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11.4.10

For I Have Touched the Face of God

Today seems as good as any to take a sharp deviation from my usual subjects and touch upon the nature of, as Douglas Adams said, Life, the Universe and Everything. What prompts these musings is a combination of events: first, I've been re-reading the Bible (as I am wont to do occasionally so I can argue effectively with Osteen-bots), the ESA's Mars Express fly-bys of Phobos recently, and Richard Hoagland's latest tying elements of the former and the latter together.

What has always intrigued me about the first couple of books in the Bible is the way in which the characters talk to and about God as if he is a real person. They sit and talk, eat and drink. Jacob wrestles with God...physically. Moses has extended jam sessions with God, in which he doesn't eat or drink for months and gets a glowing face out of the deal. Abraham sees God coming from a distance and quickly clean up the place to receive visitors, who later in the story pop over to destroy Sodom and Gomorrah. Something about the way the visitors look clues Abraham in that these are God and friends. Not to mention, there are glowing clouds, pillars of fire and God taking afternoon strolls in the Garden of Eden.

OK, next is the ESA's Mars Express mission. After a couple of years in orbit around Mars, the craft's orbit takes it several times past Phobos at very close range, closer than any craft before. Phobos, in case you don't know, is the larger and inner-most moon of Mars. So this special occasion sets up for some cool science. The probe will use its range sounding as a way to map the gravity well of Phobos, while the radar will pound on the moon to get an idea of how it is put together.

Turns out, multiple data from multiple experiments reveal that the moon is at least 1/3 hollow. Now, at first blush, that wouldn't be ground shaking news, but the radar tests reveal that the caverns inside are geometrically regular, with right angles and a seeming pattern to them.

Wait a minute...

A moon of another planet, with an unusual and decaying orbit, has 'rooms' inside??!!

So in comes Hoagland with another of his famous multi-part cliff-hangers, who posits that Phobos, if part natural, has been engineered to make it a spacecraft! Ok, you're thinking, let's not get carried away here...but think about it. A moon that should not be where it is (astrophysics cannot supply an adequate theory as to how Phobos came to be where it is), that is at least 1/3 hollow, and whose hollows are in a form that cannot be natural. Sure, you can write Hoagland off as a quack (you wouldn't be the first), but the European Space Agency is pretty credible and the science behind the radar mapping is well established. And the data is from multiple passes and correlates with Russian data from it's own craft that was lost in the late 80s. In other words, the data comes from multiple craft, multiple instruments and multiple passes. The error ration is getting pretty small.

So, how does my mind tie all this together? Well, when I read the Bible, and taking it as at least a semi-accurate record of someone's experience, the fact that some people experienced God as a physical being who walked, ate and hung out on the porch. Others experienced him as techno light shows and sound effects. And all seem to have experienced God as multiple personalities and beings, though using the same designation. I say designation, because in fact God used many different names and even refers to himself as 'we' in Genesis.

Sprinkle all of this with cargo cults and the Dogon, and one could be forgiven for thinking history books are sadly incorrect.

It is astounding to ponder the possibility that a moon of Mars may in fact be modified or manufactured by someone that is quite obviously not us. It is difficult at best to ascribe geometric cavities inside an extraterrestrial moon as being natural in any sense of the word. We have spent billions of dollars and decades of research scratching around on Mars looking for microbes, when circling overhead was a derelict spacecraft manufactured by an alien culture...and abandoned for some reason. This also calls into play Hoagland's pet theory about Cydonia and the "Face on Mars," as well as the myriad "ruins" that others have found on the surface of Mars. It also begs the question, did Abraham really have tea with God? And if he did, was that creature one of the builders or users of Phobos? And if so...well, you see the point The questions are not so astounding as the answers. I mean, after all, it could mean that our history and development have been guided by alien cultures for millennia!

Suddenly debatable sightings of UFOs and breathless recountings of alien autopsies just pale in comparison to an artifact...a spacecraft 15 miles long in orbit around another planet.

Where does this leave us? Well, according to Hoagland, the ESA is set to announce its findings sometime this year, including the possibility of artificiality. In the next year or so, the Russians will again try to get to Phobos, with the Phobos-Grunt mission, which is supposed to return actual samples. Mars Express will probably get another turn or two at the job, as well.

If all stays on the same track, then 2010 may well be the year that everything changes...everything!

And that's the problem with thinking about Life, the Universe and Everything. The more you look at it, the more it just makes you go...hmmmm.

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