Astronaut Theology: "Half-Billion Miles from Earth..."

In 1960, the powerful Washington think tank The Brookings Institute released a white paper which included a section on UFOs and ETs, outlining a number of various scenarios for poltical and military leaders should contact ever occur. Brookings was pessimistic about such an event, noting that societies don't tend to react favorably when confronted with a superior technological advancement.

Given what we now know about the vast distances between stars and the limitations of space travel, chances are good- in my opinion, at least- that any contact we might have might be with something much more exotic than interstellar neighbors, perhaps even some kind of interdimensional contact (given the energy requirements involved, traversing between dimensions from a fixed point might well be more feasible than drifting through several light years of space).

But Brookings felt that the more likely possibility was discovery of an earlier civilization within our own solar system, either native or transient:
It is conceivable that there is semi- intelligent life in some part of our solar system or highly intelligent life which is not technologically oriented, and many cosmologists and astronomers think it very likely that there is intelligent life in many other solar systems. While face-to-face meetings with it will. not occur within the next twenty years (unless its technology is more advanced than ours, qualifying it to visit earth), artifacts left at some point in time by these life forms might possibly be discovered through our space activities on the Moon, Mars, or Venus.
This was the basis of 2001: A Space Odyssey, in which the discovery of an alien artifact leads to a coverup. That in turn was inspired by Arthur C. Clarke's short story 'The Sentinel', one of several stories working that theme.

Some researchers have speculated that these artifacts have indeed already been found (on Cydonia, for instance) and what we've been seeing over the past 30+ years is a two-pronged approach to preparing the public for disclosure of an otherworldly civilization; relentless ridicule by scientists and the media accompanied by a steady diet of ancient astronaut/alien themes in films, TV shows, video games and so on.

For my part, I'd say it was unlikely that the authorities would ever want to disclose anything that disturbs our present understanding of history or threatens their worldwide crowd control project, religious fundamentalism. But I'm not married to that. And there was Ridley Scott's relentlessly hyped Prometheus, wasn't there?

Now there was a stray line in Prometheus, utter by Charlize Theron's character- one that got the nipples of twiddleheads like Phil Plait and Neil De Grasse Tyson in a right old twist- that led me to wonder this afternoon if it weren't a gross computational error (these films pay scientific consultants big dollars to catch these kinds of things) but a clue as to what the film is really all about. A clue that we can draw a line from it, to the NASA-sponsored Mission to Mars, back to 2001.

It's when she mentions being a "half-billion miles away from Earth." As Tyson mentioned, that would put the mission somewhere in the vicinity of Jupiter. I don't expect Tyson or the rest to understand secret code or hidden messages, but certainly all of you out there do. And pray tell- what famous alien contact narrative took place outside the orbit of Jupiter?

Oh, that one. Right.

What's even more interesting to me is how similar so much of what we see in Prometheus is to Mission to Mars, certainly a film that most Hollywood producers wouldn't seek to emulate. Of course, it's all told in the context of a horror story, but the elements of the holographic history lessons and the 3D space map are all there, quite incongruously.

Then of course there's also the giant alien sending its DNA to Earth, which we see in the beginning of Prometheus. Now, most scientists believe that Mars' magnetic field was destroyed half a billion years ago, due to an asteroid impact. Is that another clue? A double entendre to what critics dismiss as a gross error? We'll get to that in a minute...

Given that the action in the film takes place in a giant space ship underneath the surface of a moon, I can't help but think of the search for life on Jovian moons such as Europa, which played such a crucial role in 2010: Odyssey Two.

And that story climaxed with the ignition of Jupiter† as a new sun, Lucifer, which is not a name (and appears in no Bible translation at all until the King James Version) but a title meaning the "Light-Bringer," which is what role Prometheus the Titan played in Greek mythology, having stolen fire from the gods to bring to humanity.

I was thinking about those Martian giants today in context of the final scene in Prometheus when Mary Magdalene and John the, Elizabeth and David take off for the Engineer's homeworld. Of course, all this interstellar travel would take decades, if not centuries, in the real world so you can't help but wonder what planet they're steaming towards in the decoded version.

A lot of people have dismissed Zechariah Sitchin's Nibiru theories- and the man was no astrophysicist- claiming the impossibility of life on such a far-flung planet. Plus, it doesn't even exist anyway, so there. But we keep hearing stories of something out there- and it's a good light year or so to the edge of the solar system, and there are theories of brown dwarfs and moons and the rest. One thing you can be sure of with science is that we know now is almost certainly going to be rewritten later.

