By Richard C. Hoagland
The evening of September 5, 2008, ESA (the European Space Agency) successfully flew its unmanned "Rosetta" spacecraft within 500-miles of a tiny (~ 3 miles across), newly-discovered (1969) asteroid, known as "2867 Steins." The diminutive asteroid was not the prime objective of Rosetta's eleven-year projected Mission ... but only an interim "port of call" (one of two asteroid fly-bys on Rosetta's highly involved itinerary - see below).
The real objective of the 3-ton European spacecraft, launched in 2004, is an unprecedented deep space chase -- involving three repeated encounters with the Earth, one of Mars ... and the two aforementioned asteroid fly-bys ... all carried out enroute to the ultimate target of the Mission--
The eventual rendezvous (and orbit, with touchdown of another small, sub-spacecraft -- called "Philae") ... of a small periodic comet orbiting the Sun in a 6.6-year, highly elliptical orbit (German diagram - below) -- Comet 67P/Churyumov- Gerasimenko--
Said rendezvous to be achieved in ... 2014.
The "opportunistic" Rosetta encounter with the asteroid "Steins" (which "just happened" to lie along the complicated route to the real Mission objective -- the comet rendezvous with 67P), thus represented both an early scientific and "operations" bonus for Rosetta ... as well as something of a risk.
Yes, future 2014 spacecraft observations at the comet could be substantially enhanced by the practice gained during the initial Steins asteroid fly-by in 2008 (and, the other asteroid, "Lutetia," in 2009), but taking science data from such objects was never built into the original spacecraft design; so, mission operations at Steins (which were expected to involve several highly unusual spacecraft maneuvers ... below) could have actually resulted in physical damage to the spacecraft (or its instruments) during the improvised encounter!
For this reason, Rosetta Mission designers initially planned to simply fly-by asteroid 2867 Steins "in the blind" ... taking NO science data during the time of actual Closest Approach!
However, this post-encounter morning -- September 6, 2008 -- there will be an ESA "Steins science press conference" after all, to be held at Rosetta's European Space Operations Centre (ESOC) in Darmstadt, Germany. At this press briefing, results of scientific data taken during that encounter will, in fact, be presented; one of the reports being that "the Rosetta spacecraft came through [the Encounter] with flying colors ..." -- as noted by Dr. David Southwood, ESA's Director of Science and Robotic Exploration.
This glowing assessment of the Rosetta fly-by, however, initially neglected to mention one significant "detail"--
The mysterious and immensely disappointing electronic cut-off of the spacecraft's only Narrow-Angle Camera (NAC) ... some nine minutes (and more than 3000 miles) BEFORE the closest approach of the spacecraft to the asteroid!
This completely unexpected (and hugely disappointing) "software glitch" resulted in a loss of ALL the highest-resolution imaging data from Rosetta (including high-resolution multi-spectral and color views) of "2867 Steins" -- leaving only the five-times-lower-resolution Wide Angle Camera (WAC) data for visual analysis.
However, even in these lower-resolution WAC images, it was immediately apparent that "2867 Steins" was a "curious object" indeed; its overall appearance (below, left) was intensely "geometric" -- resembling nothing as much (freely touted in the official ESA press releases) as "a diamond in the sky" (below, right) ... complete with facets!
This extraordinary first impression is easily confirmed by a quantative geometric comparison (below) ....
This 2-D appearance is further substantiated by the 3-D "anaglyphs" the Rosetta team prepared and conveniently posted on their website (get out your red/green glasses - below).
Steins really IS a 3-D "diamond in the sky."
* * *
Naturally, when geometric-looking objects are imaged in space -- by either NASA, or (now) by various other space agencies around the world -- we here at Enterprise, who have relied upon geometric criteria in our research for almost three decades now, pay more than casual attention ...
For, as the late Dr. Carl Sagan so famously noted:
This dictim has been the single most reliable archaeological indicator of "ancient ruins" here on Earth ... for over a hundred years [below: note the difference between recently excavated ruins at Armana, Egypt in this satellite image (casting sharp, "rectilinear" shadows from "newly dug-out walls and other vertical structures") ... and those ruins still buried under the sands (evidenced by muted, but still equally rectilinear surface outlines ...)].
As readers of Enterprise well know, this baseline archaeological standard of "intelligence" on this planet has been the core foundation of our ~30-year-long investigation into NASA (and other ) imagery of potential "ancient intelligent ruins" located on other planets in this solar system (such as this startling example of identical "raised rectilinear geometry" photographed on Mars by NASA's Mars Surveyor - below) ....
By far, the ultimate expression of this "geometric intelligence criterion" was our discovery, just a few years ago, that an entire outer solar system object seems to follow this essential "geometric intelligence criterion":
Iapteus -- the third largest satellite in the Saturn system -- was imaged in 2004 by NASA's Cassini Mission; on the best Iapetus images sent back to Earth, the distinct, straight-edged, highly geometric outline of this entire ~900-mile-diameter "moon" is strikingly, blatantly apparent (below)--
An astonishing, inescapable, major solar system anomaly -- still ... totally ignored by NASA -- even as its extraordinary implications have been thoroughly and scientifically addressed by Enterprise ... .
* * *
With this as backdrop, when the startling, highly-regular "diamond-shaped" images of tiny "2867 Steins" first appeared on the official ESA website, we couldn't help but wonder--
However, a detailed look at the initial data (below) was very disappointing; not only were the Closest Approach images NOT "high resolution" ... they appeared severely compromised by a variety of (also suspiciously "geometric"...), highly amateurish-looking "imaging artifacts!"
In short, given the spacecraft trajectory and published capabilities of even its Wide-Angle Camera, we expected a LOT more from the ESA "Steins" encounter ....
