Monthly Archives: November, 2012

Hairspray! The Alien Civilization Story!


Hairspray might one day serve as the sign that aliens have reshaped distant worlds, researchers say. Such research to find signs of alien technology is now open to funding from the public.

Science fiction has long imagined that humans could transform hostile alien worlds into livable ones, a procedure known as terraforming. For instance, to colonize Mars, scientists have suggested warming the red planet and thickening its extraordinarily thin atmosphere so that humans can roam its surface without having to wear spacesuits. To do so, plans to terraform Mars often involve vast amounts of greenhouses gases to trap enough heat from the Sun, forcing carbon dioxide frozen on the planet’s surface to turn into gas.

If humans might one day terraform planets, aliens with more advanced technology might have already done so. If that’s the case, astronomers could look for telltale signs of such changes to reveal that intelligent extraterrestrial life exists.

“Our hypothesis is that evidence of intelligent life might be evident in a planetary atmosphere,” said astrobiologist Mark Claire at the Blue Marble Space Institute of Science, a nonprofit network of scientists across the world.

One group of gases that might be key to terraforming planets are chlorofluorocarbons (CFCs). These nontoxic, long-lived chemicals are strong greenhouse gases and were once often used in hairspray and air conditioners, among many other products.

CFCs are entirely artificial, with no known natural process capable of creating them in atmospheres. Detecting signs of these gases on far-off worlds with telescopes might serve as potent evidence that intelligent alien civilizations were the cause, either intentionally as part of terraforming or accidentally via industrial pollution.

“An industrialized civilization will be one that will use its planetary resources for fabrication, the soon-to-be-detectable-from-Earth atmospheric byproducts of which could be a tell-tale sign of their activity,” said astrobiologist Sanjoy Som of the Blue Marble Space Institute of Science.

Telescopes have currently helped spot hundreds of exoplanets so far and should help detect hundreds more soon. Future observatories could analyze the atmospheres of these worlds, and CFCs should be easy to see, because the way they absorb light is very different from naturally-occurring chemicals.

“We are on the scientific verge of being able to actively look for extrasolar worlds inhabited by technological civilizations,” Som said. “We are about a decade away of being able to measure detailed compositions of the atmospheres of extrasolar planets.”

Using state-of-the-art computer models of atmospheric chemistry and climate, the researchers plan to discover what visible signs CFCs and other artificial byproducts of alien terraforming or industry might have on exoplanet atmospheres.

“We will then test if these features are detectable over interstellar distances, by severely downgrading our computed signal to mimic the signal quality of next-generation telescopes,” Claire said.

Scientists worldwide could then use this data to see if any of the exoplanets discovered so far or to come show evidence of these “technosignatures.”

“This SETI proposal is about looking at atmospheric chemistry rather than other previously proposed technosignatures like radio signals or pulsed light beams,” Claire said.

Claire added that sulfur hexaflouride is another industrial molecule and greenhouse gas that could serve as a technosignature. Other technosignatures may include unusually large amounts of ammonia or carbon dioxide, when observed alongside gases such as oxygen and water vapor, which are often thought to be common signs of life, Som said.

I can see that this is a nice, safe method of the mainstream “discovering” alien civilizations using super-advanced spectrographic measurements of extra-planetary atmospheres.

It keeps the aliens at a distance that is “untraversable” by mechanical means ( which mainstream science and politics deems desirable )  but it satisfies the need to find alien peoples.

And meets the criteria of the 1960 Brookings Report.

Hat tip to The Anomalist.

No Terminators Here, It’s Old-Fashioned Human Killers


The Pentagon wants to make perfectly clear that every time one of its flying robots releases its lethal payload, it’s the result of a decision made by an accountable human being in a lawful chain of command. Human rights groups and nervous citizens fear that technological advances in autonomy will slowly lead to the day when robots make that critical decision for themselves. But according to a new policy directive issued by a top Pentagon official, there shall be no SkyNet, thank you very much.

Here’s what happened while you were preparing for Thanksgiving: Deputy Defense Secretary Ashton Carter signed, on November 21, a series of instructions to “minimize the probability and consequences of failures” in autonomous or semi-autonomous armed robots “that could lead to unintended engagements,” starting at the design stage (.pdf, thanks to Translated from the bureaucrat, the Pentagon wants to make sure that there isn’t a circumstance when one of the military’s many Predators, Reapers, drone-like missiles or other deadly robots effectively automatizes the decision to harm a human being.

The hardware and software controlling a deadly robot needs to come equipped with “safeties, anti-tamper mechanisms, and information assurance.” The design has got to have proper “human-machine interfaces and controls.” And, above all, it has to operate “consistent with commander and operator intentions and, if unable to do so, terminate engagements or seek additional human operator input before continuing the engagement.” If not, the Pentagon isn’t going to buy it or use it.

It’s reasonable to worry that advancements in robot autonomy are going to slowly push flesh-and-blood troops out of the role of deciding who to kill. To be sure, military autonomous systems aren’t nearly there yet. No Predator, for instance, can fire its Hellfire missile without a human directing it. But the military is wading its toe into murkier ethical and operational waters: The Navy’s experimental X-47B prototype will soon be able to land on an aircraft carrier with the barest of human directions. That’s still a long way from deciding on its own to release its weapons. But this is how a very deadly slope can slip.

It’s that sort of thing that worries Human Rights Watch, for instance. Last week, the organization, among the most influential non-governmental institutions in the world, issued a report warning that new developments in drone autonomy represented the demise of established “legal and non-legal checks on the killing of civilians.” Its solution: “prohibit the “development, production, and use of fully autonomous weapons through an international legally binding instrument.”

