About a week and a half ago, Mr. Richard Hoagland contacted me to come on his program to talk about that strange comet/asteroid Oumuamua, the cigar-shaped object that entered the solar system and whose behavior is just, well, bizarre, so bizarre that scientists don't really know how to explain it. It was a last-minute thing, as one of Mr. Hoagland's scheduled guests was apparently unable to make a scheduled appearance. Not having anything on the plate, I agreed, only we discovered that there were so many audio problems that night that Mr. Hoagland had to cancel the show. But one of the topics he also wanted to discuss was Japan's Hayabusa-2 asteroid space probe mission, and the very strange photograph it took of a little asteroid the Japanese Space Agency, JAXA, named Ryugu.
I hadn't seen what Mr. Hoagland was referring to, when in my inbox appeared this article from Mr. P.J., and Ms. K.M. sent along a picture of the strange object, and after reading it and seeing the picture of Ryugu, I am entertaining lots of high octane speculations. But we'll get back to those. Here's the article Mr. P.J. sent:
That simply couldn't be, I thought to myself, so I went sniffing and searching, and found this bit of corroboration:
And if one looks at this this, not only does it look like a kind of die from a dice set, or diamond composed of two pyramids stacked one over the other, there's all sorts of strange "stuff" on the surface.
I don't know about you, but I'll go ahead and say it: this looks to me like an artificial object of some sort, battered over it's long sojourn in space, but nevertheless, artificial. Not only it the object itself rectilinear, but there are some very clear rectilinear features on its surface that are in and of themselves very odd.
But that's not my problem here. My problem is the Japanese Space Agency itself, for as the articles make clear, the agency plans to land its Hayabusa-2 probe on the surface of this asteroid (which, incidentally, is spinning), but to take sample, and then return them to Earth. As you might have guessed, this is the occasion for my daily jump to the end of the twig of our trademark High Octane SpeculationTM. First, there's the name of the asteroid itself. Citing the first article shared by Mr. P.J.:
Ryugu’s shape isn’t the only association it has with myth and lore surrounding dragons; according to Spaceflight Now, its name is also evocative of these mythical creatures, borrowed from “an undersea dragon’s palace visited by Urashima Taro, a fisherman in a Japanese folk story who brings back a mysterious treasure box from the underwater castle.”
Hayabusa2 was launched in 2014, and in the days since photographs were obtained of Ryugu’s unusual shape, the spacecraft has closed its distance to approximately 20 km, with the objective of landing and extracting material for analysis, which it will retrieve and bring to Earth by the end of 2020.
So the asteroid is named for a piece of Japanese folklore about a fisherman bringing back a treasure box from a dragon's underwater castle. Now, I've written in some of my books, most notably The Cosmic War: Interplanetary Warfare, Modern Physics, and Ancient Texts, that the idea of the ocean or abyss was often used as a metaphor for space itself; thus, a "castle under water" could be taken to mean a "castle under the abyss", i.e., in space. But whatever my speculations, the Japanese Space Agency clearly had both the folklore, and the castle, clearly in mind when it named this object, which, for its apparently artificial "look", could be taken to be an artificial object like a castle, with the "treasure box" being whatever the probe might manage to scoop up and return to Earth. The asteroid itself is a little less than a mile across, being almost a kilometer in width.
But I have to wonder, what are the odds that JAXA just happened to pick this asteroid to land on, named it after a bit of Japanese dragon folk lore, take samples from it, and return them to Earth, and that the asteroid should turn out to have such a bizarre and suggestive shape? Why this asteroid? It may be purely coincidental, of course. But there's been a pattern of space probes to asteroids in recent years that has been - if you've been following them - downright bizarre. NASA's probe to the asteroid Bennu produced a similarly shaped asteroid, and then of course, there was the European Space Agency's mission to asteroid Steins, which turned out to look like this:
I don't know about you, but while one might be a coincidence and two a synchronicity, it seems to me that three comes close to the beginnings of a pattern, and that pattern strongly suggests that NASA, JAXA, and and the ESA knew something about these celestial bodies prior to launching their probes to them, and that they were deliberately selected prior to launch. Their unusual shape, particularly in the case of Ryugu and Steins, also suggests that they are looking for "something." Indeed, the Hayabusa-2 mission not only wants to look, but to bring some of it back. So why all the fuss and bother to bring something back from that asteroid? I suspect that if the Japanese suspected that this object might be artificial - and indeed, the language of the Japanese scientists involved with the project speaks of "structure" and its thus highly suggestive that that is indeed what they think it is - the proof of the pudding, so to speak, would be in the analysis of whatever sample they bring back, for those samples might indicate chemical composition typical of alloys and other machined objects.
Time, of course, will tell, but only if the Japanese choose to tell...
See you on the flip side...