All the released images taken by Rosetta were acquired according to previously uplinked computer commands, stored on-board -- updated by the latest navigation information. In turn, these computer instructions (at the appropriate time) commanded the spacecraft to autonomously reorient itself in space, before the actual fly-by, in such a way that, during those critical few minutes of Closest Approach, the entire spacecraft (relative to the Sun and Steins) physically "flipped itself" in space.
This maneuver allowed Rosetta to track the radically changing geometric relationship of the asteroid ... relative to the spacecraft ... in "real time," so that the cameras (and other on-board sensors) remained pointed directly toward the tiny, high-velocity target ... even as the sun-angle and pointing direction in space changed radically in those critical few minutes (below).
This daring (and, until September 5th, totally untested) set of complex spacecraft maneuvers was initially rejected by Rosetta Mission planners as "too dangerous" for the long-term Mission. This concern was due primarily to undue thermal stresses such a maneuver would have placed on the spacecraft and its instruments -- by rotating their electronics toward the Sun "in those critical few minutes."
However in the end, curiously, the maneuver was ultimately deemed "an acceptable risk" after all ....
Taking that spacecraft risk (however large or small ...) resulted in a complete visual record of the Encounter (at least, in Wide-Angle imaging ...), as well as data from about 14 other on-board instruments, which the ESA scientists said they planned to use in "characterizing the chemical composition" of "2867 Steins" -- as well as its "reflectivity, surface texture, spin axis orientation, etc., etc."; because of this courageous Mission Operations' decision, at least the Wide-Angle Camera on Rosetta was able to record the asteroid throughout the whole Encounter period (above) -- securing views (below) of almost 180 degrees of 2867 Stein's remarkable diamond-shaped surface as Rosetta approached ... then passed ... the village-sized asteroid--
All at over 5 miles per second!
In the "zero-phase" released WAC image of the sunlit side of 2867 Steins (below, left), not only is the asteroid's remarkable overall "diamond shape" strikingly apparent ... but, at least four, regularly-spaced "bright flanges" can also be seen -- stretching across Steins visible circumference in an obvious straight line--
Each "flange" ... carefully aligned exactly in the "diamond girdle plane."
This extraordinary degree of 2867 Steins' "geometric faithfulness" to the basic "diamond cut," coupled with the placement of these regularly-spaced "protruding flanges" all along one plane ("the girdle" ...)--
Compellingly argued for--
* * *
It was at this point in our Enterprise Mission/Rosetta investigation that we got a break; a few hours after its formal September 6th press conference, ESA quietly released an animated version of Rosetta's entire "Steins' approach and recession profile" on its official Rosetta website -- composed of a series of actual, successive Wide-Angle Camera images taken during the Encounter (below).
Surprisingly, the images making up this animation turned out to be of MUCH higher quality than the half-dozen or so "stills" released at the earlier ESA Steins press conference -- allowing further Enterprise analyses of what Steins "actually might be ...."
Then, a few more days following the September 6th Steins press briefing, members of the Rosetta team quietly released the one and only published Narrow-Angle Camera view from the Encounter (and, in color ...) -- a composite image (red, green and blue) taken about ten and a half minutes (~3500 miles) before Closest Approach (below, far left).
Unfortunately, because Rosetta was still "over a continent away" from the asteroid when this image was acquired (more than the distance from Los Angeles to New York!), it is of even lower resolution than the later, wide-angle shots previously released.
However, despite this lower resolution, the earlier perspective on the asteroid from this vantage point turns out to be critically significant:
This unique view allows us to see about ~ 10-degrees "further to the west" than any other approaching Rosetta images released so far ... into the previously unseen "western hemisphere" of Steins. It is also (because of the overall Rosetta fly-by trajectory) taken significantly below the "diamond girdle plane" -- which allows a unique "looking up" perspective on the "flanges" -- for critical comparison with the much later WAC images, which (again because of the encounter geometry) were taken "looking somewhat down" ... from above "the girdle" as the spacecraft receded from the object ....
When this most opportune NAC color image is even moderately enlarged and enhanced (below), it therefore reveals a fascinating amount of new and critical geometric detail ... reinforcing our initial impression (from the later WAC images) that the "two halves" of Steins -- left and right -- in fact, differ radically in their overall appearance!
The key question (to be answered by further scientific analysis, of course) is ... "why the dramatic difference?"
Strikingly apparent in this enhanced NAC image is further evidence of "the extraordinary symmetry and order" exhibited by the "girdle" surface features recorded on the later WAC images; a remarkable, "highly organized" geometry ... now confirmed to completely extend across this previously unseen "western hemisphere" as well ....
For example: it is clear, even from this reduced resolution image, that there are more of those mysterious "raised vertical flanges" noted previously -- still following "the girdle plane" around this object (comparison below - between two different-processed versions of the same NAC color image -- with the "paired sets of flanges" noted by the circles).
Second, one can also see a marked symmetry (vertically and horizontally) in the location of the two largest shadows in this hemisphere (as well as a distinct absence of random "impact craters" ...) -- with a marked "curve" to the shadow on the left (above). This provides strong indication that this left-hand "curved shadow" is not, in fact, the shadow of a crater rim ... but is actually caused by an equally-curved "vertical buttress" on the "diamond's" facing hemisphere -- the one directly in front of the approaching spacecraft camera. A "buttress" extending downward from above the "girdle plane," to the "culet" at the "diamond's" tip (see again the "cut diamond diagram," above).
In fact, judged by the placement and geometry of both these shadows, and the light areas in-between (determined by the known illumination angle to the sun - 34 degrees), there appear to be three such "massive buttresses" visible in this new hemisphere, arrayed neatly at 60-degree angles--
Left ... center ... and far right (below).
Again, such blatant symmetries are NOT the hallmark of any "natural" objects ... however much the ESA team -- totally ignoring their own extraordinary geometric evidence -- tried to sell the idea to the press that "... Steins is just another example of a typical solar system asteroid."
