I once did a Skeptoid episode about The Lucifer Project, a conspiracy theory prediction that evil government forces are planning to detonate Saturn (sometimes Jupiter) into a small sun. The trigger for this cataclysm is presumed to be a deep space probe, like Cassini, powered by an RTG (radioisotope thermal generator). This concept was popularized by Arthur C. Clarke in his 2001: A Space Odyssey series of books.
Strangely, a few people have not seemed to grasp that this is a fictional concept, with Clarke's characters even pointing out just a few of the many reason such a thing is foolishly implausible:
- An RTG could never possibly create an atomic explosion.
- An atomic explosion could never possibly convert a gas giant into a sun.
- A planet of the mass or composition of any of ours could never possibly achieve fusion.
For the details on any of these wild “could never possibly” claims of mine, see the episode transcript. So how, in light of these barriers, do the conspiracy theorists believe their prediction is going to come to pass?
Via two basic mechanisms. First, explaining an unknown with another unknown: alien intervention. The aliens are going to figure out a way to make it happen. Second, the invention of whole new versions of natural sciences (“suppressed discoveries”) that will somehow make the impossible possible.
I offer, for your enlightenment, an example. This is a reply to my Lucifer episode written by a young man in Spain named Conrado Salas Cano, who granted permission for me to reprint his reply in its entirety here.
A REPLY TO BRIAN DUNNING’S ARTICLE ON THE LUCIFER PROJECT
My animosity against the organized “Skeptic” movement in general and against Brian Dunning’s take on “pseudoscience” in particular should not keep me from granting credit where credit is due. So I must begin by saying that I have found Mr. Dunning’s Skeptoid website beautiful and, if read critically, quite educational. (Some promoters of so-called “Skepticism” and “critical thinking” appear to act as if “critical thinking” is a necessary attitude only when addressing what fundamentally disagrees with their professed opinions).
At any rate, I would wish then to sincerely thank Brian Dunning for putting the Skeptoid site together and for taking the effort of podcasting his articles in addition to posting them. I always look for authors that I can not just read but listen to .
This is a reply to the article in Skeptoid in which Brian Dunning attempted to debunk the Lucifer project conspiracy theory -
Brian Dunning resorts to the usual old argumentative tricks characteristic of professional self-styled “debunkers”. One instance is his treatment of maverick NASA and space program conspiracy researcher Richard Hoagland. Hoagland may have been mistaken on a few counts or bought into flaky, sensationalistic arguments, but his research is generally sound and the likes of Brian Dunning only predispose readers new to the subject to not approach Hoagland’s findings with an objective mind. But then I suspect that biasing readers against Hoagland, against those “who still believe in the Face on Mars” and against anyone who thinks outside the Scientific American box, is the whole intended purpose of Brian Dunning’s work. Since Brian Dunning, playing the role of the poor publicity underdog so mastered by the theatrical professional “Skeptics”, requests donations as a means of support for his work, I would strongly encourage Mr. Dunning to approach bodies such as the CIA or the NSA for such funding, if , that is, Mr. Dunning is not in cahoots with these already. I think that Brian will find individuals there delighted to give a boost to his debunking mission.
Brian Dunning typically associates the word “believe” with the “Face on Mars” and hence with the entire demoted “fringe”, making use of that old word trick of professional “Skeptics” which may not work for much longer. I shall strive to enlighten souls to the fact that all knowledge is experiential, and hence that the Face on Mars and the other “fringe” aspects that Dunning likes to scorn are all ultimately amenable to scientific inquiry and knowledge. I do my best not to believe anything, since believing to me entails giving one’s mind away, as in religion or traditional superstition; but I suspect that the Face on Mars is real and, after having been where I’ve been and experienced what I’ve experienced I just don’t trust NASA or JPL pictures anymore.
Little does Dunning mention that another co-author in a previous edition of a book, The new solar system, that he references in his Lucifer project article, was Brian O’Leary, an old friend of mine and I, think, still very much a “believer” in or, rather, an investigator and a knower of the reality status of, the Face on Mars. Nor does he mention that the very Arthur C. Clarke, so central to the Lucifer project “conspiracy theory”, in his last years cried for an open, proper investigation and explanation of the Cydonia anomalies, and embarrassed his Planetary Society fellows by openly asserting that he was seeing worm-like formations or other indications of life or intelligent activity on Mars.
Brian Dunning’s patronizing conclusion that we ought not to conflate Arthur C. Clarke’s science-fiction with the science beamed to us by Cassini and other probes ignores the cardinal role that Clarke’s poetic fiction has played at not just inspiring NASA’s endeavors in space, but coding aspects of the secret space program.
I was preparing a paper in which I looked at depth at the feasibility of igniting Saturn or Jupiter into a mini-sun, something which I find extremely unlikely but perhaps not altogether impossible, if we add up the physical properties we have not been clearly apprised of regarding the plutonium load in RTGs, to the unconventional mechanisms of low-energy nuclear reactions (“cold fusion”) on which I happen to have done my M.S. work on, under John Dash’s guidance, at Portland State University. Also, given all the incredible suppressed findings of the Apollo program, as well as the large-scale alien presence in the solar system (as evidenced by the mind-blowing exposé of Bob Dean and others at the ’09 European Exopolitics Summit in Sitges, Barcelona, which I attended), I venture that about nothing is impossible when these alien super-intelligences are concerned. Alien intelligences are for the most part benign, but there are those with ill intentions. Stanley Kubrick codified very impressive, silenced knowledge in 2001, and the sequel 2010 is a worthy successor.
In the end, there was so much material to be covered in this projected paper that I have decided to cancel its preparation and fuse the material with an encyclopedic history of real science I sort of have started as a very long-term project. The origins of Project Lucifer seem to go back a long way, and Brian Dunning does not mention in his article Bill Cooper’s reference to Project Lucifer in Naval Intelligence documents that Bill saw in the 1970s or so. Maybe the Project was undertaken or seriously contemplated for some time but later it was aborted or tabled. Maybe it was tried on Jupiter with Galileo and it failed, leaving only Olivier Meeckers’s puzzling dark feature on Jupiter’s atmosphere in October 2003. Maybe it’s been rescheduled for Saturn with Cassini.
In conclusion, I am very sure that the skies on Earth will not be soon graced, or rather cursed, in this year of 2010 by the sudden appearance of a second, mini-sun or bright star, in the place of Saturn , when Cassini is disposed of in the atmosphere of this giant, so beautifully ringed, planet. But Project Lucifer is perhaps not altogether impossible, especially if alien intelligence is involved.
I would strongly encourage people to press NASA not to dispose of Cassini in this fashion in Saturn’s atmosphere when its mission is completed. I find that there would be an unnecessary risk there, for us people on Earth.
For more cutting-edge information about what’s really happening in our solar system, and links to the sources with the evidence, readers can consult my website:
Conrado Salas Cano
I invite your comments, or your replies to his reply, in the comment section below.