But I couldn't help but think again that a truly advanced race- say, a race of former Martians who saw their beautiful paradise of a world blown to shit by some passing spacejunk- might take very seriously the danger of our cosmic neighborhood and realize that longterm survival meant getting the hell out of the way of the Sun's gravity, which is always dragging all that dangerous crap towards it.

We can't imagine a truly advanced race, past a sci-fi level. But a truly advanced race might see the past couple of thousand years since historians were recording them bounding around the Earth's surface a friggin' blip in their concept of time. And given that the so-called Face (with all its symmetry and right angles) is about a mile long, they probably wouldn't have our concept of space, either.

And funny how NASA spends all its time excoriating Face theorists and the like but has no problem underwriting a film about it.

And, of course, the promo art for Prometheus also features a face, one remarkably similar to Jack Kirby's 1958 'Face on Mars'*. That story too featured a holographic history lesson about giants and planetary destruction, and it's a very good bet that Kubrick and Clarke read the comic while working on their film.

In light of all of these connections, I think there's a very good chance indeed that that "half a billion miles" wasn't some gross error, but was in fact a wink and a nod pertaining to Jupiter. I can't help but think of Robert Temple's offhand remark some time ago that the merpeople (or Nommo) of the Dogon religion were out there in hibernation around one of the gas giants.

Are there specific people to whom that "error" was a wink and a nod? There seem to be an awful lot of people in Hollywood who are interested in AAT, including many of the biggest names behind the camera. What do they know and how do they know it?

*For some reason I just put together the fact that the inker on the story (the artist who created the finished art from Kirby's pencil drawings) was Al Williamson, who was my Narrative Art teacher at The Joe Kubert School, which was my first class on Monday mornings. I remembered this after thinking back on Joe, who died this summer (as did the brother of the director of Prometheus).

† Cheers to Liz for the correction. I obviously had the Brotherhood of Saturn weighing heavily on my mind while writing this...


  1. great post again Chris.

    im frankly a little surprised that there was anything left worth taking from the Baghdad museum. i figured the nazis were pretty thorough when they went looking for artifacts, but they were also very active in the middle east so maybe they are not mutually exclusive. whatever happened to all those curios i wonder.

    i think the catastrophic cognitive dissonance seen between hollywood and the news media regards many topics is no accident, its super effective methodology.

  2. Just Read this post, and step outside to find my next door neighbor having a garage sale. I spied a pile of books and right on top was a book title "The Prometheus Deception"

    The more I look the more my eyes are opened.

  3. I was re-watching the original Stargate film last night (which somehow seems better now than when I first saw it 17 years ago), and I realized that it has practically the exact same story as the more recent Prometheus. Ancient extraterrestrial "gods" leaving an apparent invitation behind on Earth, only to want to destroy us all when we dare show up on their world. All that was missing was a couple of hot babes and an android. Except that Stargate tells the story better, is more straight-to-the-point, and even has more impressive set design.

    On an unrelated note, there was a "Dark Knight Rises"-style shooting a few nights ago up here in Quebec, which is unheard of in a place where automatic weapons simply do not exist. It was done at a theater named the Metropolis, on election night while the new Prime Minister of our province was giving her celebration speech at that very theater. The name of the Bane-type psycho who made two victims? His name was actually BAIN. Jesus.

  4. Excellent post. I totally agree that the computational error in Prometheus was calculated for a different purpose, as you say "a wink and nod pertaining to Jupiter."

    I noticed a similar "mistake" when you describe the ignition of Saturn in 2010: Odyssey Two. In the movie Jupiter ignites, not Saturn. Or were you talking about the novel? According to Jay Weidner Kubrick originally wanted to use Saturn as the site of the monolith, as it is in Clarke's novel.

    It is an interesting choice on a few levels. Jupiter, the Roman name of the Greek god Zeus, rules over the sign of Pisces, now associated with the Christian deity Hey-Zeus, Jesus. Jupiter has 66 moons, with Io, Callisto, Ganymede and Europa being its biggest and most famous -- all of which are mythological figures (often victims of his advances in the form of a shapeshifter) associated with Zeus. All of them except Io are believed to host internal oceans. . . and JUICE is an ESA project (Europa's project) that will study the possibility of terraforming these worlds.

    But Saturn, the Roman name of Kronus, is the home of the Titan moons, including Prometheus (an his twin brother Epimetheus). The moon Enceladus is the primary focus for life by the ringed giant and seems a better bet than Jupiter moons for study.