* * *
Perhaps the most mysterious (and potentially revealing) aspect of this object -- 2867 Steins -- is this striking hemispherical asymmetry, seen in a simple comparison of several images taken before, during, and after Closest Approach (below); while the hemisphere turned toward Rosetta as it approached (below - image #1) is marked by an extremely reflective ("high albedo") surface ... the right-hand side further to the east (images #2, 3 and 4) present a much duller ... and far more familiar cratered view--
Long before Rosetta got close enough to Steins to resolve it as "an object," one of the on-board cameras repeatedly imaged its pinpoint appearance (below) against the background stars, recording the resulting "light curve" as Steins rotated every 6.05 hours in front of the approaching spacecraft.
This recorded light curve (below, left), besides nailing down the rotational period of Steins, was also used to construct a mathematical model of what the close-up images (to be acquired weeks later, during the actual fly-by) might look like (below, right); as you can see ... based just on their computer manipulation of this light curve -- of literally "a rotating point of light" -- the "modelers" turned out to be amazingly correct!
Steins' light curve also plays directly back into our earlier observation re the images: unequivocally confirming that one hemisphere of this increasingly remarkable object is significantly more reflective than the other; the light curve data (above, left) demonstrates that -- as Steins rotates in space -- this quantifiable difference in reflectivity between the two opposing hemispheres--
Steins average visual albedo is 35% -- the high end of brightness for "an asteroid" (the average asteroid albedo range is from 1% to around 20%). This extreme reflectivity for Steins (and striking difference in hemispherical reflectivity ...) thus provide additional clues as to what Steins could really be ....
* * *
An even more dramatic example of this remarkable hemispherical dichotomy is a comparison between a "reduced brightness view" of the NAC approaching color image (below, left), and a WAC B&W image of the opposing hemisphere (below, right) -- the latter appropriately reduced in resolution to match the left-hand image.
This comparison clearly underscores the fact that, while the bright, western hemisphere of Steins (above, left) presents a "highly organized," structural appearance ... the far duller eastern hemisphere (above, right) presents, as previously noted, that much more familiar cratered view ....
Raising again the crucial question: "why this dramatic difference?"
In this comparison (below, left - top and bottom), we have taken two of the WAC images and traced the "line of dichotomy" between these two distinctly different hemispheres, as they changed perspective between the two successive images (below, right - top and bottom); the surface to the left and below the red line (west and south) appears distinctly more reflective and far less cratered (even after we've suppressed most of the intrinsic brightness, to being out the detail) than the surface to the right and above the red line (east and north); the latter presents a seriously battered meteor appearance ... created by many conspicuous impacts, large and small.
Independent observations of these craters, quoted in subsequent news reports, made by members of the Rosetta team itself -- re, the anomalously large number of craters appearing on such a tiny asteroid -- were quite revealing ....
The largest crater on Steins' surface -- the one completely dominating the northern "pole" (below, red arrow) -- is so large (~1 mile across ...), compared to the 3-mile diameter of the Steins itself that, according to Space.com "[the ESA] scientists were amazed that the asteroid survived the impact [emphasis added] ...."
In addition to this major, potentially catastrophic crater (in the officially-processed ESA image, above), what also can be seen in this image is the brilliant left/right "dichotomy" discussed earlier; the striking contrast between the extremely "high-albedo surface" to the left (the "front" of Steins, as Rosetta approached ...), and the heavily-cratered, much less reflective surface to the right (in this image), in this processing, is overwhelmingly apparent ....
Such a startling difference in reflectivity between hemispheres "only 90 degrees apart," again, on such a tiny object, is simply NOT explicable by any normal "phase-angle scattering effects" typically used to analyze such solar system objects (a surface changing its apparent reflection because of a changing observation angle -- between the spacecraft, Stein's surface and the Sun); for, in this case, the total angle subtended by this 3-mile-wide asteroid, as seen from the Rosetta spacecraft, was essentially unchanging in this view ... only about 2 degrees, "at the max"--
Across such a minor angle, there should be NO such dramatic "phase effects" -- at all!
Yet, in Stein's case -- mysteriously -- there obviously is ....
The only reasonable explanation for this otherwise baffling reflection phenomenon must lie in some kind of fundamental "compositional difference ..."; the hemisphere of Steins that (by fortunate circumstance ...) was facing the Rosetta spacecraft as it approached -- with the Sun directly behind the camera (the so-called "zero-phase perspective" - below, left) -- is somehow dramatically different from the surface further around to the east ... recorded as the spacecraft viewed this tiny object a few minutes later from a position some 90 degrees to its approaching view (below, right).
It is this composition difference which, somehow, must be responsible for not only in the remarkable change in surface brightness as one moves further east ... but for the simultaneous presence of all those impact craters on that same (somehow, much less reflective) surface ....
If one looks closely at one of the best Rosetta images taken during Closest Approach (below, left), one can actually see several "layers" (below, right) to that surface ... on the eastern side of Steins; these successive layerings (marked in red, green and blue ...) appear to descend -- from "higher" levels in the west (toward the left) to "lower" levels in the east (to the right) ... as one moves further around the object toward the shadow line.
So, what could that be all about?
* * *
The simplest model for all this -- the one that best explains all these remarkable observations -- is that "Steins" is, indeed, an artificial object ... that has suffered, as Rosetta scientist Uwe Keller termed it, "a complex collision[al] history."
This Enterprise "artificial" model predicts that, because of those collisions, one entire half of this small celestial body has suffered massive stripping of a former, highly reflective "outer casing" or "outer hull"--
A "casing" which is still (more or less ...) intact across one hemisphere -- the side that Rosetta captured with its one distant NAC image before the fly-by (below, left) -- but is now heavily cratered and abraded in the hemisphere the spacecraft imaged with its WAC Camera at Closest Approach and after (below, right)!
