Here Thar Be Monsters!
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When stories such as the recent discovery of a planet orbiting Proxima Centauri, now called Proxima b, is announced, I immediately start clicking away.
For those who aren't as geeky as I am, the reason this is big news is that Proxima Centauri is the closest star to the Sun, at only a little over 4 light years away. With chemical rockets, such as are popular in public acknowledged space programs, it would take a probe about 25,000 years to get there. Makes you wanna jump in the family wagon and head out, don't it?
It's often difficult for most folks to imagine just how incredibly vast the Universe is. The fastest moving craft ever publicly announced is the New Horizons probe that recently made headlines as it barreled headlong past Pluto on its way to oblivion. That little sucker took nine years just to get to the edge of the solar system. Proxima b is a few trillion miles beyond that. You'd have to run back and forth from the Earth to the Sun 270,000 times to equal a one-way trip to Proxima Centauri.
Don't make your holiday plans just yet.
Proxima Centauri is a rather...um, alien star. It is a little bit bigger than Jupiter, is a deep red color, and is part of a 3-star system called alpha-Centauri. The other two stars are a bit more like our Sun. The new planet orbits closer to Proxima than Mercury does to the Sun, yet the cooler temperature of that star puts the planet in a relatively comfortable position.
Just to be clear, since you would never know this from reading the mainstream "science" reporting, is that the planet has not been seen directly, so any talk of being "Earth-like" or rocky is complete conjecture. All we really know is that the star wobbles a bit, implying a planet about a third bigger than the Earth is pulling on the star as it orbits...assuming the planet is roughly the same density as Earth.
In other words, everything we think we know about this planet is inferred from secondary evidence. That is to say, we heard what sounded like a gun shot several blocks away and assumed that a robbery was in progress at the local Stop-n-Gobble because the sound came from that direction. That's in effect all we know at this time.
What all of this is getting to, in my characteristic round-about way, is that no matter how many amazing discoveries they crow at us in the media, in reality we know next to nothing as fact. Most of it is piles of calculations based on inferences and conjectures. Even if we wanted to verify the facts with our current technology (at least publicly admitted), it would take two or three times the history of civilization to get there and look around, and four and a half years to report the data by radio waves.
Ultimately, for all the reported "discoveries," we really know little more than we did 100 years ago. Based on gravitational theory and some observed light curves from a distant object, "scientists" have announced a new exoplanet. Frankly, that kind of evidence wouldn't hold up in court. It is generally labelled hear-say and circumstantial.
This leads us to two possible conclusions: (1) some "scientists" are looking to pad their grant portfolio by announcing a newly "discovered" planet, aided and abetted by know-nothing "science" media; or (2) this information is coming from first-hand data using a technology that is completely off the books, and the information is being "seeded" into our culture as a way to slowly reveal the tech.
The arguments for the first conclusion are well established. We are well aware of how the media are nothing more than press-release editors and do precious little questioning of official pronouncements. The unquestioning reporting of black holes, gravity waves and other fantasies shows this quite well.
On the other side, folks like Richard Dolan and Joseph Farrell have made strong arguments for hidden technologies and break-away civilizations living at a level of knowledge, and thus culture, far above the rest of us. Certainly, being able to get to Proxima Centauri in a matter of hours or days would help quite a bit, and add quite a bit of credence to the always-anonymous "scientists'" pronouncements.
In either case, we are staring at a massive, steaming pile of horse puckies. One way of the other, a bunch of folks are hiding either a great deal of ignorance, or a great deal of information. It's difficult to say which is worse, since both involve a massive deception, although I suppose hiding real information is slightly worse than making it up, since it implies that someone knows more than the rest of us and can make better decisions based on it.
At any rate, just some thoughts on this fine Augustian Friday in the Year of Our Deception 2016.
And by the way, what ever happened to those mysterious lights on Ceres? For some reason, the "science" media went completely dead on the subject, just as the Dawn probe reached optimum mapping orbit. According to the NASA website, we seem to know an awful lot about what's inside the "dwarf" planet, but golly-gee-whiz, we just can't figure out what's sitting on the surface.
And the pile gets deeper.