Laudable impulse, wrong solution, writes Matthew Waxman. A former Defense Department official for detainee policy, Waxman and co-author Kenneth Anderson observe that technological advancements in robotic weapons autonomy is far from predictable, and the definition of “autonomy” is murky enough to make it unwise to tell the world that it has to curtail those advancements at an arbitrary point. Better, they write, for the U.S. to start an international conversation about how much autonomy on a killer robot is appropriate, so as to “embed evolving internal state standards into incrementally advancing automation.”

Waxman and Anderson should be pleased with Carter’s memo, since those standards are exactly what Carter wants the Pentagon to bake into its next drone arsenal. Before the Pentagon agrees to develop or buy new autonomous or somewhat autonomous weapons, a team of senior Pentagon officials and military officers will have to certify that the design itself “incorporates the necessary capabilities to allow commanders and operators to exercise appropriate levels of human judgment in the use of force.” The machines and their software need to provide reliability assurances and failsafes to make sure that’s how they work in practice, too. And anyone operating any such deadly robot needs sufficient certification in both the system they’re using and the rule of law. The phrase “appropriate levels of human judgment” is frequently repeated, to make sure everyone gets the idea. (Now for the lawyers to argue about the meaning of “appropriate.”)

So much for SkyNet. But Carter’s directive blesses the forward march of autonomy in most everything military robots do that can’t kill you. It “[d]oes not apply to autonomous or semi-autonomous cyberspace systems for cyberspace operations; unarmed, unmanned platforms; unguided munitions; munitions manually guided by the operator (e.g., laser- or wire-guided munitions); mines; or unexploded explosive ordnance,” Carter writes.

Oh happy – happy, joy – joy. The semi-intelligent machines still needs a human in the loop to kill you, but doesn’t need one to spy on you.

Oh well, Big Brother still needs a body to put in jail to make the expense of robots worth their while I suppose…

Pentagon: A Human Will Always Decide When a Robot Kills You

Is The Character of Doctor Who a Living Thing?

From the Daily Grail:


Higgs later looks at Doctor Who through the framework of Moore’s Ideaspace, and it’s a wonderful little insight into the self-regenerating (pardon the pun) nature of the famous Timelord character:

Once it was off the air Doctor Who continued as a series of novels, and many of the people who wrote Doctor Who fiction in this period – Russell T. Davies, Mark Gattis, Paul Cornell and Steven Moffat to name a few – were responsible for resurrecting Doctor Who in 2005. Indeed a number of these people, and many British writers of their generation, have gone on record as saying that they only became writers in the first place because of Doctor Who.

When Russell T. Davies brought the series back to television he reinvigorated the character by using the narrative device of surviving a great ‘Time War’. The ‘Time War’ idea originally came from Alan Moore, who wrote a number of Doctor Who comic scripts in 1981 about a ‘4D War’ which had two time-travelling armies attacking each other at increasingly earlier points in time so that neither side had any idea about what the war was about, or who started it.

…The Doctor is the first British folk hero of the TV age, and the nature of his TV origins make him unusual. There is no definitive creator standing behind him, no Arthur Conan Doyle, J.R.R. Tolkien, Ian Fleming or J.K. Rowling. Instead, he popped out from the space between many minds. There was a succession of different actors, writers and producers who all invigorated the character for a short while before moving on or burning out. The character is defined by his ability to regenerate and change his personality. He can change all his friends and companions. He can go anywhere, at any time. He is, essentially, the perfect never-ending story. He will survive long after you, me or anyone currently involved in making the series has died. He adapts, grows, mutates and endures. In this he fulfils much of the standard definitions for a living thing. This is not bad going, for a fiction.

Already, there are many thousands of Doctor Who stories which, for a character of fiction, is almost unheard of. There have been hundreds of stories on TV, and there are countless more available as novels, audio CDs, comic books, films, stage plays, webcasts, fanfics and radio programmes. The growth of the story, compared to any other fiction from the same period, is deeply unusual. Indeed, it has become arguably the most expansive and complex non-religious fiction ever created.

According to Moore’s model of Ideaspace, this fiction may be complicated enough to act like a living thing. Note that this is not to say that Doctor Who is a living thing, for that would sound crazy It is to say that it behaves as if it were a living thing, which is a much more reasonable observation. Of course, if you then go on to try and define the difference between something that is living and something that behaves like it is living, you will be a brave soul indeed.

When the current Doctor Who writers claim that they only became writers because of Doctor Who, they usually credit the series of novels which [David] Whitaker started and which young boys devoured during the 1970s. There is another explanation, however, which comes from the very format of the programme. In the original series, episodes built towards a climax and ended on a cliff hanger in which the Doctor or his friends appeared to be in inescapable danger. Of course, the children watching knew that the Doctor would somehow survive. He always did. The question, then was not would he escape, but how? What could possibly happen to get the Doctor out of that situation? There would be much debate about this in school playgrounds after each episode. And as the kids thought about the problem, their imaginations were being stoked. They were thinking like writers. Indeed, they were trying to write the next episode themselves.

What we have here, then, is a character of fiction, neither created or ‘owned’ by any one imagination, who is actively creating the very environment – writer’s minds – that it needs to survive into the future. Not only is Doctor Who a fictitious character that acts like a living thing by constantly evolving and surviving, it is also a self-sustaining living thing that creates the one thing that it needs to survive. From an evolutionary point of view, that’s impressive.

