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Lucifer Is Not Quite Dead Yet…

by Brian Dunning, Nov 04 2010

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.


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.

50 Responses to “Lucifer Is Not Quite Dead Yet…”

  1. Cambias says:

    This is another one of those conspiracy theories which never gets around to answering the question “Why?”

    If there’s a secret world-ruling conspiracy with scads of secret suppressed science and omnipotent alien buddies, why are they so keen on igniting Jupiter — and why are they keeping it secret?

    • Robo Sapien says:

      Jack Nicholson (who is also one of the conspirators) would say YOU CAN’T HANDLE THE TRUTH.

      You say it is impossible to start a fusion chain reaction on Saturn, probably due to some silly lack of critical mass or something.. I say tell that to the alien assassin that took out JFK with an arcing projectile that entered his neck from an otherwise impossible trajectory.

      Damn skeptics, you have no vision.

    • Max says:

      Why blow up a hydrogen bomb 250 miles above the Pacific Ocean?

      • steve says:

        I think the main question they were testing was if and how the EMP would differ in a space explosion. As for the point of the comparison of your question, we have a perfectly good “why” for nuclear tests.

      • The Fantastic Fred Gherkin says:

        For a second there I read that as “250 miles below” and immediately thought ‘preemptive strike on R’lyeh’.

      • Ed Graham says:

        I was directly under that blast (Starfish Prime)I was on a troop ship returning from a stint in Korea. The area had been cleared of commercial shipping, but our little transport was chugging along – – directly under the blast. It was my job on the ship to tune in radio stations for the troops from where ever I could find them. That evening I was listening to KPOI in Hawaii and did a count down on the ship’s PA. 3-2-1 Unbelievable. I couldn’t believe that the entire sky lit up. In fact, I was a little worried that something had gone wrong when the north-south band of white lit up and wouldn’t go away. it was obviously following the Earth’s magnetic field.

      • Beelzebud says:

        I’ll bet that was amazing to see.

  2. Benjamin says:

    Mr. Cano is a holocaust denier and antisemite. This and this are prominent links on his website. He claims they are “essential to understanding what Judaism is all about.” French philosopher Alain Finkielkraut once said that anyone who talks about conspiracy eventually ends up talking about the Elders of Zion. Certainly seems to be true of this guy.

  3. Brian says:

    This is a good example of how credulity breeds credulity. The writer seems willing to grant that the idea of turning Jupiter (much less Saturn) into a small sun is laughable and simply not going to happen … except because he believes there is a “large-scale alien presence in the solar system”, there could be all kinds of unbelievably advanced technology on hand. And so the ridiculous becomes plausible.

    Does this mean that The Face On Mars is like a gateway drug? Just say no, kiddies.

  4. Ed Graham says:

    It would be fun to watch.

  5. bhoytony says:

    It’s only a matter of time before this secret is uncovered, just like these previous cover-ups:

  6. Alex says:

    It is amazing how crazy the world can look when you lower your standards of evidence just a teensy bit.

  7. The Midwesterner says:

    In your next blog, please include Mr. Cano’s (or anyone else’s) long, dithering explanation as to WHY there’s a secret conspiracy to turn Saturn – or Jupiter- into a mini-sun. I’m on the edge of my seat.

  8. MadScientist says:

    *zonk* Sorry, I couldn’t stay awake long enough to read the letter; it’s as pleasant as having my head slammed in a door repeatedly.

  9. Jerry Schwarz says:

    The “why” question that comes to my mind: If the aliens want to ignite Saturn or Jupiter for whatever reason why don’t they do it themselves? Why do they need NASA’s help?

  10. Alex says:

    …and how come these guys only focus on the face on Mars? What about the Man in the Moon?!? Clearly they are just disinformation agents sent by the WTO to distract us from the REAL anthropomorphic extraterrestrial geographic features that control our lives …and tides.

  11. jeremy.c. says:

    When I sit down to write stories with a science fiction bent I can’t come up with this type of fantasy. I went to his website and it’s like a laundry list of every conspiracy. Just scanning I caught glimpses of Icke, scalar, 9/11, sacred geometry, free energy, Alex Jones, alien abduction, UFOs, and on and on. I somehow missed Bilderberg and chupacabra, though I suspect if I did a ctrl+F and searched I could find them.
    I have a good friend who believed in all of this stuff under the guise of an “open mind.” The only problem was he wasn’t open to any actual evidence contrary to his beliefs. At he end of the day he’s a pretty devout Christian who believes in biblical prophecy so he has a solid grounding in wacky belief without evidence. I have helped back him off the edge of some of the more insane stuff, but he’s so caught up in the idea of false prophets that he can’t seem to stop suckling at the teat of Alex Jones and his fundie followers as they plan to stop the apocalypse (somehow, they’re big on talk and vague on action).
    Nowhere in this stuff does rubber ever meet the road, the reason I turned to skeptical inquiry and science and away from unqualified beliefs. I now find this stuff interesting for a totally different reason; a reason more along the lines of interest in strange psychological beliefs, like Shermer’s book “Why People Believe Weird Things” delves into. (A book whose title got a chuckle out of the judge and courtroom during my stint on jury duty once)

  12. Ben says:

    Sadly, I doubt he will re-evaluate all (or even any) of these beliefs when Jan 1 2011 rolls around and Saturn is still not a star.