This model neatly and comprehensively accounts for the smashed and battered appearance of this eastern hemisphere ... which is, in fact, comprised of the same underlying structural components (now, all-but-obliterated - below, right) as those seen on Steins' opposing western hemisphere, during the approach (above, left).
What is also apparent, because of the much higher resolution images taken of this eastern hemisphere, is the striking appearance of several additional geometric features on this fascinating object -- most notably, what appear to be enormous, distinctly separated "windows" (yes, windows ...) -- aligned horizontally, in two parallel rows, just above Steins' highly reflective "girdle" (above, right).
These amazing, familiar-looking artificial features are then joined (further to the east ...) by an even more compelling detail -- what appear to be exposed "structural components" (resembling a giant "box-like structure"... ), located above the "gridle" -- at the top of one of those massive "buttresses" seen on Stein's preceeding hemisphere.
If this is what this feature really represents -- an exposed, major structural element of "Steins" -- it has likely been stripped of its protective covering and exposed by more of the same major impact damage seen all across this hemisphere. This same type of damage has apparently removed almost all the rest of Stein's brilliantly reflective covering in this entire hemisphere, except for western sections of "the girdle" (below, left) ... and some additional regions around the pointed "culet" at the base of Stein's basic diamond shape.
Careful examination of this remarkable image also reveals a myriad of additional geometric features that -- taken all together -- form compelling testimony as to the potential true nature of this extraordinary object.
* * *
So, let's summarize the major conclusion of our month-long Enterprise analysis of "2867 Steins":
If this hypothesis is correct (a Big "If" ...), then Steins is also certainly NOT "made of rock" (as astronomers have been assuming ...), but is, in fact, a 3-mile-wide manufactured artifact -- currently of unknown surface composition -- about the size of a small "town."
It is something WE could build in "zero-G," even given the antiquated technology of NASA ... if we had the funds.
Based on telescopic visual and IR spectral data gathered from Earth prior to Rosetta's fly-by, Stein's external composition could, in fact, actually be some form of "refined metal"; this is based, in part, on its unique spectrum -- classified as "E" according to planetary catalogues -- making Steins among the rarest of all asteroid types ... a spectral classification shared by only about 30 other objects in the entire solar system (as evidenced by this comparative spectral graph - below) -- out of over three hundred thousand asteroids known!
Steins' rare "E-type classificiation" was reinforced by some (still unpublished ...) Rosetta close-up spectral observations from the fly-by, "snuck in" to the Spectember 6th ESA morning press conference by Principal Investigator for the Visible and Infrared Thermal Imaging Spectrometer (VIRTIS), Angioletta Coradini, commenting "We didn't expect to present data today. But we got part of the data and they are really exciting ...." Thus Coradini was able to give a quick "sneak preview" of a couple of the VIRTIS spectral graphs of Steins (below) -- clearly (with a much higher "signal-to-noise ratio") supporting the uniquely "flat spectum" of these fascinating objects.
(A more complete explanation of what Rosetta discovered -- in terms of Steins' key surface composition -- is awaiting peer-reviewed scientific publication of the VIRTIS data ....)
"E-class" asteroids, historically, have also shown unique reponses to reflected radar signals--
According to these recently published Arecibo radar observations -- specifically of two medium-size E-class asteroids, "44 Nysa" and "434 Hungaria" -- some of the radio waves reflected back to Earth (remember, from asteroids spectrally identical to "2867 Steins" ...) could actually be coming, not from their surfaces ... but from multiple reflections deep inside!
According to these "highly polarized" radar observations, the two E-type objects are also about 20 percent more efficient at reflecting radar signals overall ... compared to any other type of asteroid!
These combined observations are thus totally consistent with E-type asteroids being a) covered with some type of highly efficient, electrically conductive "casing" and b) also being, essentially--
In other words, the data suggest that some of the radar echos are literally returning from deep within -- "scattered" multiple times (thus, polarized ...) by countless reflections between the flat, geometrically-spaced walls of innumerable interior corridors and rooms!
Based on the preceeding Earth-based visual and radar observations of these E-class objects -- combined with Rosetta's history-making fly-by of the first example seen in close proximity -- Steins could, indeed, now be the best-known representative of a totally new class of solar system "object"--
One of only a few dozen "E-type" ancient space platforms ... still orbiting the Sun ....
* * *
Which bring us to the "speculative" (and therefore, fun!) part of this analysis.
Obviously, all the images and data we've presented here on the Steins fly-by can easily be verified, by referring directly to the appropriate ESA Rosetta websites. The correlative ground-based scientific data (Steins' spectral classification as an "E-type" object ... the remarkable Earth-based radar observations of similar E-class "asteroids," etc., etc.) can be read at the various links included, above.
The proper scientific interpretations of these data, however, are a bit more difficult ....
Declaring any solar system object (as we also did with Iapetus ...) convincingly "artificial," is immediately frought with complications -- from the quality (and quantity) of scientific data made available "by the authorities" on which to make such an assessment, to the political and psychological climate extant at the time when such a hypothesis is ventured ... especially the "political."
In terms of Steins, it should now be obvious (to any objective observer ...) that it is anything but ... "asteroid-like."
Its extraordinarily specific topological symmetry (a "diamond"), coupled with its remarkable, repeating geometry reinforcing that perception (regularly-spaced vertical protrusions in its surface, but only in the 'diamond girdle' plane ... the "buttresses" ... and remnants of complex, surface structural remains ....), all argue compellingly for Steins as artificial. The "asteroid's" marked overall assymetry (in terms of the light unevenly reflected by the two opposing hemispheres ...) -- on an object otherwise remarkably ... anonymously ... symmetric -- completes the "artificial" picture ....
Yet, even venturing such a "hypothesis" -- without significantly better resolution imaging evidence in hand -- is guaranteed to bring about a rain of diatribes against the individual proposing such a "model" ....
