Thrawn Rickle 89

The Iapetus Mystery

© 2005 Williscroft

Go with me on this one for a while…

Imagine a great civilization long ago somewhere in the universe – far from Earth, far from our Solar System. Imagine a thriving people filling a planet with themselves and their products – and their waste.

Picture a teaming world, overflowing with everything that is familiar to us on our own planet. Engineering feats like tracery bridges, stupendous tunnels, great buildings, powerful machines; sophisticated technology like computers, lasers, microwaves; transportation marvels like cars, trains, planes, ships, submarines, Space Shuttles.

In other words, picture a world like ours, but more advanced, more sophisticated, and perhaps more crowded.

Now imagine their sun – like ours – but with a major difference. Solar physicists on their world have determined that their sun will nova in about 300 years, give or take. (I know – how do they determine this? What is the level of their science? How…)

Like I said: Go with me on this one for a while…

Following the announcement and the initial panic, these people take the long view: We’ve got three centuries. Let’s focus and solve the problem.

Remember, these folks are ahead of us – not a lot, but sufficiently so they can actually think about solving a problem like this.

And how do you do that?

When a sun novas, it destroys everything in its path: the planets, their moons, the asteroids and comets. Essentially, when everything is over and done with, all that is left are charred cinders where once proud worlds traveled around the sun. People, life, the products of life – all gone. You don’t shelter a world from a nova. A nova’s destructive power is absolute.

So how do you solve the problem of your sun going nova? The only answer that makes any sense is to go somewhere else, somewhere sufficiently far away to ensure your survival.

Since the entire solar system will be destroyed, and when it is over, there will be nothing left to inhabit, the only rational choice is to go to another solar system. You’re talking about a lot of spaceships and a lot of fuel here. In fact, our own science does not know how to do this – travel successfully to another solar system, especially with a bunch of people.

What if these folks decided to build a moving world – a very large self-contained spaceship – that would hold their population, and keep them alive for however long it would take to travel the astonishing distance to another solar system. After all, they had 300 years to accomplish the task.

Think back over our short history. What were things like 300 years ago? What do you think they will be like 300 years from now?

In any case, we’re talking about a hugely ambitious project. To build a self-contained world, one sufficiently large to contain the entire population of a planet teeming with people, sufficiently complex to create a living environment where they can grow their food, process their waste, and continue to live essentially normal lives. It boggles the mind, but science fiction writers have tackled this concept from time to time.

Now, fast forward to a more recent time in our own solar system, but still long, long ago – a million years or more.

From out of interstellar space a strange craft appears. It is large, huge by any normal standard – in fact, it is planetary in size, some 892 miles in diameter. It finds at least one planet in this solar system that can easily support life, a planet that is not inhabited by intelligent beings, although there is plenty of evidence for a thriving biosphere.

The underlying DNA of the plant and animal life on the new world is incompatible with their own DNA, which means that the arrivals can’t eat the plants or the abundant game – but, they took 300 years to build their ship, perhaps a thousand or more years to cross the gulf between the stars. So they can be patient while their scientists go about modifying the new planet’s ecosystem at the molecular level. Eventually, the modifications overtake the native plant and animal populations, and the transformation is complete.

The star folk park their spacecraft in a safe orbit around the planet with distinctive rings, and leave the spacecraft for the last time to settle into life on their new world.

Before they can reestablish a high level civilization on their new world, something happens. Or perhaps something happened while they still were on their extended journey, so that their numbers became drastically reduced.

But whatever it was, before the starfolk could get their collective acts together again, they found themselves at a subsistence level with only faint memories of their great past civilization. They pass on stories that take on the veneer of legend, and all genuine memory of what they once were fades into obscurity.

They leave hints of their once greatness and scientific prowess at scattered sites around the world, but for the most part, it is as easy to discount these hints as but the meat of overactive imaginations as it is to follow their intriguing paths to wherever they may lead.

Ah…but I did forget one thing: that spacecraft parked long ago in Saturn’s embrace.

So what do we find orbiting our magnificent sixth planet?

Now mind you – these are just hints. When it is all said and done, all this may be nothing more than idle speculation to fill a lazy summer afternoon.

Iapetus is unlike any other moon. I will supply you with some highlights here, and urge you to visit this website to get the whole picture: Take the time to go through all four sections. The writer’s style leaves a lot to be desired, but his story is fascinating.

Iapetus appears to be constructed of geodesic sections. The patters we observe on Iapetus may be simple artifacts of how we take the photos, but then again, maybe not. And nature doesn’t do geodesic sections.

A narrow wall extends around Iapetus at the equator, so that the moon looks like nothing so much as a walnut. No one connected with the Iapetus project can come up with a plausible “natural” explanation for this wall.

Iapetus’ density is far too low for a planet that appears solid, but if Iapetus were substantially hollow, then the numbers work out just about right.

Several of the geodesic sections appear to have collapsed inward, revealing what appears to be complex structures underneath the surface layer.

A tall, very narrow structure extends from the surface at one point, like a towering spike. Like the geodesic structure, this spike has no “natural” explanation.

The list goes on and on. It is easy to imagine that Iapetus really is the derelict remains of a once mighty starship nearly 900 miles in diameter.

When we run the numbers, we find that, for instance if we assume that the first mile from the surface down was designed for habitation, manufacturing, and so forth, with the rest of the ship relegated to fuel for the trip, and if we allot 1,000 cubic feet of space for each being (i.e. 10 x 10 x 10 feet), the craft can easily accommodate nearly 460 trillion beings.

In other words, using a rough calculation, it is easy to see that such a craft really could carry the entire population of an Earth-like planet; so, if they had the science and engineering, there is no reason – in principle – that such a people could not have carried off this ambitious plan.

Are we the children of star children? Visit the website and draw your own conclusions.