I’ve skipped over a number of other fascinating elements of Higgs’ discussion of Doctor Who, such as the influence of alchemical thinking on David Whitaker’s creative output. And the Doctor Who segment is just one small part of what is a brilliant book that touches on everything from JFK assassination conspiracy theories through to the fascinating philosophical theories of Alan Moore and Robert Anton Wilson. All of this is framed in terms of the careers of Drummond and Cauty, the two halves that make up The KLF, and the strange scenarios and synchronicities that seem to have charged the duo with some sort of magical power. And ultimately, it’s about exploring the motivations, or influences, that led to their most infamous and debated act – taking the profits of their music career, a million British pounds, and burning it in the fireplace of a deserted boathouse on the Island of Jura in the middle of the night (see the video below for an interview with Cauty and Drummond discussing it). Higgs hits the nail on the head when he explains why most people find the burning of the million quid so disturbing – unlike someone spending millions on goods or services, “this wasn’t money being wasted; it was money being negated.”

The article’s description of the “character” of Doctor Who imitating the very nature of a living thing and I found that impressive.

But one must ask the question “If it walks like a duck, quacks like a duck and looks like a duck, is it a duck?”

The Regeneration of Doctor Who

Whither Martian Radiation?

From New Scientist:

You needn’t fry on Mars. Readings from NASA’s Curiosity rover suggest radiation levels on the Red Planet are about the same as those in low Earth orbit, where astronauts hang out for months on the International Space Station. A Mars visit would still be dangerous though, due to the years-long return trip.

Unlike Earth, Mars has no magnetosphere shielding it from solar and galactic radiation. But it does have a thin atmosphere, and readings from two of Curiosity’s instruments suggest this provides some protection.

“This is the first ever measurement of the radiation environment on any planet other than Earth,” Curiosity team member Don Hassler said at a press briefing on 15 November. “Astronauts can live in this environment.”

The rover’s weather station recorded evidence of what is known as a thermal tide on Mars. Sunlight heats the planet’s atmosphere on the side facing the sun, causing it to expand upwards and triggering a decrease in air pressure. But things chill quickly on the other side, so that the atmosphere deflates and becomes denser.

As Mars rotates, the bulge of heated air travels with the “day” side from east to west. Curiosity feels this effect as changes in air pressure over the course of a Martian day, rover scientist Claire Newman of Ashima Research in California said during the briefing.

Radiation shield

At the same time, the rover’s radiation monitor saw daily dips in charged particles that match the increases in air pressure that come with a denser atmosphere. “The atmosphere is acting as a shield to radiation,” Hassler said.

The scientists were not ready to put numbers to the daily radiation dose people would experience on Mars. But the overall levels are lower than those the spacecraft carrying Curiosity recorded during its interplanetary flight, and about what astronauts see on the ISS.

“It’s roughly what we were expecting,” astrobiologist Lewis Dartnell of University College London told New Scientist.

The biggest threat to Mars voyagers would be the cumulative radiation exposure during the long trip. NASA estimates that a return human mission to Mars would take three years. During that time astronauts might receive more than seven times the radiation dose they get during six months on the ISS.

Setting limits

Building up radiation exposure increases the risk of developing various cancers, so NASA has set limits on how much total radiation astronauts can experience over the course of their careers. Figuring out the exact risk on Mars is crucial to understanding the total dose a human mission would face and whether it is within safe limits, Hassler said.

Solar flares would also be a problem. On Earth these eruptions of charged particles from the sun are largely deflected by the magnetosphere. But Mars enjoys no such protection, and since Curiosity has yet to see a flare, it is unclear how much shielding the thin atmosphere would provide. ‘

Dartnell suggests that a base or colony on Mars could be built underground to avoid surface radiation. Or, with enough advance warning, astronauts could retreat to protective shelters during a flare. But is all that trouble worth it just to send humans where robots already thrive?

“An astronaut or geologist that’s trained in science that has a brain and a pair of hands and pair of eyes with a rock hammer can do a lot more on the surface on Mars before breakfast than a robot can do in weeks,” says Dartnell.

Well, I guess I stand corrected on my blog post yesterday about human destroying radiation on the Martian surface yesterday!

This is a good thing, if one is a supporter of human based spaceflight and colonization, but one must remember the financial cost of such an endeavor, despite of the discovery that the Martian atmosphere can turn away radiation to a manageable level.

But perhaps Elon Musk can get his initial wish of landing an automated green-house on Mars? That would would be a good test to see if organics can grow there with few harmful mutations?

Mars is safe from radiation – but the trip there isn’t

Mars and all that radiation


Can humans live on Mars ?

Curiosity is taking the first ever radiation measurements from the surface of another planet in order to determine if future human explorers can live on Mars – as she traverses the terrain of the Red Planet. Curiosity is looking back to her rover tracks and the foothills of Mount Sharp and the eroded rim of Gale Crater in the distant horizon on Sol 24 (Aug. 30, 2012). This panorama is featured on PBS NOVA ‘Ultimate Mars Challenge’ documentary which premiered on Nov. 14. RAD is located on the rover deck in this colorized mosaic stitched together from Navcam images. Credit: NASA / JPL-Caltech / Ken Kremer / Marco Di Lorenzo

Read more at:

NASA’s plucky Mars Exploration Rover Opportunity has thrived for nearly a decade traversing the plains of Meridiani Planum despite the continuous bombardment of sterilizing cosmic and solar radiation from charged particles thanks to her radiation hardened innards. How about humans? What fate awaits them on a bold and likely year’s long expedition to the endlessly extreme and drastically harsh environment on the surface of the radiation drenched Red Planet – if one ever gets off the ground here on Earth? How much shielding would people need? Answering these questions is one of the key quests ahead for NASA’s SUV sized Curiosity Mars rover – now 100 Sols, or Martian days, into her 2 year long primary mission phase. Preliminary data looks promising. Curiosity survived the 8 month interplanetary journey and the unprecedented sky crane rocket powered descent maneuver to touch down safely inside Gale Crater beside the towering layered foothills of 3 mi. (5.5 km) high Mount Sharp on Aug. 6, 2012. Now she is tasked with assessing whether Mars and Gale Crater ever offered a habitable environment for microbial life forms – past or present. Characterizing the naturally occurring radiation levels stemming from galactic cosmic rays and the sun will address the habitability question for both microbes and astronauts. Radiation can destroy near-surface organic molecules.

