. The only problem was, the Germans heard the British digging, and simply pulled back prior to the detonation, and the effect aimed for was entirely lost.
So while the DARPA project appears to be par for the course for the military-industrial complex, I cannot help but think that there may be other purposes lurking in the shadows, unstated, and herewith, my high octane speculation of the day.
Recall, for a moment, that it is the same DARPA that (1) wants to create "super-soldiers" of various types, sizes, and "capabilities" (including the capability of relying on less sleep, and being able to function in exotic environments), and (2) set the century-objective for the USSA to be "warp capable" in one hundred years. Goodbye, rockets. Thus, I strongly suspect that this "subterranean operations" initiative is related to the long-term space objectives, where such capabilities would be most valuable, and, if the indications of subterranean structures on Mars that have emerged over the years are any indicator, it's a capability that would serve any manned missions there quite well...
... particularly if one suspected there might be someone to encounter...
See you on the flip side...