Several prominent commentators – including the ranking astronomy professor at Harvard University – have lent themselves to a dangerous obsession. They insist that human beings are not alone in the universe, or even the Galaxy of which we are a part. Worse yet, they believe space aliens have visited our Earth, or sent probes to it – and have built a civilization as far ahead of our own as the British Empire was ahead of Southwest Pacific islanders in the days of Lt. William Bligh of Bounty fame. That leaves their souls in a very dark place – and they could take your soul there, if you let them.
Currency of belief in space aliens
Space aliens have been a part of Western popular literature at least since the end of the Second World War. They also have figured in many legends, both ancient and modern. Erich von Däniken (Chariots of the Gods?) famously attributed every religious or other mystical legend in history to space aliens. He even suggested that the Ark of the Covenant in the Holy Bible was a radio, with a radiological thermal device to power it. (That’s why only Levites had permission to touch the Ark; it was not only radioactive but also presented a clear danger of electrocution. Von Däniken attributed every death from touching the Ark, and the plagues of boils that afflicted the Philistines when they took unlawful possession of it, to this radioactivity, electrostatic potential, or both.)
Aside from that fanciful theory, the apparent crash of a never-identified object near Roswell, New Mexico, still captures the imagination.
Today, Prof. Avi Loeb, Chairman of the Astronomy Department at Harvard University, has searched long and hard for conclusive evidence for the existence of space aliens. Over the summer, he took a team to dive into the waters off Papua New Guinea, north of Australia. Specifically he was looking for meteorites from the crash of the IM1 meteor into those waters in 2014. Now he claims to have found the evidence he has sought for so long.
What did he find?
Reportage on Avi Loeb’s current controversy comes from CBS Miami, Salon, and The Daily Telegraph (London, England). Dr. Loeb found at least 700 “spherules” on the ocean floor at the IM1 impact site. He makes two kinds of claims about them to support his thesis about space aliens.
First, he asserts that IM1 entered our atmosphere too fast to have come from within our solar system. To be specific, he says they entered at or faster than local escape speed from the sun. He reasons that if those objects were ordinary asteroids, they would never travel at such a speed. For if they did, they would pass out of our solar system, never to return.
Second, he reports that these objects contain elemental beryllium, lanthanum, and uranium, in triple the concentrations one usually sees. Those elements were not to be found in nearby waters outside the impact site. Nor, he says, have humans ever made an alloy of these metals, nor found them in any other meteorites. From this he concludes that these spherules came from “a magma ocean of a planet with an iron core.” Or else they came from “more exotic sources” – meaning some space aliens made them.
He’s not the only one
Naturally, Jordan “The Angry Astronaut” Wright has covered the Avi Loeb expedition since it began. When Loeb reported his findings, Wright repeated them, with heavy emphasis on what they imply.
But Jordan Wright does not rely on Avi Loeb’s findings alone. Recently he propounded a theory that all pulsars (pulsing stars) in the Galaxy are Galactic lighthouses!
Similarly, he has held that certain high-energy flashes, in the radio part of the spectrum, are not radio carrier waves, but are instead energy beams intended to push interstellar spacecraft to near-relativistic speeds!
And of course he, echoing Loeb, insists that Comet Oumuamua is not a comet at all. Rather, it is a light-sail craft, probably robotic, that dived into, then back out of, our solar system. Its mission: reconnaissance.
CNAV has covered Oumuamua before, and we still describe it a long-period comet that passed beyond the Kuiper Belt.
As such it passed far enough away to come under the combined gravitational pull of every other object in orbit around the Sun. Under such circumstances, the total “primary mass” is significantly heavier than for objects within, or inside, the Kuiper Belt. That makes the escape speed from the Sun higher than it otherwise would be. Obviously that would account for Comet Oumuamua following a hyperbolic or open orbit. But it could also account for Meteor IM1 crashing to Earth at or faster than the escape speed from the Sun as we would calculate it from Earth’s orbit.
What kind of space aliens would these be?
