The Occasional Journal
Entry No. 9 - 20th February 2006
Thinking the Unthinkable: Do we live in a designer Solar System?
NASA: Mover of Worlds.
The genesis for this journal entry originates back in 2001 when a group of scientists with connections to NASA calculated that moving a planet into a radically different orbit was far easier than we ever imagined. Excerpts from a BBC webpage article on this news story are provided below.
"Mankind will soon have the ability to move the Earth into a new orbit, say a team of astronomers. The planetary manoeuvre may more than double the time life can survive on our planet, they believe.
Our Sun will increase its brightness in the next billion years or so, and if the Earth stays in its present orbit it will be fried and all life eliminated.
Using the well-understood "gravitational sling shot" technique that has been employed to send space probes to the outer planets, the researchers now think a large asteroid could be used to reposition the Earth to maintain a benign global climate......"
......."Our initial analysis shows that the general problem of long-term planetary engineering is almost alarmingly feasible," they say.
All that is required is for a large asteroid, about 100 km (62 miles) across, to fly past the Earth transferring some of its orbital energy to our planet. The asteroid would then move out to encounter Jupiter where it would acquire more energy that it could impart to the Earth on a subsequent encounter.
Humans would have many thousands of years to select the appropriate asteroid and develop the necessary technology to deflect the giant rock in the direction of Earth......"
.......Perhaps, the authors suggest, many moons and planets could be moved into more favourable positions in the Solar System where their climates might support life......"
The full BBC story can be found here µµµ. This article continues below next image.
It is surprising that something as small as an asteroid has enough leverage to move something as big as the Earth. The leverage principle also applies to asteroids themselves. As the reader may be aware scientists have suggested - if there is enough warning - that the best way to deal with an asteroid on collision course with the Earth is to attach an ion propulsion rocket to it. Over the course of a few years the small leverage of the ion engine will move the dangerous asteroid onto a radically different and safer orbit. This observation suggests that human space capabilities are within only a hundred years of being able to move the Earth!
Has it Been Done Before?
The main purpose of this website is to look into any evidence for past habitation of the Solar System by a spacefaring civilisation. So the rest of this Occasional Journal entry will be investigating the rather wild possibility that the orbital characteristics of some or all of the bodies in our Solar System have been artificially re-engineered long before the emergence of human civilisation. Hence the title of this journal entry: "Thinking the Unthinkable: Do we live in a designer solar system?".
The possibility first occurred to me in the summer of 2004 when a neighbour insisted I read City of Revelation, published in 1972 and written by the esoteric author John Michell. The neighbour thought that I would be intrigued by the contents. Michell's thesis was that historical units of measurement, ancient monuments and ancient special numbers (such as the gemmatrian codes used in the New Testament) all adhered to the same canon of proportions. Moreover, this canon of proportions co-incided with proportions found in the Earth, Moon and Sun that take a sophisticated level of astronomy to discover. Stranger still, these astronomical proportions of the Earth, Moon and Sun looked rather non-random. It was almost as if the planet designer Slartibartfast from The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy had been at work, (see µµµ).
So yes, I was intrigued. Michell explained the co-incidences between the canon of proportions he found hidden in human culture and the astronomical proportions by suggesting our ancestors had greater powers to subconsciously soak up knowledge of the Universe around them by psychic means.
2004 also saw the publication of Christopher Knight and Alan Butler's book Civilisation One. This set out to find a simple rational explanation why so many measuring systems, both ancient and modern, tended to be proportional to one another. The reason seems to be that the same simple astronomical methods were used to define the measurements in the first place. However, Knight and Butler soon found they were discovering unsettling astronomical co-incidences regarding the Earth, Moon and Sun as they concluded their findings.
So let us now catalogue some of the strange Solar System anomalies that have been commented upon in the last few hundred years in the light of the possibility that in the distant past an advanced civilisation once redesigned the layout of our Solar System.
The Titius-Bode Law
In 1766 Johann Daniel Titius discovered that the spacing between the planets of the Solar System seemed to be following a simple arithmetical formula. This discovery was popularised by Johann Elert Bode and for a long time the principle was referred to as Bode's Law.