This is why, amid the self-congratulations going on around the Rosetta Mission throughout that first post-fly-by Saturday morning press briefing, as soon as I heard the words "the highest-resolution NAC Steins images have been LOST ... nine minutes before Closest Approach ..."--
I KNEW that Steins had to hold critical proof re the "ancient, inhabited solar system" model--
Which is why "they" were deliberately suppressing those key images!
The nature and timing of the bizarre"camera failure" announcement -- not until some "forty minutes into the 'morning after' press briefing," and then casually blamed on "a software 'safing' error" -- made me instantly wonder what the Rosetta team had SEEN on those 5X higher resolution images at Closest Approach ... and COULDN'T tell us?--
Which had forced them to invent such an obvious "bold-faced lie" to cover up the fact that startling NAC close-ups of Steins were already on the ground?!
Note that in the official release it is specifically cited that the Narrow-Angle Camera went into "safe mode" (meaning, it curled up electronically into the equivalent of a foetal ball ...) at nine minutes before the minimum distance from Steins. And that the images taken just before cut-off would NOT be any better than the BEST images taken by the wide-angle camera AT Closest Approach!
I immediately thought NOT ... as did one of our "intel sources" when I asked.
Having teased every last pixel of detail out of the Rosetta/Steins WAC animation images (below), I find it very difficult to believe that the NAC randomly cut out JUST before we could get any imaging data BETTER than the best detail we've been able to extract from the WAC data ... no matter how "plausible" the technical excuses sound ....
Because, if we had that even slightly better imaging data ... there would be NO QUESTION now in any observers' minds regarding the overwhelmingly artificial nature of "2867 Steins!"; the organized "structural geometry" present all over its surface would almost "leap off the screen."
Geometry that "someone" carefully arranged that we would never get to see ... because "the camera failed ..." nine minutes short of the goal line--
As one of the political candidates said the other night during the debate--
"And, if you believe THAT one ... I've got 'a bridge to nowhere' I'll gladly sell you -- real cheap!"
* * *
So, extrapolating from the boarder-line "smoking gun" imaging data we do have -- what IS "2867 Steins" ...?
What happened to it ... to create a distinctly "two-faced" object?
And -- "when?"
Oddly enough, the dramatic "hemispherical asymmetry" of Steins turns out to be THE overwhelming clue to all these questions--
To, in fact, an object in surprising accordance with ancient solar system events described with great specificity in our 2001 "Mars Tidal Model" paper, as well as in our later (2005) Enterprise series on Saturn's most mysterious moon, Iapetus -- "Moon with a View."
In both these major Enterprise investigations, our efforts at a realistic "reconstruction of an ancient solar system chronology ..." (in parallel with Tom Van Flanderns' independent efforts in that same direction -- see below) has been overwhelmingly supported by later NASA and ESA official revelations from their on-going Mars missions -- most notably, in the continuing "ancient Mars' oceans/current ice/water" saga ....
One of the major predictions of the "exploded planet hypothesis" (EPH), is that "normal" solar system events came to an abrupt and catastrophic crescendo ~65 million years ago -- with the sudden, literal explosion of one of the Sun's major inner planets ... the one NOT orbiting where the current asteroid belt now lives!
The visible scarring and other effects of such an inconceivable catastrophe on other bodies in the solar system were discussed by Tom Van Flandern many years ago--
Tom's extrapolation re the physically effects of "an ancient solar-system-wide catastrophe ..." on satellites in the outer solar system, could easily be applied to other solar system objects as well ... some located much closer to "ground zero!"
Like "2867 Steins."
It works like this:
If Steins -- as a functioning space platform (in our model) -- had been orbiting too close to Planet V when the latter blew up (within "a few million miles ...") Steins simply would not have survived; too far away, and the outward rushing debris cloud would have had too low a density to leave the kind of visible "high concentration" damage that we see in the WAC images.
The latter is because the debris-front of the expanding planetary cloud (when it reached Stains ...) had to have still been a relatively thin, high-density "shell" (moving at several miles per second ...), but not too dense (or Steins would have been destroyed) ... and ... passing Steins relatively quickly--
Otherwise ... all sides of Steins (remember, rotating every ~6 hours ...) would have been heavily damaged by the impacting debris. In stead, only one side of this diamond-shaped object was (apparently) affected--
While the opposite side (judging from the single NAC image that we have, and Rosetta's light curve ...) was left almost completely intact!
From which, we are able to reconstruct the following, probable "sequence of events" ....
Subjected to a relatively brief (but intense) rain of "planetary crustal fragments" from the horrific explosion of the distant Planet V, combined with the effects of an expanding micrometeorite cloud of condensed planetary mantle rock -- all rushing past at several miles per second -- Steins had its highly reflective "casing" completely scoured off one half of its exterior (the side facing the explosion ...), immediately followed by the larger, solid fragments impacting directly that same side ... with visibly catastrophic results (below)--
Leaving the unmistakable signature of a LOT of highly destructive impacts ... but only on ONE HALF of Steins--
That latter, critical observation CANNOT be explained by any "steady-state" model of impacting debris ... spread across the lifetime of the solar system!
It can ONLY be satisfied if Steins was, indeed, exposed to "a sudden, short-duration rain of high-speed blast-wave- objects (below) ... causing out-of-proportion destructive impacts from the distant, cataclysmic destruction of an entire planet!"
Thus, the EPH model -- immediately and easily -- can account for two major puzzles stemming from Steins' close-in imaging observations ... observations that are left completely unanswered by all the prevailing asteroid models ....
So, what else could it explain ...?--
How about this little mystery ... also voiced that Saturday morning, by Rosetta camera principal investigator, H. Uwe Keller:
Here (below) is what Keller was referring to:
His polite "... we really have to think about what the explanation of this is ..." was just another way of saying--
"We haven't a CLUE to what's really going on here!"