Read more at:

Can humans live on Mars ?

Longer-Term Radiation Variations at Gale Crater. This graphic shows the variation of radiation dose measured by the Radiation Assessment Detector on NASA’s Curiosity rover over about 50 sols, or Martian days, on Mars. (On Earth, Sol 10 was Sept. 15 and Sol 60 was Oct. 6, 2012.) The dose rate of charged particles was measured using silicon detectors and is shown in black. The total dose rate (from both charged particles and neutral particles) was measured using a plastic scintillator and is shown in red. Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech/ SwRI

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Researchers are using Curiosity’s state-of-the-art Radiation Assessment Detector (RAD) instrument to monitor high-energy radiation on a daily basis and help determine the potential for real life health risks posed to future human explorers on the Martian surface. “The atmosphere provides a level of shielding, and so charged-particle radiation is less when the atmosphere is thicker,” said RAD Principal Investigator Don Hassler of the Southwest Research Institute in Boulder, Colo. See the data graphs. “Absolutely, the astronauts can live in this environment. It’s not so different from what astronauts might experience on the International Space Station. The real question is if you add up the total contribution to the astronaut’s total dose on a Mars mission can you stay within your career limits as you accumulate those numbers. Over time we will get those numbers,” Hassler explained. The initial RAD data from the first two months on the surface was revealed at a media briefing for reporters on Thursday, Nov. 15 and shows that radiation is somewhat lower on Mars surface compared to the space environment due to shielding from the thin Martian atmosphere. RAD hasn’t detected any large solar flares yet from the surface. “That will be very important,” said Hassler. “If there was a massive solar flare that could have an acute effect which could cause vomiting and potentially jeopardize the mission of a spacesuited astronaut.” “Overall, Mars’ atmosphere reduces the radiation dose compared to what we saw during the cruise to Mars by a factor of about two.” RAD was operating and already taking radiation measurements during the spacecraft’s interplanetary cruise to compare with the new data points now being collected on the floor of Gale Crater. Enlarge Curiosity Self Portrait with Mount Sharp at Rocknest ripple in Gale Crater. Curiosity used the Mars Hand Lens Imager (MAHLI) camera on the robotic arm to image herself and her target destination Mount Sharp in the background. Mountains in the background to the left are the northern wall of Gale Crater. This color panoramic mosaic was assembled from raw images snapped on Sol 85 (Nov. 1, 2012). Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech/MSSS/Ken Kremer/Marco Di Lorenzo

Read more at:

Mars atmospheric pressure is a bit less than 1% of Earth’s. It varies somewhat in relation to atmospheric cycles dependent on temperature and the freeze-thaw cycle of the polar ice caps and the resulting daily thermal tides. “We see a daily variation in the radiation dose measured on the surface which is anti-correlated with the pressure of the atmosphere. Mars atmosphere is acting as a shield for the radiation. As the atmosphere gets thicker that provides more of a shield. Therefore we see a dip in the radiation dose by about 3 to 5%, every day,” said Hassler. There are also seasonal changes in radiation levels as Mars moves through space. The RAD team is still refining the radiation data points. “There’s calibrations and characterizations that we’re finalizing to get those numbers precise. We’re working on that. And we’re hoping to release that at the AGU [American Geophysical Union] meeting in December.”

Read more at:

This article epitomizes the battle between the sending humans to explore space and the artificial life-form/machine crowds.

I can truly understand the human exploration groups – they are the folks I grew up with during the Gemini/Apollo/Moon-landing eras and I will forever regard those folks as heroes and pioneers.

But as a late middle-aged adult who has followed the Space Age for the past 50 years I see the writing on the wall – economics are determining the course of spaceflight into the Solar System and Universe. And machine explorers are definitely more economical than human ones, especially in the foreseeable future.

I remain hopeful however that individuals like James Cameron and Elon Musk will find economical ways to colonize Mars and eventually nearby planets within 4 – 6 light-years.

Hey, if the Marianas Trench can be explored by folks like Cameron, so can Mars and Alpha Centauri Bb!

Can humans live on Mars?

Jim Moseley, Ufology Pioneer and Magazine Publisher, Passes into the Veil

Fortean explorer and UFO humorist Jim Moseley died of cancer this past Friday night ( 11/16 ) at the age of 81.

I never talked to, emailed, posted a reply or blogged Mr. Moseley at all since I’ve been posting on the Internet over the past five years, but I’ve listened to him and Gene Steinberg banter on Steinberg’s Paracast radio show enough times to know that he was a very fascinating and interesting folk character in his own right and that his influence will be felt in the UFO community forever and his type of humor will be greatly missed:

Fortean friend, ufology humorist, and writer James W. Moseley, 81, died Friday night, November 16, 2012. He passed away at a Key West, Florida, hospital, several months after being diagnosed with cancer of the esophagus.

Upon hearing of the death of Moseley, Anomalist Books publisher and editor Patrick Huyghe said: “He was one of the last remaining old timers from the golden age of flying saucers. Goodbye, Jim.”