  13. Gem Newman says:


    “Also, given … the large-scale alien presence in the solar system … 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.”

    I sort of want to call Poe on this…

    “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.”

    This seems like a testable claim. I’m looking forward to examining it again on 1 January 2011!

  14. @sludgeman says:

    A 2nd sun means another vacation period? Yay! Hail Project Lucifer! XD

  15. Max says:

    He says, “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.”

    The Face on Mars is from a NASA picture…

    • tmac57 says:

      I suspect that where he has been and what he has experienced may involve some sort of…uh…institution… possibly? Just sayin’.

      • Max says:

        If I were to talk to him, I’d want to know where he’s been and what he’s experienced, and deal with that before addressing his conspiracy theories.

  16. steelsheen11b says:

    I have never heard of this particular conspiracy theory and like others here I am scratching my head as to what the end game would be. Do the Aliens or Illuminati or the TLC or the Knights Templar or MI6 WANT another sun? and why, it would wipe out life on earth.

    Even by conspiracy theories standards this one is cuckoo for coco puffs.

  17. steelsheen11b says:

    Richard C. Hoagland is a despicable human being and an invertebrate liar. How anybody could cite that scammer as anything but a scam artist is beyond my ability to comprehend.

  18. Spindrift says:

    Conrado Salas Cano needs him some Vitamin B12.

  19. John Greg says:

    Conrado Salas Cano said:

    “…the reality status of, the face on Mars.”


    … and:

    “…large-scale alien presence in the solar system….”


    … and:

    “Stanley Kubrick codified very impressive, silenced knowledge in 2001, and the sequel 2010 is a worthy successor.”

    /rolls eyes.

    Gimme a break buddy. Go back to your grotto in Swamp Credulous. I understand it’s right beside Mount Looneytunes.

  20. Chris Howard says:

    Yet again, lot’s of claims, little, if any, actual hard evidence.
    Friends of mine, who cotton to this alien/conspiracy stuff
    are new atheists, in that they were recently of a faith.
    Is the alien/conspiracy movement acting as a psychological
    replacement for religion? Are we witnessing the birth of a new

  21. noen says:

    Why ignite Jupiter? The hint is in the name “The Lucifer Project”. In some conspiracy circles is it believed that wealthy aristocrats and secret government agencies employ occult sciences and practices. This is bolstered by the likes of Alan Parsons who was a member of Aleister Crowley’s secret society the OTO. Many very wealthy people have belonged to Satanic cults. I think it’s because they have too much money, lots of time and the power to have their obsessions go on uninterrupted. Kubrick’s “Eyes Wide Shut” wasn’t very far off, at least concerning the rich and powerful.

    The Lucifer Project would somehow herald or open a portal through which the antichrist could enter our world and reign on Earth.

    “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.”

    I think that many people today buy into pseudoscience and conspiracy theories because they have lost their trust in large government or corporate institutions. I think that people are willing to believe in anti-vax nonsense for the same reasons. They no longer trust “big pharma”. Can’t say as I blame them. I think that there isn’t much a large corporate entity *wouldn’t* do for profits if it thought it could get away with it. They already *do* get away with crimes, just watch and see if BP will suffer much for it’s crimes against people and the planet.

    “Are we witnessing the birth of a new religion?”

    Yes, I think so.

    • talespinner says:

      “Many very wealthy people have belonged to Satanic cults.”

      Do you have a source for this?

      “Kubrick’s “Eyes Wide Shut” wasn’t very far off, at least concerning the rich and powerful.”

      And for this?


  22. JustSomeGuy says:

    Woah! Have a look at his web site to which he provides a link at the bottom of his post. His most favorite person is David Icke, the “British author (who) exposes the reptilian bloodline that rules the world” (from D Icke’s) site. Then he lists an impressive catalogue of conspiracies.

    Nuff said.

  23. Seth says:

    Maybe our secret overlords want to ignite Saturn in order to destroy Mimas/the Death Star.

  24. Shawn S. says:

    “…since believing to me entails giving one’s mind away, as in religion or traditional superstition;”

    So instead we resort to believing, sorry, suspecting with a great amount of conviction to the point in which suspicion is just a weasel word for belief, in non-traditional (post-modern? neo?) superstition.