Today the "law" is usually expressed in terms of Astronomical Units (a.u.). An Astronomical Unit being the distance between the Earth and the Sun. The "law" works like this.
The inner-most planet of the Solar System, Mercury, is approximately 0.4 a.u. from the Sun. Venus, the next planet is a further 0.3 a.u. further out, giving a total of 0.7 a.u.
The Titius-Bode system works by starting with Mercury's 0.4 a.u. and adding to it 0.3 multiplied by a constant that doubles with each subsequent planet as we move out from the Sun.
So Venus is 0.4 + (0.3 x 1) = 0.7 a.u.
The Earth is 0.4 + (0.3 x 2) = 1.0 a.u.
Mars is 0.4 + (0.3 x 4) = 1.6 a.u.........and so on.
The following table shows the positions of the Sun's family of planets predicted by the Titius-Bode Law against the actual positions measured by modern astronomy.
When the "law" was first formulated Saturn was the furthest known planet. There was no planet between Mars and Jupiter in the place where the "law" suggested there should be one. This led to an intense search by astronomers and the discovery of the largest asteroid Ceres. The asteroid belt was then assumed to be the remains of a disintegrated "fifth" planet. Later on Uranus was discovered roughly where the "law" suggested. However, the system failed to accurately predict the position of Neptune - and Pluto was discovered where the "law" said Neptune should be.
The following chart plots the predictions of the Titius-Bode Law against the actual distances of the planets, including variations with and without Neptune or the Asteroid Belt.
Computer modelling of solar system formation shows that gravitational perturbation between planets creates bands within the system in which any body cannot remain for long before adopting a new orbit. Gravitational perturbation therefore creates orbital resonances that produce the characteristic aspect of our own Solar System of big gaps around large planets and small ones between small planets. However, computer modelling has never been able to explain why the distances between the planets in our own Solar System should progress outwards from the Sun based upon a principle of proportion. The individual masses of the planets themselves (and their ability to perturb) does not closely match the Titius-Bode planetary intervals. Generally, modern astronomy treats the Titius-Bode Law as a mere co-incidence and not a sign of an unknown effect.
Before we look at the possibility of alien intervention, let us look at possible unsuspected natural effects that may be responsible for the apparent Titius- Bode anomaly.
The Stoneking Resonance Model. A paper published on the internet by J.B. Stoneking suggests that gravitational effects are not the only factor determining the relative spacing of the planets. Stoneking suggests that a complex pattern of cyclical pulsations observed in the Sun is conveyed into the heliosphere - the zone of space in which the Sun's solar wind is dominant. His hypothesis is that this is in the form of "Ion-Acoustic Waves" carried upon the medium of the solar wind. These waves in turn propagate outwards as a resonate system of proportionately expanding pressure waves with bands of low and high solar wind density. Over the life of the Solar System these subtle pressure differences have pushed the planets into orbits that match the low pressure areas. Further details of Stoneking's model can be found here µµµ.
Even if the model is incorrect Stoneking has made some alterations to the Titius-Bode law that are intriguing in themselves. Firstly, Stoneking's "Ion-Acoustic Waves" model postulates that his pressure waves undergo phase changes that lead to abrupt doublings of their wave intervals. This is shown in the next table, which looks at the Titius-Bode Law from this point of view.
It can be seen that Venus is 0.3 astronomic units (a.u.) further out from the Sun than Mercury. The Earth is a further 0.3 a.u. further out again. Then there is a phase change and the interval from Earth to Mars doubles to 0.6 a.u.......and so on out to Uranus. After Uranus the interval between successive planets settles down to a constant 9.6 astronomical units. This Stoneking Law manages to incorporate Neptune and Pluto into the system in a way the original Titius-Bode Law cannot.
Another aspect of the Stoneking model is that these inter-planetary intervals are proportionate to the diameter of the Sun as shown in the following table. This shows that a simple progressive power ratio of the Sun's diameter neatly correlates to the Stoneking intervals.
Hyper-dimensional Resonance? It is possible that Stoneking Resonance is real, but that the proposed mechanism, i.e. the medium of the solar wind, is the wrong one. Readers of the Enterprise Mission website will know of their theory that three dimensional objects actually have an intrusion into an extra-dimensional hyperspace, but an intrusion that is too small to measure.