I, Loren Coleman, first met James W. Moseley (“Jim” to his friends) when he, John Keel, and I were speaking at a Fortfest in the D.C. area, in 1973. The most vivid memory I have of that time is sitting with these two gentlemen in the dark and shabby lobby of a motel, listening to the foremost scholars of ufology decide what they would do that evening. I recall politely excusing myself to finetune my next day’s presentation, as they skipped off, by foot, across the multilane highway, to visit a nearby striptease joint. And thus I was introduced to the braintrust of ufology, and knew what the end would look like – some sort of cosmic mix of humor and nudity galore!

For years, according to only a few readers, Moseley too frequently posted photographs of large-breasted women in his humorous ufology newsletter, Saucer Smear, confusing people who wished to claim that Moseley was gay, even though he was not, just because others wish to remain closeted for years.

Did it matter what people thought? Ufology historian and Moseley friend Jerome Clark wrote me: “Well, it did matter. It mattered to Jim, who was not gay and who did not like it when people spread such speculation.”

But it went beyond breasts: In the May 10, 2004, issue of Saucer Smear, Moseley highlighted the republishing of a book on three alien monsters raping a woman named Barbara Turner in her bedroom.
Actually, it was quite obvious. Moseley was a comic, extremely interested in women and sex, and loved to be the center-of-attention. Certainly, his lifestyle was secretive to some. For almost thirty years, Moseley lived in Florida.
Moseley with a large poster of marine treasure hunter Mel Fisher.

In 1984, Moseley established an antiques store in Key West, Florida. He also made money in real estate. In 1992, Moseley donated his Peruvian material to the Graves Museum of Archaeology and Natural History, located in Dania, Florida, where it is on permanent display.

James Moseley was a pivotal chronicler of a now-famed mystery that issued from his interest in ancient Peruvian artifacts. It is to be recalled that the Nazca Lines were first discovered by the Peruvian archaeologist Toribio Mejia Xesspe, who spotted them when hiking through the foothills in 1927. He discussed them at a conference in Lima in 1939. Maria Reiche, a German-born mathematician and archaeologist, first studied and set out to preserve the Nazca Lines in 1940. Paul Kosok, a historian from Long Island University, is credited as the first scholar to seriously study the Nazca Lines in the USA, on site in Peru, in 1940-41. But it was Moseley who first wrote about the Nazca Lines as an intriguing Fortean phenomena in Fate Magazine, in October 1955, suggesting a mysterious origin, long before they interested alternative writers such as Erich von Däniken (1968), Henri Stierlin (1983) and Gerald Hawkins (1990).

Of Bracewell Probes, Black Knights, VALIS and NASA’s Unmanned Machines

Bracewell Probe – “…is an interstellar probe theorized by Ronald Bracewell in 1960 that is sent to prospective nearby solar systems to study for life, or primitive civilizations.” (

Black Knight Satellite – “Forbidden History Website Link and Article: 

“Black Knight” Satellite

What is the “Black Knight” satellite? It is a mysterious satellite, of unknown origin, discovered in 1960 which shadowed Sputnik. It is believed to have been of extraterrestrial origin, and signaled back old radio waves from the 1920s and 1930s before it disappeared. In short wave patterns analyzed by astronomer Duncan Lunan, it revealed its origin as Epsilon Boötes (or the star system as it was 13,000 years ago).

In “Disneyland of the Gods”, by John Keel, he reports in depth on this satellite:

“In February 1960 the US detected an unknown object in polar orbit, a feat that neither they or the USSR had been able to accomplish. As if that wasn’t enough, it apparently was several sizes larger than anything either country would have been able to get off the ground.

And then, the oddness began. HAM operators began to receive strange coded messages. One person in particular said he managed to decode one of the transmissions, and it corresponded to a star chart. A star chart which would have been plotted from earth 13,000 years ago, and focused on the Epsilon Bostes star system.

On September 3, 1960, seven months after the satellite was first detected by radar, a tracking camera at Grumman Aircraft Corporation’s Long Island factory took a photograph of it. People on the ground had been occasionally seeing it for about two weeks at that point. Viewers would make it out as a red glowing object moving in an east-to-west orbit. Most satellites of the time, according to what little material I’ve been able to find on the black knight satellite, moved from west-to-east. It’s speed was also about three times normal. A committee was formed to examine it, but nothing more was ever made public.

Three years later, Gordon Cooper was launched into space for a 22 orbit mission. On his final orbit, he reported seeing a glowing green shape ahead of his capsule, and heading in his direction. It’s said that the Muchea tracking station, in Australia, which Cooper reported this too was also able to pick it up on radar traveling in an east-to-west orbit. This event was reported by NBC, but reporters were forbidden to ask Cooper about the event on his landing. The official explanation is that an electrical malfunction in the capsule had caused high levels of carbon dioxide, which induced hallucinations.[1]”

Now, I [webmaster] haven’t been able to find reports on this satellite from any news source, but given the recently discovered photos from Russian satellite footage and the stories regarding unknown objects that the early US astronauts saw, I’m inclined to believe this satellite existed. However, the question is its origin- was it a secret US military project, an artifact from earlier in history, or extraterrestrial? The evidence is insufficient to determine the answer.” (

VALIS – “…is a 1981 science fiction novel by Philip K. Dick. The title is an acronym for Vast Active Living Intelligence System, Dick’s gnostic vision of one aspect ofGod.

