CHAPTER TWELVE
EXTRA TERRESTRIALS
 

'...it's entirely possible, in my view,

that we could retrieve a message from another world

within just a few decades... '
Seth Shostak

Senior Astronomer, SETI
 

The idea that intelligent creatures might exist somewhere else in the cosmos has fascinated humanity ever since the invention of the telescope revealed that our world is but one amongst countless others.

 

At first some people wondered if there were people living around the supposed seas on the Moon and others feared invasion from near neighbors, particularly Mars.

In 1858 an Italian astronomer called Secchi announced that he had seen 'canali on the surface of Mars, and in 1877 Giovanni Virginio Schiaparelli, an astronomer at the Milan Observatory, produced drawings of these features. Though the most accurate translation of the Italian word 'canali would have been 'channels', it was translated into English as 'canals'.

 

With the completion of the Suez Canal fresh in people's minds, the interpretation was taken to mean that huge artificial waterways had been discovered - which amounted to evidence of intelligent life.

Debate raged over the findings, with Schiaparelli himself stating that there was no reason to suppose that the canals were artificial. The discovery sparked the imagination of a young m an named Percival Lowell who was at the beginning of what was to be a distinguished career in astronomy.

 

He was one of the first to realize that it was far m ore sensible to site observatories in out-of -the-way places, such as deserts or on mountaintops, where smoke and light spillage from cities would not diminish the astronomers view of the heavens. He was the driving force behind the creation of the Lowell Observatory in Flagstaff, Arizona, in 1894.

Professor Lowell studied linear features on Mars with his twenty-four- inch telescope and developed theories about the habitability of Mars, based on his estimate that the planet had an average temperature of 48F.

 

The Lowell Observatory made consistent observations of the Martian canals and Lowell personally maintained that the linear features were indeed of artificial origin.

When spacecraft reached Mars, scientists expected to discover what the canals really were but they found that there were no canals and almost no straight lines on the planet at all. We have to conclude that either the Martians have camouflaged them rather well over the last century or, infinitely more likely, a generation of astronomers were imagining things at the limits of their optical telescopes.

The idea that there could be real Martians was a popular worry that was brilliantly used as the plot by H.G. Wells in his novel War of the Worlds.

A wave of mass hysteria gripped thousands of radio listeners in October 1938, when a dramatization of this book was broadcast and led unsuspecting listeners to believe that an interplanetary conflict had started, with invading Martians spreading death and destruction across New Jersey and New York.

The next day the New York Times reported on the scare:

'A weather report was given, prosaically. An announcer remarked that the program would be continued from a hotel, with dance music.

 

For a few moments a dance program was given in the usual manner. Then there was a "break-in" with a "flash" about a professor at an observatory reported on the scare: noting a series of gas explosions on the planet Mars.

News bulletins and scene broadcasts followed, reporting, with the technique in which the radio had reported actual events, the landing of a "meteor" near Princeton N. J., "killing" 1,500 persons, the discovery that the "meteor" was a "metal cylinder" containing strange creatures from Mars armed with "death rays" to open hostilities against the inhabitants of the earth.'

By far the majority of experts now accept that if advanced life of any sort does exist in places other than the Earth, we will almost certainly have to look towards interstellar space in order to find it.

 

But our greater knowledge of outer space has not quelled the public's appetite for close-encounter stories.

The famous Roswell incident is believed by many to be an extraterrestrial encounter. It is said that a UFO crashed in the New Mexico desert in July 1947 and the debris was removed to an army base in Fort Worth, Texas.

A US government cover-up is said to have tried to pass off the event by stating that the debris was actually part of a radar unit from a weather balloon.

Rumors about the existence of secret alien bases located in various places, such as the Moon, under the ocean, or in a tropical rain forest have persisted. Some people have gone so far as to claim that they have worked on secret UFO projects for the government and seen UFOs at military installations.

 

According to a recent poll, some three million Americans believe that they have encountered bright lights and incurred strange bodily m arks indicative of a possible encounter with aliens. Psychological tests confirm that these 'abductees' are rarely psychotic or mentally ill in any usual sense of the term.

It makes us wonder whether humans are simply prone to having some kind of neural dysfunction involving optical illusions. Maybe the decline of old-style belief in mythical creatures like fairies and goblins and in religious imagery such as angels or the Virgin Mary, has caused people to have new kinds of hallucinations.

 

Where people once thought they saw the 'little people' dancing in a circle of light or a heavenly messenger with a glowing halo, the bright lights in their heads are now translated as alien contact.

Whilst the debate continues about everything from Roswell to crop circles, it has to be admitted that there has never been any proof of alien contact - and it is, of course, impossible to prove the negative. However, the probability of contact does seem extremely small, given the vast amounts of space and time involved.

The solar system, of which the Earth forms a small part, is only one of m any even in our own corner of our galaxy - the Milky Way. Astronomers have identified stars that definitely have planets orbiting them, so the state of affairs within our own solar system is certainly not unique.

 

An interesting finding has been that larger, gaseous planets in other star systems, much like Jupiter and Saturn in our own, have been discovered to have an orbit that is always very close to their host star. From these early indications it seems that our planetary arrangement is unique, which just might not be accidental.

It is a fact that if Jupiter were not just over five times more distant from the Sun than we are, advanced life on Earth would not exist. This giant planet is positioned as a 'catcher' of space objects that would otherwise impact into the Earth.

