I''ve been receiving some odd emails containing odd articles about the search for extraterrestrials in the past few days. It's odd, because with all the hysteria about the Fauci-Lieber-Wuhan virus, the fact that anyone is noticing stories like this is somewhat surprising. Then again, perhaps it's not so surprising with so many people on "lockdowns" and spending more time at home on the computer looking for something interesting. In this case, the odd article, which appeared in no less than The Atlantic, was found and shared by E.G., and I noticed a couple of very odd things in the article that - as one might guess - have my suspicion meter in the red zone, and my high octane speculation motor running in overdrive:
There's a lot going on here. From one point of view, the reason that China (or any other major power) might be looking for "ET" is rather obvious. Anyone to get from "out there" to "down here" would have to be possessed of very sophisticated technology, such that any "first contact" might rebound to that nation's benefit, provided that communication could be established (a big "if") and a deal negotiated for some of that advanced "ET technology" (an even bigger "if", though there have been stories out there in the ufology field for decades that this has in fact occurred.) A more modern slant on this decades-old ufology "meme" is that perhaps commerce of some sort could be established with the "contacted nation" enjoying some sort of "most-favored-nation" status in interplanetary commerce, a trade that could itself see some of that technology being offered in trade.
But that's not what caught my eye. The article focuses on China's most well-known science fiction author, Liu Cixin, who emphasizes a perspective unusual to American ufology: Liu, the article notes,
... has warned that the “appearance of this Other” might be imminent, and that it might result in our extinction. “Perhaps in ten thousand years, the starry sky that humankind gazes upon will remain empty and silent,” he writes in the postscript to one of his books. “But perhaps tomorrow we’ll wake up and find an alien spaceship the size of the Moon parked in orbit.”
For those brought up on American ufology, this idea that "the Other" might be a threat has always been in a decided minority. Since the days of the first "contactees" in American ufology in the 1950s, the predominant emphasis has been on "our peaceful and benevolent space brothers." Color me skeptical on that one for reasons I won't go into here. What leaped out at mean was the allusion to a Moon-sized spaceship. It was Isaac Newton who allegedly said that the only thing that gave him a headache was the Moon, doubtless because he saw the physics difficulties for the Moon to be where it is, doing what it is doing. Since then, other scientists and writers - Isaac Asimov for example - have commented on the same thing: by any of the favorite models on the origin of the Moon, from the "it was fissioned from the Earth early in Solar System history" to the theory that it was wandering through the Solar System one day and was "captured" by the Earth's gravity, how does either model explain how the Moon is in a nearly perfect circular orbit around the Earth (in what is in effect a double-planet system), with only one face or about 60% of it visible from the Earth and that the same 60% no less, even though the Moon, like the Earth, rotates around its own axis just like the Earth, and is at the precise distance from the Earth so that the Moon, during eclipses, blots out the Sun perfectly. How does one explain all that? By either model, the Moon's orbit should be more elliptical than it actually is. This has led some to speculate on the obvious physics problem, and to conclude that someone "parked it" there in such a precise way to do what it does. The theory may sound radical, but was actually first proposed by serious Soviet scientists in an article in Sputnik back in the 1970s.
So the allusion to this problem in an article about the Chinese search for ET is more than a little unusual. It seems more like a restatement of the problem, and the Soviet conclusion.
But there's something else that caught my eye in the article, and it was this:
Last January, the Chinese Academy of Sciences invited Liu Cixin, China’s preeminent science-fiction writer, to visit its new state-of-the-art radio dish in the country’s southwest. Almost twice as wide as the dish at America’s Arecibo Observatory, in the Puerto Rican jungle, the new Chinese dish is the largest in the world, if not the universe. Though it is sensitive enough to detect spy satellites even when they’re not broadcasting, its main uses will be scientific, including an unusual one: The dish is Earth’s first flagship observatory custom-built to listen for a message from an extraterrestrial intelligence. If such a sign comes down from the heavens during the next decade, China may well hear it first.
In recent years, Liu has joined the ranks of the global literati. In 2015, his novel The Three-Body Problem became the first work in translation to win the Hugo Award, science fiction’s most prestigious prize. Barack Obama told The New York Times that the book—the first in a trilogy—gave him cosmic perspective during the frenzy of his presidency. Liu told me that Obama’s staff asked him for an advance copy of the third volume.
At the end of the second volume, one of the main characters lays out the trilogy’s animating philosophy. No civilization should ever announce its presence to the cosmos, he says. Any other civilization that learns of its existence will perceive it as a threat to expand—as all civilizations do, eliminating their competitors until they encounter one with superior technology and are themselves eliminated. This grim cosmic outlook is called “dark-forest theory,” because it conceives of every civilization in the universe as a hunter hiding in a moonless woodland, listening for the first rustlings of a rival.
Why, one would find a way to shut down the opponent's facility.
Yes, I know... it's out there and totally wild... unless, of course, the Chinese telescope experiences an accident...
See you on the flip side...