[…]Horselover Fat believes his visions expose hidden facts about the reality of life on Earth, and a group of others join him in researching these matters. One of their theories is that there is some kind of alien space probe in orbit around Earth, and that it is aiding them in their quest. It also aided the United States in disclosing the Watergate scandal and the resignation of Richard Nixon in 1974. There is a filmed account of an alternate universe Nixon, “Ferris Freemont” and his fall, engineered by a fictionalised Valis, which leads them to an estate owned by the Lamptons, popular musicians. Valis (the fictional film) contains obvious references to identical revelations to those that Horselover Fat has experienced. They decide the goal that they have been led toward is Sophia, who is two years old and the Messiah or incarnation of Holy Wisdom anticipated by some variants of Gnostic Christianity. She tells them that their conclusions are correct, but dies after a laser accident. Undeterred, Fat goes on a global search for the next incarnation of Sophia. Dick also offers a rationalist explanation of his apparent “theophany”, acknowledging that it might have been visual and auditory hallucinations from either schizophrenia or drug addiction sequelae.


Now what does the above have to do with future NASA machines that will be tele-operated from the orbit of the Earth, Moon and a moon of Mars?

That the end product of the future NASA machines will be intelligent, whether they be pure robotic intelligences, uploaded minds or a combination of both.

Let’s study the possible alien Black Knight/VALIS Bracewell probe first:

Originally posted by Esoterica a member of ATS Post ID 292902 
Thread – 

I was in a bookstore and was just flipping through a bargain book of weird happenings.  One entry, only a couple of paragraphs long, caught my interest because I had never heard of it before.

The basic blurb was that in 1957, an unknown satellite was detected shadowing the Sputnik I craft.  It was in a polar orbit, something that neither the Americans or Soviets were capable of at the time.  There was a statement that ham radio operaters pickd up radio transmissions that were “decoded” (whatever that means) as being a star map that indicated the craft originated from Epsilon Bootes 13,000 years before.  This object was dubbed “The Black Knight.”

Also in this blurb, there was mention that science fiction author Philip K. Dick believed that he was in contact with this object, which he wrote several novels about, and gave it various names (VALIS, Zebra). 

So obviously intrigued, I did some searching on ATS and found no mention of it.  Google had a few returns which indicated this story was first written about in John Keel’s “Disneyland of the Gods.”  The effort is hampered because there are several legit satellite projects codenamed “Black Knight.”

The information of Dick’s experiences and writings indicated he received visions, and seemed to interperet the experience and object in somewhat Christian religious terms, in addition to strange communications and diagrams he couldn’t interperet.  He eventually became paranoid Russian scientists were attempting to control the satellite.  A science fiction writer infamous for his heavy drug use eventually living out a sci-fi story… seems to me just as likely that it was just his lifestyle catching up to him than any ET communication.  But who knows.

In my searching, I also discovered a very close story from 1927, 30 years earlier.  It involves the phenomena of Long Delayed Echoes.  Essentially, these are radio transmissions that are reflected back, apparently from space, seconds to minutes after they are first sent.  There doesn’t seem to be any rhyme or reason to it.  It could be atmospheric effects just making it appear as if the transmissions are coming from space, or it could ben an alien craft attempting to communicate with us.  Logically, it would send back transmissions it recieved from Earth because it could be almost positive that we could receive it.  Anyway, the story is that Norwegian scientists received strange radio “echoes” in 1927-28.  In the 1970’s Scottish astronomer Duncan Lunan interpereted the delayed transmission as a star map… of Epsilon Bootis.  Whether these are two instances of the same stragne transmissions, or one story is a retelling of the other is unknown to me.  It wouldn’t be the first time the same ideas were repackaged and attempted to be passed off as a “new” anomalous story.

Anyway, I made this thread just to get the story out there, and to ask if anybody has any additional information regarding it.  Below are links to everything pertinent I could find on the internet, and most are just retellings of the same story in different forms.

I have a theory; One billion years ago intelligent life and eventually civilization arose on the second planet of Epsilon Bootes. I have no idea what form these beings had, but they had the ability to manipulate their environment to the point where they built a highly technical civilization. They built space probes to explore their solar system and telescopes to spy upon the stars closest to them and out into the Universe.

Then they observed a small G2 star about 200 light-years from them and with eventually more powerful telescopes, they spied a small, green world dead center of the star’s habitable zone.

They studied and they studied. Their viewing apparatuses evolved to the point where they can see the surface of the green world. They studied the flora and fauna more as time went by. In the meantime however, their own star evolved. The star, which is a K-type, burns hotter and is prone to fierce magnetic storms and flares. And it was due for a slight expansion.

The beings on the second world knew their planet was going to be razed by the expansion and there was no safe haven close by. They had to move their civilization lock, stock and barrel to a safe distance. And the safest distance was out to the seventh world in their solar system. But the planet wasn’t suitable to their form of life. And it was too late to change the planet into one in which they could survive in their present form on it’s surface.

But it wasn’t too late to change themselves.

The change didn’t take long, being real close to a Technological Singularity, their civilization transformed itself into a cyborg/machine culture in which they uploaded their minds into indestructible materials. The original race perished, but their children survived and thrived on the seventh planet.

In the meanwhile, their studies of Sol 3 didn’t stop. By the time the original Epsilon Bootes 2 civilization evolved into the Epsilon Bootes 7 civilization, a creature arose on the green world that caught the collective eye of the Booteans.

And the creature showed the promise of the one trait the Booteans held in high esteem; Intelligence.

Knowing full well they dodged a major extinction event, the Booteans decided they needed to nurture possible intelligence wherever it is found in the Universe, for in their observations Intelligence seemed to be rare, despite the fact that life itself wasn’t.

And they couldn’t believe their incredible good luck in discovering a proto-intelligent species relatively close-by to their own solar system.

So they decide to construct an intelligent probe to send to the planet in order to “help” the creatures along on the evolutionary path to reach their full potential. The probe was outfitted with all kinds of communication devices which are electromagnetic, digital, radio, quantum and what could be described as “telepathic.”