    The bolding of key terms was highly amusing and seems to be endemic of conspiracy mongers. That and random all-caps, of course.

    Just finished “Voodoo Histories” by David Aaronovitch. I recommend it highly to everyone here who hasn’t read it. After reading the nonsense embedded in Brian’s article I have a feeling it will refresh and invigorate.

  25. David H. says:

    Isn’t this just schizophrenia–or at least darned close?

  26. Tony says:

    This read like the usual vaguely arrogant barely coherent rambling you get from conspiracy theorists.

  27. Timmeh says:

    It’s hard to know how to respond to someone who cannot even distinguish fiction from nonfiction.

  28. noen says:

    “Isn’t this just schizophrenia–or at least darned close?”

    No I don’t think so, schizophrenia is quite different. It may be schizotypal personality disorder maybe, hard to say for sure. In the building where I live we have this guy who believes in a lot of this stuff. That there are aliens, that the government is suppressing free energy tech, all that stuff, but he doesn’t really strike me as even schizotypal. He has simply bought into a delusional belief system.

    If you listen to some of the speeches given at UFO conferences on YouTube they sound to me a lot like religious sermons. They reinforce certain points of dogma and typically end with a homiletic plea for universal compassion and other vague metaphysical values.

    This is how new religions are born. Stanford Prof Robert Sapolsky has an excellent lecture on the evolution of religions that makes this very point. Google is your friend.

  29. Randy says:

    I got lost in all the quotation marks. Could someone please key me know if I missed anything important while I was napping? And if we do have a second sun ignited in the near future, is that going to force me to change my vacation plans for summer 2013? (Assuming, of course, that the world doesn’t end in some Mayan Apocolypse before then).

  30. Marcus says:

    I read this letter in the train home from work. I am at a loss of words here… Sad truth: i thought just as my Spanish friend here did but then, a few years ago, skepticism, i. e. the MIB, showed me the truth.

  31. Martin says:


    Should I be preparing my survivalist hide-out to defend against:

    The Greys?
    The Reptilian bloodline in our Royal Family?
    The “return” of Satan through the alien created wormhole?
    or NASA trying to extend my 40 hour working week?

    or are they, as revealing by Lisa Simpsons codified, silenced knowledge all being orchestrated by the reverse vampires?

    Damn that Edward Cullins.

  32. Martin says:

    If I was hell bent on creating nuclear explosions on Jupiter, I wouldn’t bother crashing some little space probes into it. Instead, I’d be assembling some massive nuclear missiles (think the largest ICBM – and then multiply that by 10) in Earth’s orbit. Once completed, I’d launch those directly at Jupiter to see what occurred.

    Of course, I’d need some sort of missile building facility up in orbit – and that would take a lot of cash, coordination and secrecy. I’m sure I could rely on my chums in the Bilderberg group to contact their chums in the Vatican who would then employ the Illuminati to construct a loose coalition of Freemasons, Fundamentalist Muslims and Zionists overseen by the British Royal Family (in accordance with several formal agreements between them and shape-shifting reptilians from the 13th dimension) to create a world banking crisis that would suck all the money out of the economy and funnel it all into Project: Luna-cy.

    Once all that’s sorted, we’re good to go!

  33. Torsten Pihl says:

    Such eloquence. Such delusion.

  34. glen says:

    Geez, can’t these guys ever take an interface design class?

  35. Fran Blanche says:

    The fact that people today could truly think that a gas planet the size of Saturn or Jupiter could be made to produce nuclear fusion by any means belies the widespread and tragic ignorance of basic science, chemistry, and physics. I really am of the opinion that if reasonable people keep paying attention to what irrational people publish and keep fretting about it that we just help disperse radically wrong ideas to an ever more confused and susceptible population. I wholeheartedly wish that it were not true, that we really did live in a reasonable and intelligent world, but this is just not the case.

    And even if it were possible what exactly would be accomplished by having a second sun in the solar system anyway? Isn’t having a marvel like Jupiter out there enough already? I certainly think so.

  36. MarvelFan says:

    Wow, this is a new one to me ^_^

    Don’t these conspiracy theorists stop to think what compacting Jupiter or Saturn into a sun would do to the rest of the Solar System, though, most particularly Earth?

    First off, wouldn’t it really screw up tne night/day cycle that most life has become accustomed to (and believe me, after working 13 years on the ‘Graveyard Shift’, that can really mess with your biology [and social life ^_^]).

    Also, wouldn’t it cause, for want of a better phrase, some kind of ‘gravitational shift’ in the oribts of the planets, possibly throwing earth itself out of its orbit?

    Still, keep up the good work on reporting stuff like this; I like reading all this stuff as a kind of ‘pseudo-science-fiction’ (and yes, I’m a fan of shows like “Fringe” and “X-Files’ [well, the first 5 seasons, and then only the 'monster of the week' episodes ^_^]).