MORE DRIP DRIP DRIP? SATURN’S DISAPPEARING RINGS…May 22, 2019
Yesterday you might have noticed there was no blog, and before we get to today's Saturnalia, I want to say a few words about what happened. Normally I go through all the emails in my "finals folder" on Sundays, and pull which articles I want to blog about for the coming week, trying to notice any "trends" in all the articles people send. Sometimes I get behind for whatever reason, and that's what happened Sunday. But it's what happened Monday that really messed things up. Normally, if I can't get enough blogs done on Sunday, I try to stay ahead enough that I can make up time the following Monday or Tuesday. This time, however, mother nature was not very accommodating. The weather turned so foul that for most of the day Monday there were either severe storms, or warnings for them, and of course that panicked my little pooch, who was in quite a state all day. It was, without too much exaggeration, a day of dawn-to-dusk tornado watches and warnings, including a quick 20 minute trip to the storm shelter for Shiloh and me, and for the better part of two hours the sirens were blaring away, making all the neighborhood dogs howl (except for Shiloh; she only howls at fire engines).
Around midnight, the severest parts of the storms were over (supposedly), so not having had much sleep, I headed to bed early, thinking to get a good night's sleep. (Midnight is early for me, folks). Around 6:20 in the morning, however, a very anxious and nervous Shiloh woke me up. I could not figure out why until about two minutes later, the storm sirens went off again, leaving me scrambling to round her up, get her leashed, and rush to the shelter. I turned on the radio to hear that a tornado had touched down a few miles from where I live, but the storm and rain and lightning were so bad, and I heard the radio say that the tornado had tracked north of me, that I decided to watch the storm carefully, listen to the radio, rather than chance running to the shelter with all the lightning. Most of the morning was spent listening to sirens, watching the lightning, and trying to keep my little pooch calm.
So, it was a day and a half of dawn-to-dusk-to-dawn storms, sirens, and little sleep. I've not seen such a prolonged series of storms in my life. And, I may have more to say about that subject tomorrow. In any case, now you know why I'm a day behind on the blogs, which may be a bit "spotty" this week, as I also have to prepare for company, and try to get some other "website stuff" completed.
... which brings us to today's, or rather, what would have been yesterday's, blog.
As one might imagine, it concerns space, and yet another curious "connect the dots" episode of high octane speculation. The story?
"Experts" are concerned that man might cause Saturn rings to disappear, through an excess of mining, according to this article shared by G.B.:
What has these exo-planetary environmentalists so exercised? Get this:
A group of scientists recently warned that Saturn’s famous rings could disappear eventually, no thanks to humans.
According to Inverse, asteroid miners and tech billionaires could plunder precious rocks from space, including the icy rings of Saturn, in the very near future.
This theory comes from a study conducted by a group of researchers who wrote for the upcoming issue of Acta Astronautica. The group suggested that relevant policymakers must come up with a clear set of guidelines and restrictions that should be strictly followed by everyone in the space industry.
“If we don’t think about this now, we will go ahead as we always have, and in a few hundred years we will face an extreme crisis, much worse than we have on Earth now,” Martin Elvis, senior astrophysicist at the Smithsonian Astrophysical Observatory and one of the two authors of the paper, said. “Once you’ve exploited the solar system, there’s nowhere left to go.”
Aside from the rings of Saturn (which could be an abundant source of rocks and ice), humans could also mine the iron on the asteroid belt. The asteroid belt’s iron content is so abundant that even if only one-eighth is mined, it is still a million times more than what is found on Earth. Another example is Helium-3 which is said to be abundant in the moon and could be worth more than gold in the future.
So, because of what might be done in the future, best to get those regulations in place now. Any time I hear calls for regulation my first instinct is to wonder which corporations the policy is intended to benefit.
But that's not what sent my high octane speculation imagination into action. What set it into action was the fact that my suspicion meter went immediately into the red zone. It went into the red zone because there was something both entirely new, and somewhat old, in this article. What was new was the shift in the "space mining meme", which hitherto has of course been talking about mining asteroids, or the Moon, or even on occasion Mars and other planetary bodies in the Solar System, to mining of Saturn's rings. For most people in the world that will seem but the normal extension and development of the "space mining" idea. But to those in the alternative research field, that "mining of the rings of Saturn" might sound rather like the 1986 book by former NASA scientist Norman Bergrun called The Ringmakers of Saturn.
The title of the book alone is enough to convey the idea of its contents. Bergrun argued on the basis of deep space probe photographs of the rings of Saturn - whether plausibly or implausibly is left to the reader to decide - that "someone" was out there, with a very advanced and, as it turns out, very large technology, and that this "someone" was both mining Saturn's rings, as well as helping to construct them. I have the book, and have read it, and must confess that I found the photos on which Bergrun based his arguments to range the whole spectrum, from implausible to more plausible. But the point now is not whether his argument made sense, but rather that it is simply there, and has been there for more than three decades. One can imagine what shock waves that someone of Bergrun's stature and background, saying what he said, must have sent through the space establishment.
Indeed, the silence concerning his book was deafening, and whether one wants to admit it or not, many of the pictures that Bergrun analyzed did contain some highly anomalous features. What no one seemed to notice at the time was that Bergrun, along with George Leonard, was one of the first to voice the idea of space mining, and to do so not in the sense of a future activity, but of a present reality. Leonard, of course, wrote the classic Someone Else is on the Moon, in which he argued that some NASA and Soviet photos seemed to showed mining activity on the Moon.
Which brings us back to today's Saturnalia and the high octane speculation, which we may pose as a series of questions: is the whole "mining meme" being put out to cover-up an activity already taking place? or conversely, to draw attention to it? Is talk of the disappearance of Saturn's rings preparation for an event that "they" know is already happening? And if that activity is already taking place, do "they" know who is doing it, and how? Or are "they" themselves doing it? Are "they" in contact with who is doing it? And if so, has Whoever-is-doing it told "them" to stay away and mind our own business, and is that the reason that we're now also hearing about the need to regulate space mining activities before we've even begun (officially and publicly, at least) to do so?
Whatever the answer to those questions may be, the peculiar fact remains that we've now added Saturn's rings to the space-mining inventory, and I cannot help but recall the myth of the gigantomachy and the War of the Titans from Greek mythology, and how Saturn (Chronos) choked to death, eating a rock...
See you on the flip side...