Still, Avi Loeb, Jordan Wright, and other like-minded persons think Oumuamua, IM1, and the pulsars are all from space aliens. The pulsars are radio lighthouses, Oumuamua is an autonomous recon buoy, and IM1 was a similar buoy that crashed. All this begs the question of whether any of these men have thought through what they are saying.
This is equivalent to the space aliens having built a navy analogous to the British Navy at the time of our War for Independence. And we, in comparison to them, are not civilized as they would understand the term. We are instead like the inhabitants of Tahiti when Captain Bligh touched that shore looking for breadfruit. Or, recalling Oumuamua and its Hawaiian name, we are like the Hawaiians waiting for the first missionaries to come.
What next? Shall we expect cultural expeditions comparable to those first missionary trips? (Maybe that’s why Gene Roddenberry, creator of Star Trek, coined his Prime Directive of Non-interference: he was saying, please, please, dear space aliens, treat us more kindly than we have treated indigenous communities in our past!
Jordan Wright doesn’t think so. He can think of no circumstance under which anyone, no matter how advanced, could invent a faster-than-light drive. But that wouldn’t stop a fleet of colony wagons from heading our way. Now the purpose of the reconnaissance becomes obvious: they want to know what opposition or resistance we might present.
To be sure, not every scientist buys Avi Loeb’s theories. Dr. Steven Desch at Arizona State University has dogged Loeb’s tracks for years. He insists that what Loeb has found, are ordinary asteroids. (He can’t explain the high speed from that theory, so he probably denies it.)
Still, one can start with one assumption that Loeb and Wright have made, and another possibility they have missed. They assume that the universe, the Galaxy, and the Earth itself are billions of years old. (Wright says this repeatedly.) And they miss the most violent event in the history of the Earth since its formation – or rather, creation. That event is the Noachic or Global Flood.
That Flood was more than the overflow of riverbanks. Recall:
In the six hundredth year of Noah’s life, in the second month, the seventeenth day of the month, the same day were all the fountains of the great deep broken up, and the windows of heaven were opened. Genesis 7:11 (Authorised or “King James” Version)
Those fountains were a subcrustal ocean, under a crust at least 60 miles thick or thicker, that cracked open. (The crack persists as the Mid-Oceanic Ridge system.) Water – half the current supply of the oceans of Earth – which had been under tremendous pressure, suddenly found release. It carried with it vast quantities of rock and mud. As much as five percent of the mass of the Earth at the time, escaped into space.
And more: earthquakes of magnitudes never seen again, turned the quartz-laden crust into a natural nuclear reactor. That accounts for the uranium. The lanthanum and beryllium were part of the crust anyway.
Explaining the speeds
The escaping materials, which astronomers call ejecta, formed all the Mavericks of the Solar System. These include meteoroids, comets, asteroids, and every object in our Solar system except Earth, the Sun, the Moon, all the planets, and perhaps the Galilean Moons of Jupiter, and Titan, moon of Saturn.
Some of these ejecta did almost attain escape speed from the Sun – and certainly attained escape speed from the Earth. Long-period comets are a feature of our Solar system. Oumuamua is one of them. It has no tail, but it does follow the highly eccentric orbit of a comet.
The object IM1 became a meteor when it approached Earth on a collision course. It, too, was a long-period comet originally. That’s why it would fall to Earth at or faster than escape speed from the sun.
Finally, we can assume that the Earth is no more than seven thousand years old. The objects at the edge of the observable universe might be older, but our Earth is relatively young. So is our Galaxy, which lies at the center of the observable universe. It might interest people to know that the angular momentum vectors of the Galaxy and all other observable objects align almost exactly. And if we’re at the center, time has not passed nearly as quickly.
So we can stop worrying about being metaphorical Tahitian or Hawaiian Islanders hoping the interstellar “haoles” won’t notice us. And be grateful that the One Who does notice us, loves us – because He made us.
Terry A. Hurlbut has been a student of politics, philosophy, and science for more than 35 years. He is a graduate of Yale College and has served as a physician-level laboratory administrator in a 250-bed community hospital. He also is a serious student of the Bible, is conversant in its two primary original languages, and has followed the creation-science movement closely since 1993.
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