    As you know I keep talking about Saturn and the "return of the golden age" and can't help but wonder if that might happen if Saturn were to ignite/reignite and awaken its sleeping children? My money would be on Saturn's moons housing Temple's hibernating Nommos.

    And one last strange note. Last week a friend emailed a link to an Animal Planet documentary on Mermaids and theory of the evolution of an aquatic ape. I was surprised by how much I was drawn to this theory. Now this week Seattle has been abuzz about another mysterious "hum" that keeps people up at night and makes some sick. What is truly weird is that some are now attributing it to being the mating call of a bizarre "ugly" fish -- which a friend of mine renamed as "extraterrestrial" fish. LOL



  5. Ah...speaking of unusual space objects around our solar system's gas giants, consider: Iapetus

    The perfectly linear feature of the equatorial ridge is three miles high. When examined up more closely, it is actually three parallel ridge lines. It spans half the circumference of the moon. Iapetus also is strangely polygonal in the curvature of its surface. An object that large should be spherical due to force of gravity.

    In the Kubric's film version of 2001 the destination was to a moon of Jupiter. Yet in Arthur C. Clarke's novel, the destination is to a moon of Saturn - Iapetus (which Clarke spelled with a 'J').

    Is interesting that Clarke settled on what looks to be the strangest object in the solar system when examined up close by space probe.

  6. I just finished reading a book called
    "The Future and #relatednonsense"
    by Antony Funnell and in chapter 12
    "There's a Klingon on My Desk" he says
    " Dr Kevin Grazier is sitting in an open-plan office in the Jet Propulsion Laboratory at the US National Aeronautical Space Agency.
    He's a planetary scientist and he's working on the Cassini mission to Saturn...we've been talking for 20 minutes or so about the role science fiction plays in influencing and inspiring future scientific endeavour - real science that is.
    I've already gauged that he's clearly a big fan of sci-fi,a really,really big fan.But I can't help wondering how many of his colleagues are as well...
    "If I stood up right now,"he replies,"I'm at work,I'm at NASA.If I stood up and looked around the room,you would be astounded how many sci-fi posters and action figures are in direct line of sight,ha says."Personally,right now,I am looking at a model of a Klingon Bird of Prey."

    The rest of the chapter pretty much goes on to relate how sci-fi writers are a huge influence on the scientists and their ideas of the future today.
    It's a good little book.

  7. And speaking of Sci-fi films has anyone watched Andras Jones's syncing of "The Who's" Lifehouse songs to "The Matrix" movie?

    And if so,what did you think of it?

  8. Why do I feel more & more each day that NASA is a Hollywood front & that they have never been or sent anything in space(past the Van Allen belt). And more thoughts about the Moon being artificial. I know it's been brought up before but the feelings are growing stronger-

  9. "One thing you can be sure of with science is that we know now is almost certainly going to be rewritten later."

    Unless the scientists have their way.

    "people have dismissed Zechariah Sitchin's Nibiru theories- and the man was no astrophysicist- claiming the impossibility of life on such a far-flung planet. Plus, it doesn't even exist anyway, so there. But we keep hearing stories of something out there".

    If there IS something out there it could be populated by electromagnetic lifeforms or jinn (which I suspect could mean visitors from Venus etc really ARE Venusians) meaning by definition they might be taken for gods.

    Charlize THERON!

    You probably long ago spotted the similarity to John Carter's THERNS Christopher but even if you didn't I'd still put my money on your spin about the significance of her remark over 'bad astronomy' or a script continuity error.

  10. You never cease to dazzel and amaze. I've added some 'street art' (graffiti)photos to my gallery blog that I think you'd apprechiate.

  11. On the NASA front, did you see that the Space Shuttle Endeavor takes off from Cape Kennedy to fly to LAX on the 17th of this month....As it makes its rebirth flight across the South.

    Sorry, but you cued me into seeing "17's" everywhere...

  12. Hey Chris,

    Rock on! What surprises me about all these AAT movies is their internal consistency and similarity from film to film. There is a ton of strangeness connecting these movies that seems rather pointed.

    I can't help but recall TXF Season 1 episode 'Space'. We got the Face on Mars. Check. We got an elusive astral presence that seems to be able to traverse space and time. Check. We got Lieutenant Colonel Marcus Aurelius Belt, named after a Roman Emperor. Check. We've got plot-details concerning the destructive power of the sun - whereby the shuttle is in direct sunlight and risks immolation unless the crew can manually rotate away from its energies. Check. We got hinky details concerning the challenger mission (can help but think of your Kirby post regarding this).