So, while the "mainstream" asteroid model cannot seem to figure out how to produce, not only the heavy concentration of impact craters seen on Steins' eastern hemisphere, but an additional "impact crater chain"--
Again, the EPH model easily can.
The mysterious "Steins' crater chain" (according to the EPH) is simply the subsequent collision of Steins with one of those "multiply-bound asteroid systems" that Van Flandern predicted also HAD to form ... if a planet can really destroy itself in "an explosion."
Such multiple, gravitationally-bound systems would have been inevitably fostered by "whirling debris ... orbiting around other whirling debris ..." all created in the turbulence of the expanding debris cloud from that explosion ... a sequence of inevitable events caused by the fragmentation, pulverization and subsequent ejection into space of an entire planetary crust!
Thus, in the context of the EPH model, it is obvious from the close-up images of Steins that this type of "multi-body, orbiting system collision ..." is the most likely source of this, otherwise "inexplicable" line of craters stitched up Steins' entire eastern flank.
Providing further confirmation of this model, is the fact that these "multiple impacts" also occurred, significantly, directly opposite the far less-damaged "Rosetta approach hemisphere" ... as if they also were coming directly from the source of "an explosion" ... behind Steins--
Again, all in exact accordance with the Exploding Planet Hypothesis.
Leaving us with remarkable new evidence -- "2867 Steins" itself! -- for the previously determined existence (from other evidence ...) of "a ~ 65-million-year-old, ancient, solar system civilization ... which, for some reason, needed to build three-mile-wide, space platforms -- one of which, was shaped like a perfectly cut diamond in the sky ... and was then almost destroyed.
Which, of course, brings up the fascinating question:
"WHY a ... 'diamond-cut' ... geometry?"
In the ESA (and every other mainstream) model for the formation of 2867 Steins, it is assumed that this object -- like the literally hundreds of thousands of other asteroids now catalogued -- is simply, literally "a chip off the old block." That, through incessant collisions ... over billions of years ... newly-formed "rocks" like Steins, left over from the forming solar system, would have been inexorably shaped ("ground down" ...) by relentless external impacts ... into their current configurations.
In this model, Steins' "impossibly precise" diamond-cut geometry is, if course, seen as purely accidental ... the simple "interesting" result of those innumerably random interplanetary collisions.
For this reason, any data supporting the current Enterprise hypothesis -- that Steins was, in fact, deliberately, intelligently manufactured ... and, as a carefully-planned 'diamond in the sky'" -- could be decisive ... in terms of deciding if Steins is, in fact, a bona fide "artificial construct" ....
Well, we have found that data.
* * *
Just as we proposed that the geometric shape of Iapetus was "by design" ... and a major clue to its ultimate end use ... as a radar-stealthy "moon"--
So, we have reached similar technical conclusions regarding "2867 Steins."
That, all other attributes aside, one of its key geometric functions seems to have been deliberately designed to interact with radar ... in a highly specific fashion--
TO BE DETECTED!
In other words, every aspect of Steins' geometry -- from the technical radar-return perspective -- seems to be the exact opposite of the geometry of Iapetus; while Iapetus' geometry was apparently designed to "hide" ... Steins geometry cannot help but shout out to any active radar system--
"HERE I AM!"
Which -- when put together with WHERE Steins was discovered orbiting (10 degrees above, but within, the Main Belt Asteroids ...), and how close this is to the proposed orbital location of the original "exploding Planet V"--
Leads directly to Steins' potential PURPOSE.
As a "city-sized" rescue craft ... from the same ancient solar system catastrophe we've been discussing!
If you look even casually at Steins' remarkably faithful "diamond-cut" geometry (below, left), and compare it with the classic reasons for that specific cut (below, right), you reach a very interesting conclusion:
Diamonds are cut the way they are for one essential reason:
To interact "brilliantly" with light.
If we replace these classic "lightwave" reflections and refractions (above, right center) with microwaves, the geometric "diamond principle" still applies ... if the interior and exterior manufacturing geometry also remains the same--
And, if the material used in this construction interacts with these radar wavelengths in the same fashion as "light" does (within the crystalline geometry of a real diamond ...).
The overall effect will then also be precisely "diamond-like."
Thus creating an "artificial, miles-wide diamond in the sky" -- which would literally "sparkle" (on a radar screen) with the reflected/refracted microwave energy being beamed at it ... just as a real diamond does when hit by light (below)!
(Which, of course, returns us to those "highly anomalous radar signatures" of ALL the E-class asteroids currently investigated; what would radar observations specifically of "2867 Steins" now reveal ...?!)
This, of course, is exactly the type of "passive beacon" property you'd want to build into any space fleet of "rescue platforms" (designed to house literally millions of refugees from a dying planet) ... platforms that you would desperately needed a foolproof system to relocate, anywhere in the solar system ... after the catastrophe!
As can be seen in our example (above, right center), from one angle, the proper "diamond cut" -- regardless of the specific material -- has the unique property of reflecting the incoming energy (be it light or microwaves ... ) directly back along the incident path ... a property called "retroreflection." This technique was used very effectively by the Apollo Project, in designing the arrays of optical, diamond-shaped prisms (below, right) the astronauts carried to the Moon for the "Moonbounce laser experiments" that has continued to take place over the last several decades, after they departed ....
Such a "retroreflection" principle, if deliberately embodied in the design of the diamond-shaped "space platform," such as Steins ... is the one parameter that would have insured its quick location (if it survived ...) -- regardless of its damaged condition or orbit ... after the Planet V explosion ....
* * *
This scenario also answers several additional questions raised by Rosetta's Steins' Encounter, including the major one:
"Why is it still there?"