 

A dramatic example of this was seen in July 1994, when twenty-one fragments of the comet Shoemaker-Levy 9 smashed into Jupiter at speeds of up to half a million kilometers and hour, creating fireballs larger than the planet Earth.

If we are right about the Moon being constructed to act as an incubator, the manufacturer would have been pleased to note that Jupiter and Saturn were in very unusual and perhaps unique outer orbits.

 

If it were not so, they would have to have caused them to be in this position - which would suggest that the entire solar system could have been designed for the benefit of humankind!

Whether or not our solar system is a happy accident, it is estimated that there are a thousand million other stars in our galaxy alone, any one of which could possess a planetary system where life might have evolved and even flourished. Beyond our galaxy there must be stars with Earth- like planets beyond counting. Bearing these facts in mind, it surely appears unreasonable to believe that only our tiny little green planet is alone in producing a self-aware species.

However as we have previously noticed, setting out to actually meet our intergalactic or extragalactic cousins seems hopeless, even if we knew where they were located. But this may not be the end of the story.

Time is not a fixed concept. If a person could travel close to the speed of light, they would experience a severe slowdown in time, relative to a slower moving object. At light speed, time stops completely, relative to something moving at a much lesser speed. Because of this 'time stop', a photon that travels at the speed of light would not experience distance and time in the normal way.

 

So from the photon's point of view, it could go from one end of the Universe to the other instantly, while from an outside point of view it would take about thirteen billion years.

Still stranger, scientists have found the need to speculate about the existence of a particle called a 'tachyon' that can travel faster than light. But theoretically at least, travelling faster than light would result in an individual going backwards in time. So the tachyon is something of a mystery at the moment, with scientists having to calculate the activity of these particles with time working in reverse.

So, just maybe, there will be ways to work around the problem of travelling at speeds close to, or even above, the speed of light.

Next, there is the possibility of intergalactic communication using what physicists call 'quantum entanglement', that can happen to sub atomic particles. If quarks with identical spin are paired and separated, and the spin of one is changed, the other changes its spin instantaneously to match that of its partner - no matter how far apart they are separated.

 

Einstein called this phenomenon 'spooky distance', and it suggests that some force, not yet understood, must be capable of travelling in folded space in some manner or may not exist at all in space as we know it, and therefore not be restricted to the effects of travel.

It is therefore not inconceivable that other advanced creatures have found a way to bridge the chasm of space-time between their planet and ours. But we are not able to deal with such technology yet, even though we can envisage its existence.

 

Right now, as far as we know, we cannot greet them face to face, but as we pointed out in Chapter Eight it might be possible to listen to them or even talk to them.

As we have also noted, recent publications by leading academics such as Paul Davies, Christopher Rose and Gregory Wright, are suggesting that physical artifacts are a far better way of communicating across the vastness of space. Paul Davies has stated that a far m ore reliable way for any alien species to contact us would be to leave artifacts in the vicinity of planets likely to spawn intelligent life that, given sufficient advancement on the part of such a developing species, it could not fail to recognize.

And so, the question that confronts us is:

Could aliens have built the Moon from the very substance of the Earth in order to allow our development, and then left a physical message of what they had done in the very dimensions and movements of the bodies?

We believe that the message we have detected in the Moon and its relationship to the Earth is so amazingly differentiated from the 'background noise' of all other measurements that it forms a breakthrough for humanity.

 

Certainly, if a message of such clarity and consistency was received from beyond our planet by means of good old-fashioned electromagnetic radiation, the personnel at SETI would be jumping up and down with joy.

If the message from the UCA is attributable to aliens we have already speculated that its motive could simply be a desire to progressively transform the matter in the Universe from a chaotic condition to an ordered state of self-awareness. One can image that, given enough time, all of the matter in existence could be united in a single thinking entity.

 

Astronomer Royal, Sir Fred Hoyle, wrote a novel called The Black Cloud 38 in which he speculated about a cloud of space matter that had such instantaneous interaction between its particles it was, effectively, a single living entity.

 

Could this be the long-term goal for all intelligence? If so, we will need to understand what has happened in the case of our own planet much m ore clearly so that we will be able, in due course, to take part in this ultimate mission for the Universe.

If we accept alien intervention in our distant past, we have to ask how these visitors from elsewhere could have known that the fruits of their labours would come to have ten fingers and therefore work in base ten.

 

A possible answer is that all successful life forms come to intellectual maturity with these characteristics, but the whole notion does seem odd.

Furthermore, there is the problem of how the alien Moon builders came to use Megalithic geometry and kilometers to incorporate elements of the message.

This too seems unusual. What is more, as we have observed, there appear to have been visits to the Earth by the UCA (Unknown Creative Agency) in much more recent times. This would suggest that the alien visitors, having manufactured the Moon, would have had to return to the Earth over four billion years later in order to pass the Megalithic message onto the developing human culture in Britain and France.

 

We find it difficult to imagine a culture or society that could endure for such a vast period of time.

 

It is much more likely that such a civilization would have gone the way of inevitable evolution, managed somehow to destroy itself, or simply grown bored with the whole experiment in only a tiny fraction of the time involved.

If readers wish to believe that aliens are responsible for this message, we would have to say that this is a theory worthy of further investigation.

 

For our part, we can see no direct proof that this has been the case, and there seem to be factors involved that make the alien hypothesis unlikely to be the answer we are seeking.

 

However, there is a third, and altogether m ore amazing option yet to consider and it is one that appears to fit the bill in every respect.

 

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