Quantum Physics predicts that a vacuum with a temperature of absolutely zero - (that is with no heat or energy whatsoever) - nevertheless has a hidden energy potential of unimaginable power. The Enterprise Mission's Hyperdimensional Physics model postulates that far from being "potential" this "energy of the vacuum" is very real and fills hyperspace.
According to the Enterprise Mission model the infinitesimal intrusion of large masses (such as stars and planets) into hyperspace is still sufficient to stir up the "sea" of energy that exists there as they move through space. Effectively, the movements of celestial bodies are leaving wakes of waves in the energy of hyperspace. In the model the wakes from the Sun and its planets are interacting with each other to create resonance patterns of accentuated and weakened zones of energy in hyperspace. The following Enterprise Mission illustration overlays onto the Solar System a conceptual representation of this energy resonance in hyperspace.
Now, an important aspect of the Enterprise Mission's hyperdimensional physics is that massive, rotating bodies cause energy to leak down from hyperspace into themselves. One could imagine a situation in which the original position of a planet was in a zone where the hyper-dimensional resonance, mentioned previously, was creating an intense energy wave in hyperspace for the planet to draw upon. This energy influx might be expressed in the form of the planet temporarily moving faster, with the result it moves out a little further from the Sun into a zone where the hyper-dimensional energy resonance is very weak. The implication of this is that planets would position themselves where gravitational perturbation and the transference of hyper-dimensional energy are both weak. As resonance creates proportional patterns we would expect the planets to be at proportional intervals, (See µµµ for the Enterprise Mission's own exposition of its ideas).
Why Would Another Civilisation Redesign Our Solar System?
If the Titius-Bode-Stoneking Laws are not the result of co-incidence or an undiscovered natural principle then this returns us back to the notion that they are due to an ancient civilisation redesigning the Solar System. Let's finish Part 1 by looking at two possible reasons why our hypothetical aliens might have done this.
The Dark Star Hypothesis. In computer simulations of the formation of solar systems from stellar nebulae it is usually the case that smaller rocky planets form close to the star, with gas giants forming further out, and then a tapering off into small icy worlds like Pluto. However, a surprising proportion of the solar systems found around other stars in recent years have gas giants in orbits close to the parent star. It is surmised that these gas giants began life far out from their parent star, but then migrated inwards to a closer orbit. Obviously, this would be bad news for any potential Earth like planets orbiting between the star and the gas giant. They would either collide with the gas giant, be hurled into the parent star, or be expelled into deep space by gravitational sling-shot.
The anomalous looking spacing of the planets in our own Solar System may have been redesigned that way because it keeps Jupiter and Saturn from migrating inwards towards the Sun. This would make the Solar System safer for the evolution of life or for colonisation by the alien redesigners.
This idea was exactly the premise of the 1974 comedy sci-fi movie Dark Star, (see µµµ) . The only difference being that the crew of the Dark Star destroyed planets with unstable orbits in preparation for colonisation, rather than move them.
The Message Hypothesis. If an ancient civilisation wanted to leave a message to other intelligent creatures that were yet to evolve, then solar system redesign is a good way to do so. The "message" will last millions of years before the natural sling-shot effects of random asteroids and other rogue bodies begin to corrupt the artificial pattern of planet spacing. If the "message" hypothesis were true then the planets of our Solar System might once have fitted the Titius-Bode Law exactly :-)
Finally, it is obvious that it would take an awful lot of directed sling-shots by asteroids to move any of the gas giant planets into new positions. This possibly suggests a civilisation able to direct the movements of moon sized objects into sling-shot trajectories. In a recent example of the Enterprise Mission "thinking the unthinkable" Richard Hoagland has suggested that the anomalous nature of Saturn's moon Iapetus may point to it once being used as a giant spaceship, (see µµµ). Perhaps it was once manoeuvred to use its sling-shot mass as a mover of worlds ;-)
We may also consider that a sufficiently advanced civilisation might have had control over gravity itself. By warping the direction of gravitational acceleration, caused by the Sun's gravity in the vicinity of a planet, they could make the planet move to wherever they wanted it to go.
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