Wednesday, 1 October 2008

Time, Space, and Weirdness.

What should one do when something spooky happens?  Our scientists take notes and observe.  It's an interesting thing for them to find, an object that just appears one day and then disappears a few months later.  Personally, I'd be very spooked.  I am very spooked.  It's not the first irrational or out of place object I've heard about that's kicking around out there...

How does a destroyed mothership sound?  Just that, well, we can sort of trace the rise of our particular species back to relatively recently, and before that, totally different but similar species.  Homo habilis, neanderthals, cro magnon - there's a discontinuity in our lineage.  Quite coincidentally I'm sure, there's a ring of debris on the outer edges of our solar system which at least one respected scientist I recall as saying could be debris from a moon or possibly a large spacecraft, and which that scientist also theorised may have arrived there in relatively recent times astronomically.

If I was going to seed a world with my successors or my food animals or my science experiment, I'd do that.  Park the mothership just outside the system, make sure there's a planet with conditions and creatures similar enough to my seed stock, make sure the colony was growing, and blow up the mothership.  I'd send observers from time to time of course.  Can't help if they become known as gods or something, just have to hope the seed stock forgets quickly.

And where would those observers stay in between appearances?  Well away and out of sight.  Until the day they come back and find:

(And this is also a story I had told to me and the source of which I have no intention of revealing)
In the late 60's to mid 70's, a satellite named Imp-D was launched and operated.  Something at launch caused Imp-D to have an orbit that didn't end up captured by the moon as was originally intended, and Imp-D was put in a wildly elliptical orbit.  One of the fun things to do with Imp-D was to see which tracking station could track Imp-D the farthest out along its apogee, and bring back telemetry data from it.  And one station tracked Imp-D out the farthest anyone ever had, and picked it up coming back at farther points than all the other tracking stations.

There was a lot of good-natured rivalry and competition between tracking stations, which is why none of the other tracking stations thought much when the champion station said that it might also hold the record for being the last station to track Imp-D, as Imp-D had "stopped" in its tracks, out near apogee.  But then other tracking stations aimed for where Imp-D would first come close enough for them to track - and there was nothing, just empty space...  (Tracking stations had to wait their turns to take a crack at Imp-D due to the Earth's rotation - but they knew where to aim their dishes for all the different satellites.  Imp-D just wasn't there.)

Then, 24 hours later, Imp-D appeared as though it had never left it's orbit.  And the best theories anyone came up with was that someone or something had held Imp-D, realised that the seed stock had somehow mutated into something new and different, and put Imp-D back on orbit in order to avoid detection.  Had it not been for the little tracking station that could, they might well have gotten away with it.  Imp-D tracking wasn't an official thing, it was more an informal competition as far as I've been able to ascertain.  And, having heard this way back in my teens, I think it has prepared me to think in terms of not what if we find signs of aliens, but  when we finally find signs of aliens.

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