As previously noted, among the two dozen or so craters initially identified ... heavily concentrated in this eastern hemisphere, Rosetta discovered one real "monster" -- covering the entire northern rotational pole ... and almost a mile wide -- on an object only about three times wider than the crater itself (below)!
As soon as everyone saw that massive impact scar, the question that immediately came to mind (including, among the ESA scientists themselves ...) was:
"Why didn't that disproportionate collision ... totally destroy this tiny object!?
Again, the "space platform" hypothesis has a ready, elegant answer ....
If Steins is NOT a "normal" asteroid ... if it is really a "city-sized, space platform" -- with a geometry specifically built-in to return "microwave scanning beams" (radar ...) directly to their sources--
Then, this yawning "polar crater" suddenly takes on a totally different character ....
That, despite its misleading appearance, it's NOT just another "impact crater" ... but a specific, integral part of Steins' carefully designed, geometrically precise "diamond structure"--
A carefully tailored opening (now, of course, badly eroded by megayears of micrometeorite abrasion ...), originally designed to allow microwaves to penetrate deeply ... directly ... into Steins' interior (below) -- so those same microwaves would then be reflected directly back to the radar stations searching for Stein's location ... after the explosion of Planet V!
If this analysis is accurate (thus, requiring no "asteroid shattering" impact at all ...), it immediately prompts reexamination of all the other "craters" on Steins' surface -- so many that, even the official ESA analysis noted their curious abundance "... in a far higher concentration than would be expected for such a small object ...."
If we look at Steins' from the perspective of a "man-made" object (in the broadest understanding of that term ...), and NOT "just another asteroid" -- our perception of its images ... and the size, nature and distribution of these other surface "craters" ... really shifts--
And we begin to see another, otherwise completely overlooked geometric pattern!
Which neatly "lines up" craters that are not only "all about the same size ... and regularly-spaced" ... but, suspiciously all in the same plane as Stein's remarkable "diamond girdle" feature (below).
From this obviously non-random distribution, one can cautiously speculate that these "aligned girdle craters" in this eastern hemisphere are, in fact, the shattered remains of those remarkable "protruding flanges" seen on the other side of Steins! Only, in this hemisphere, they've now been smashed and almost totally destroyed ... with only their surrounding structural framework and connection to the massive "North/South buttresses" still partially surviving ....
As to to their original functions, that could be anything--
"Cavernous airlocks" ... "spacecraft docking bays" ... "fuel storage tanks" ... anything ... requiring "a large, enclosed volume ... in the 'girdle plane'"--
"Volumes" that are now totally, catastrophically exposed to space ... but that have preserved, even in deaths, their tell-tale geometric spacing ....
* * *
It should be crystal clear by now that I don't believe for a nanosecond the ESA "party line" ... that the Narrow-Angle Camera "suddenly went into safe mode ... all by itself ..." just before Encounter; I mean, how convenient ....
But, it gets worse.
Based on the preceding evidence, it is my growing suspicion that "2867 Steins" may not have been a "random target of opportunity" after all -- but was, in fact, a clandestine Prime Objective of the Rosetta Mission ... from the beginning!
If this analysis is true, then Rosetta's whole "delayed departure story" -- and its back-up choice of an entirely different comet to its original primary objective ("Comet Wirtanen") could have been part of an elaborate, clandestine different mission all along--
To successfully fly-by Steins--
And confirm, first-hand, the remarkable suspicions about Steins which ESA (somehow ...) already had in its possession!
But, how would THAT be possible?
For almost a decade, Enterprise has been researching not only the technical cover-ups of imaging and other planetary data at NASA pertaining to "an ancient, solar-system-wide, extraterrestrial civilization ...", but the completely unexpected social and cultural environment surrounding this most elusive topic. Over the years here at Enterprise we have presented increasingly robust evidence supporting the idea that (for some arcane, ritual reasons ...) inside NASA, secret "Masonic rituals" are embodied in essentially every NASA launch ... NASA planetary fly-by ... or NASA mission landing ....
Our latest, in-depth presentation of the latest evidence is available in our New York Times bestseller (with Mike Bara):
NASA (and every other global space program ... including ESA ... we have come to slowly realize) appears now to not only have a definite hidden agenda "... to locate and secretly investigate ancient, extraterrestrial ruins in the solar system ...", driven by some kind of bizarre "ritual plan" -- they have standing orders to conceal this Prime Objective (and how they carry it out ...) with a "plausible, scientific cover-mission." The latter, of course, is designed primarily to keep their respective taxpayers (and even most scientists involved ...) completely in the dark about the real reasons for these "competing" interplanetary missions' (increasingly being conducted by ... the Chinese ... the Japanese ... the Russians ... the Indians ... the Europeans ...)--
And their true objectives.
So, how would ESA have KNOWN that Steins was "an object of interest" ... BEFORE it did the fly-by?
There are two rational answers to this crucial question:
Either ESA combined all the existing Earth-based scientific data on the "E-class" asteroids previously discussed -- spectral observations, photometry, radar ... -- and did realize (as stated ...) that Steins, as a representative of this unique asteroid type, was fortuitously "on the way" to an eventual secondary comet target (Comet 67P/Churyumov-Gerasimenko), in 2014 ... as advertised.
In other words, they got INCREDIBLY lucky ....
The ESA designers of the complete 10-year Rosetta Mission Plan had access to "secret documents" (from sources "in the know ..."), regarding the true, artificial nature of "2867 Steins" -- and thus based their entire 10-year "secret mission" on the early rendezvous with Steins ... with the much-publicized "later comet rendezvous" actually being just the "cover story" ....
It would be far easier NOT to suspect all of this at this point ... were it not for the fact that the mission's overall, official name is directly taken from NASA's own covert ritual "Masonic Playbook!"