The rest is history. The Bootean probe has been in the L2 zone of the Moon’s orbit for what I guess to be about 7 million years, a relatively short amount of time in the Universe scheme of things, the evolution of intelligent beings and their close proximity to each other in Time and Space.

Could the U.S. military have the probe in its possession and has been trying to access it’s memory for decades? Is the UFO phenomenon all mental hallucinations created by the Probe in order to get us ready to accept the existence of K1, 2 or 3 civilizations?

If we turn our telescopes to Epsilon Bootes, will we find a thriving post-Singularity culture there, or Ascension Fossils?

And will our own NASA probes eventually evolve into intelligent machines that explores our Solar System and nearby stars?

Maybe I’ll get my mind uploaded in a couple of decades and find out for myself!

Interplanetary Internet Communication and Robotics


NASA and the European Space Agency (ESA) used an experimental version of interplanetary Internet in late October to control an educational rover from the International Space Station, NASA says.

The experiment used NASA’s Disruption Tolerant Networking (DTN) protocol to transmit messages and demonstrate technology that one day may enable Internet-like communications with space vehicles and support habitats or infrastructure on another planet.

Space station Expedition 33 commander Sunita Williams in late October used a NASA-developed laptop to remotely drive a small LEGO robot at the European Space Operations Centre in Darmstadt, Germany. The European-led experiment used NASA’s DTN to simulate a scenario in which an astronaut in a vehicle orbiting a planetary body controls a robotic rover on the planet’s surface.

“The demonstration showed the feasibility of using a new communications infrastructure to send commands to a surface robot from an orbiting spacecraft and receive images and data back from the robot,” said Badri Younes, deputy associate administrator for space communications and navigation at NASA Headquarters. “The experimental DTN we’ve tested from the space station may one day be used by humans on a spacecraft in orbit around Mars to operate robots on the surface, or from Earth using orbiting satellites as relay stations.”

The DTN architecture is a new communications technology that enables standardized communications similar to the Internet to function over long distances and through time delays associated with on-orbit or deep space spacecraft or robotic systems. The core of the DTN suite is the Bundle Protocol (BP), which is roughly equivalent to the Internet Protocol (IP) that serves as the core of the Internet on Earth.

While IP assumes a continuous end-to-end data path exists between the user and a remote space system, DTN accounts for disconnections and errors. In DTN, data move through the network “hop-by-hop.” While waiting for the next link to become connected, bundles are temporarily stored and then forwarded to the next node when the link becomes available.

NASA’s work on DTN is part of the agency’s Space Communication and Navigation (SCaN) Program. SCaN coordinates multiple space communications networks and network support functions to regulate, maintain and grow NASA’s space communications and navigation capabilities in support of the agency’s space missions.

This ties in with NASA’s future plans of putting a small space station at the L2 (EML-2) point in the Moon’s orbit so that robotic exploration of the lunar surface can take place.

Of course this depends if this method is cost effective or not and the taxpaying public ( in both the U.S. and the EU ) are willing to foot the bill.

Astronaut on ISS uses interplanetary Internet to control robot in Germany

Future Space Explorations will be Humans with Robots



Rumors are currently swirling that NASA may soon announce plans to send humans back to the moon and then, onward, to an asteroid and Mars. While this immediately invokes visions of moon bases and the first footsteps on Mars, the truth is likely to be very different.

Nowadays some scientists and engineers at NASA and other space agencies are taking a second look at historical exploration scenarios. In the past, robotic and human exploration have been seen as rivals, we either do one or the other. Some in the spaceflight community have said we can do everything with machines while others argued that exploration is a man’s job. But there’s another option. The still-nascent field of telerobotics, where humans operate robotic surrogates from afar, means that our next exploration efforts will be quite unlike anything seen before.

With ever-improving computing power and communication protocols, astronauts could float in a space station in orbit around the moon or Mars, donning exoskeleton controllers to teleoperate robots in real time. These probes would drive, fly, drill, dig, scoop, and gather material faster and with more precision than current probes controlled from Earth. The best part of humans, our powerful brains that can identify the perfect geologic rock sample and make decisions on the fly, would be combined with all the advantages of robots — their advanced cameras, suites of instruments, and bodies that aren’t prone to degenerative problems like blindness and bone loss after months of space travel. One day our mechanical proxies could even help humans visit places that would destroy our bodies, like the hellish surface of Venus or the frozen ocean of Europa.

“I don’t want to replace the humans in space with robots,” said NASA engineer Geoffrey Landis, who works with the Spirit and Opportunity rover science team and writes science fiction. “But I think it’s a good way to start. Because we do have robots and the robots are getting much better, while the humans are evolving much more slowly. Let’s not do humans or robots, lets work together.”

The future will be one where human cognition visits another planet via machine while our bodies remain high above it. Welcome to planetary exploration rebooted or, perhaps, de-booted.

NASA is an exploration agency but there are currently several competing ideas as to what their destination should be. A plan that started development in 2004, President Bush’s Constellation program, would have built an enormous new rocket and tons of new hardware to enable a moon base and future Mars mission. Constellation, sometimes referred to as “Apollo on steroids,” would have also incurred enormous costs. The Obama administration canceled the effort in 2010 and decided NASA should avoid the deep and potentially dangerous gravity wells of planets, focusing instead on zero-g points around the moon or an asteroid. But vestiges of the old Constellation program remain.

Congress was all for ditching the moon and Mars plans but decided to keep building the shiny new rocket (maintaining employment in many of their constituent districts). The Space Launch System, which is scheduled to be ready for human crews in 2019, will be the most powerful rocket ever built, capable of bringing astronauts beyond low-Earth orbit, where the space station sits, for the first time since the Apollo days.