For those needing a bit of a refresher vis a vis "Rosetta," here's a reference from one of the ESA mission news reports, back in 2004--
Totally in keeping with this "Egyptian motif," ESA then went even further ... naming the key camera system aboard its planned comet-chasing spacecraft, "OSIRIS" (below)--
With a logo on every officially released Steins "OSIRIS image" -- literally spelling out (in Ancient Egyptian!) the name of this most important of Egyptian "gods" (below, upper right corner) ....
Here (below, left) is a magnified version of that official OSIRIS logo -- side-by-side (below, right) with its Egyptian hieroglyphic translation ....
So, why is "Osiris" important to any "potentially secret Rosetta Mission to 'an ancient space platform' ...?"
Here's how Mike and I described just one example of NASA's documentable obsession with "Osiris" ... in Dark Mission--
"...of the Dead and Resurrection ...."
For a Mission whose secret objective (if we're right ...) was "to fly-by one of the long-dead, ancient solar system's surviving artificial space platforms ..." -- and thereby resurrect its memory -- the naming choice was perfect ....
Further, in looking at the released OSIRIS frames, particularly the one NAC color view taken about ten and a half minutes before Closest Approach, I also couldn't help but notice a striking resemblance to another Egyptian "god"--
Look at this side-by side-comparison (below), and see if you don't notice an eerie parallel yourself ....
"Horus," in Egyptian mythology, is represented by a falcon ... a bird of prey ....
Scholar Alan Alford has written several books (below) exploring potential links between such "ancient Egyptian and Sumerian mythologies" ... and the potential cultural effects of a bona fide "ancient solar-system-wide cataclysm, resulting from the physical explosion of an entire planet ...."
He even terms this his "exploded planet cult theory"--
Based on the results of our completely independent research, I would say Alford's "exploded planet cult ... " is quite alive and well ... and, among other places, living "high off the taxpayers" both in NASA and in ESA ....
Looking at this remarkable Rosetta comparison (above), one is definitely struck by the eerie resemblance between "the inanimate architecture of an ancient, massive platform ... flying through space ..." and the features of a living symbol ... "a falcon metaphor for a far more ancient inanimate form ... known formally as 'the distant one' ... flying through the skies of Ancient Egypt ...."
That such a mythological overlay is more than "coincidental," is the thesis of much of Alford's work: which is, that the ancient mythological images and "textual codes" underlying all Egyptian Civilization (such as those attached to "Horus"... ) and the Sumerian's equally striking "sky imagery," are actually metaphorical "explanations" of potentially real, incredibly ancient personages and events ... from that long-lost period of pre and post cataclysm solar-system history ...."
And Horus was, of course, the son of OSIRIS.
What better that "an OSIRIS camera" ... to take "his" close-up imagery now ...?
If Ancient Egypt was the "metaphorical map" of people and events from an even more "unimaginable time ..." -- endlessly relived and replayed in the mythology of much more "recent" ancient civilizations here on Earth -- this could well answer our key question:
How did ESA KNOW before they sent the mission ... that Steins was, in actuality, an artificial platform!?
Because of the current existence of Alford's "exploded planet cult ..." which (again, somehow ...) provided ESA with access to far more ancient (and far less "ambiguous" ...) solar system information ...
Perhaps in the form of carefully preserved texts ... even actual images (!) ....
Whatever form this information took, it apparently (judging by the results) faithfully recorded snippets of real "ancient solar system events ..." and even incredibly useful navigation data, such as possibly ... exact ephemerides (locations ...) of some surviving ancient spacecraft orbiting the Sun ... masquerading as "mere asteroids" even now ....
If any of this speculation is true ... it could finally, neatly, explain the otherwise "almost impossible-to-understand" overall Rosetta Mission Plan ... the "extended, tortuous course" that ESA (claimed it) was forced to send Rosetta on ... just to reach "its" back-up comet, Comet 67P/Churyumov- Gerasimenko.
In truth, because Steins currently orbits "ten degrees above the solar system plane ...", any clandestine mission would HAVE HAD to involve such a critical set of complex maneuvers after leaving Earth ... all to effect THAT crucial, unavoidable "plane change" to reach Steins' orbit.
And, "plane changes" in interplanetary travel are EXTREMELY expensive -- in terms of fuel.
So, if Steins was the Primary Mission all along, then the selection of a second comet, ALSO orbiting well above the solar system plane, was ESSENTIAL to the cover story ... with one big loophole--
If an "alternate comet" was needed as a target (after "Comet Wirtanen" had been originally selected and then scrapped, forced by the delay) ... why did ESA choose another comet ALSO in "a highly inclined orbit?" Every extra day spent on the ground, after being fabricated, was an extra day on which some onboard random electronic system could literally break down (fail ...) -- resulting potentially in a later mission loss!
Why add EXTRA, "risky" time (~11 years ...) -- hundreds of millions of extra miles traveling through space, looping past planets ... once ... twice ... three times! -- all, just to rendezvous with another "highly-inclined comet" (Wirtanen has an inclination of almost 12 degrees ...)?
Much more accessible comets orbit much closer to the central solar system plane ...?!
Instead of eleven years ... such an alternative "in plane" comet rendezvous could have been achieved in just a couple years ....
So, why add the highly risky "extra time" ...?
Unless you HAD to--
In order, in a MOST undercover way ... to fly-by Steins!
* * *
The idea that somewhere in Europe ... or in Washington ... there exist mind-blowing photographic blow-ups of Steins from Rosetta's fully-operational Narrow-Angle Camera, photographs five times closer than the ones we have now ... photographs that show astonishing, individual artifacts (!) from Steins' ancient, manufactured origins ... artifacts lying in ruin on its blasted surface even now ... is enough to make any patriotic American's blood boil!
Who are these "elites" ... that they would steal an entire "Pre-Fall" human history from all the rest of us!?
And, when will it end?
As the watchword of this entire political season goes--
"Change IS coming ..."