This puts NASA in a conundrum. “Once you’re out there, then what do you do?” said astronomer Jack Burns from the University of Colorado. Within a decade, we may be able to get people in the vicinity of the moon but “there’s not enough money in the budget to build a human lander.”

Space funding is flat. NASA is not projected to get much more than its current $17.7 billion per year for the next five years. This makes efforts that don’t require human landings on other worlds much more attractive. Burns is part of the new wave of scientists and engineers that are re-thinking exploration. He helps run a consortium called the Lunar University Network for Astrophysics Research (LUNAR) that is looking at missions where astronauts teleoperate robots on the lunar far side to conduct scientific investigations.

Under such a project, NASA would use its big new rocket to get astronauts to the Earth-moon Lagrange 2 point, where gravitational forces from both bodies cancel out and allow a spaceship to sit tight without expending fuel. From here, a crew could stay in continuous contact with mission control on Earth while floating 40,000 miles above the far side of the moon, an area never explored by Apollo. Perhaps as early as next decade, three astronauts could visit L2 in NASA’s Orion spacecraft. It’s possible that there they would meet up with a deep-space habitat derived from leftover ISS parts that NASA is currently planning.

From their vantage high above the moon, the crew would release a flotilla of rovers and probes to the lunar surface and direct them to interesting geological areas, such as the South Pole Aitken Basin. As one of the largest and oldest impact basins in the solar system, Aitken would provide valuable information about the heavy asteroid shellacking our planet received during its earliest days. A human operator would drive the rover around and select several 4 billion-year-old rocks, corresponding to a time when the first single-celled life forms appearing on Earth. If the crew could return such rocks back to a lab, scientists might be able to figure out the origin story of terrestrial life.

Image: NASA and the LUNAR consortium’s K-10 Black rover, performing tests in a crater in Canada. Matt Deans

Another project that researchers envision would use a remote-controlled robot to roll out 33-foot-long sheets of thin plastic studded with metallic antennas. These structures would act as a giant radio antenna, listening to signals from the earliest stars and galaxies. Scientists currently have little information about the time between the smooth universe just after the Big Bang and a billion years later, when the cosmos was full of stars and galaxies. Earth’s radio frequencies are jammed up with noise from garage door openers, radio, TV signals, and other technology so the lunar far side provides a clean window to this early history of the universe.

In the summer of 2013, NASA will begin telerobotics field tests at Ames research campus in Mountain View, California. Astronauts aboard the ISS will control a robot named K-10 as it travels over the surface and deploys a roll of film antennas.

“The future will be one in which an astronaut leads a team of robots,” said Burns. “They will be pioneers for what is going to be the new way of exploring in space and other planetary bodies.”

This works into the Singularity scenario very well because robotic tele-operations will quickly evolve into mind-uploading.

I’m not really sure if that’s a good thing, but it will be more cost effective to change an organism to fit an alien environment than try to engineer an environment to fit an alien organism ( meaning human explorers or settlers ).

Time will tell.

Almost Being There: Why the Future of Space Exploration Is Not What You Think

Happy 237th Birthday Marines!

Happy 237th Birthday Marines!




From the naval actions of the Revolution to the mountains of Afghanistan, Marines have served valiantly in every one of our nation’s conflicts. For hundreds of years, Marines have fought, lived and died with honor, continuing the Marine Corps legacy of service to our nation. Every Marine, past and present, has earned their place within this proud culture of traditions, symbols and values.

Our Purpose

Missions have changed over the years, but what has remained constant since November 10, 1775 is our unyielding commitment to protecting the lives of our citizens and the interests of our nation. Our purpose, by congressional mandate, is to be this nation’s rapid response force; we are thus called to be “most ready when the nation is least ready.” From humanitarian relief efforts to combat operations; from air, land and sea to every clime and place, the Marine Corps is ready to answer our nation’s call.

Explore Our Purpose

Defining Moments

Ours is a legacy established by the Marines at Belleau Wood, Guadalcanal, Iwo Jima and Chosin Reservoir, but there is much more to our history than our successes in battle. From the first integration of African-Americans into our ranks to the first Marine female engagement teams deployed into Afghanistan, there are many moments that have defined our years, advanced our Corps and paved the way for future generations of Marines.

Explore Defining Moments


Since the founding of the Marine Corps at Philadelphia’s Tun Tavern in 1775, Marines have adapted to overcome the ever-evolving threats facing our nation and world. Journey into the history and legacy of the nation’s most revered expeditionary force.

Explore Timeline

Principles & Values

Throughout our proud history, the Marine Corps has filled its ranks only with those who held themselves to the highest of standards of character. Guiding every action, assisting every decision, these are the principles and values every Marine embraces.

Explore Principles & Values


Our emblem, our flag, our swords and our uniforms are symbols that represent our illustrious history and our elite warrior class. These symbols connect today’s Marines to the entire lineage of warriors who have earned their place among the Few.

Explore Symbols


On display for our entire nation, Marine bands, color guards and the Silent Drill Platoon exemplify the discipline, precision and skill required to serve as United States Marines. These traditions provide a great source of pride, but there are many more that also bond Marines to the warriors who came before them. From the nautical terms we use to the nicknames we’ve earn in battle, these are the traditions that represent our Corps with honor.

Explore Traditions

The Marines have been accused of being the strong-arm of the global bankster elite over the years and this may be true, no matter what political party is in the White House.

But it doesn’t detract from the sacrifice, integrity and bravery of the people who have made up the Corps over the centuries and I am proud to have been part of this Cadre of Professionals at one time.

Semper Fi!