    We've even got the Colonel's name being obviously resonant with the Aurora Borealis - and thus the Roman goddess of the dawn; Aurora (a name that is out in the public consciousness at the moment).

    There seems to be a strong Roman resonance here, linking in to your Jupiter connections, as well as a resonance to the strange properties of light - aurora, the sun. I've really only been thinking about this because my girlfriend is going to Iceland at the end of November to witness the Northern Lights.

    I'm not sure what the larger symbolic significance of 'Space' is in connection with the high-weirdness of our own Ten-Thirteen universe, but it feels to me like there's meaning here.


  13. CLK, there is definitely a precognitive element to your writings, and this is a fair example of a good one. By now, you are well aware of a Jupiter police motorcyclist being killed in Florida two days after you wrote this.

  14. Being in the flow. The AAT is key to understanding how our brains became so large as to hurt women in childbirth. The book "The Shining ones" will explain the DNA transfers from God's to our present condition. Tracy Tryman is wonderfull in her take on the Gods of old presenting a new face through time. So we in our gestation can evolve to what is real. To shine is divine. Dennis

  15. Chris,
    Can't get enough of your blog, especially posts like these. Could you PLEASE consider doing something on Antarctica & Hollow Earth/Atlantis soon? Really would love to hear your take currently. Thank you for all that you do.

  16. Twyman,Tracy the most astute re-searcher ( read her essays!) in the Northwest if not terra firma. Dennis.

  17. Raj ... I hear ya on the "Space" episode of The X-Files. Was just referring to that ep on the Secret Sun FB page. Great points.

  18. Defying Gravity was an overlooked series about a mission to Jupiter to answer a call from an alien life form. I quite enjoyed it

  19. Greetings, very interesting site you have here.

    Writing to inform you I mentioned this entry in a short article written today.

    It has to do with the Jupiter flash and other synchronic events on and around September 10. You may find the connection to Clarke's 2010 interesting, as Jupiter flashes were prominent in the RL events of that year, discussed in an article I wrote in anticipation of the full lunar eclipse of 2010's solsticial eclipse.


  20. almost forgot
    It seems that you are unaware of a "remote viewing" of the Face that preceded Kirby's by over a decade.

    project: model for Sculpture to be Seen from Mars (originally titled 'Monument to Man').
    artist: Isamu Noguchi.
    date: 1947.
    status: Unrealized project; model no longer extant.

    Unrealized proposal for a massive earthwork sculpture where the length of the nose would be one mile. This project draws upon his earlier proposal of 1933, Monument to the Plough, that featured a triangular pyramid of earth.

    The message of this proposal seems more ominous and apocalyptic, suggesting that in a hypothetical future aliens from elsewhere in the solar system would have this visible feature on the earth's surface to indicate that at one time the planet was inhabited by humans.

    this information used to be avialable at
    unfortunately no longer

  21. Why would you assume I'm unaware of Noguchi?

  22. well I probably haven't scratched the surface of your blog. the links i followed to other articles on the face discussed other possible remote viewings of the face, but don't seem to mention noguchi. just thought you'd probably mention it since it's possible, if unlikely, that kirby was influenced by the project in some way. anyway, great work

  23. Mission to Mars...oh man. I have always loved that film. MUCH better than Prometheus. I find i always want to know more about the Martian Creatrix. What i find interesting is that most people take one look and somehow come to the conclusion that the Martian is a She. No eyelashes, breasts, flowy hair--just a suggestion of female figure. Yet for some reason, She is a SHE.
    Which brings me to something i have turned over in my mind over the past year or so. It seems that Disney's three failures in sci-fi and Mars--Mission to Mars, Mars Needs Moms, and John Carter of Mars--all have some aspect of the Feminine Divine and take the old archetype of Mars as 'god of war' & chuck it right out the window. Mars Needs Moms obviously hints at a need for maternal saviours (the Mother Goddess), John Carter of Mars has many elements of the concept of Hieros Gamos and the Priestess-Queen (Dejah Thoris, Princess of Barsoom), and Mission to Mars is the ancient Creatrix Herself, Inanna, Ishtar, the Great Cosmic Mother (plus some interesting and quite striking visuals in Gary Sinise's flashback sequence, let's just say, literally and figuratively Isis Unveiled!)
    It also occurs to me that Mars has phonetic resonance with words such as marriage, martyr, Mari/Mary/Martha, merrow, mermaid, merry, marry, mirth, mirror...perhaps we have been getting Venus (harbinger of doom and destruction) and Mars (the healing and nurturing arms of the Mother of all humanity, or of all life) mixed up all these years...

  24. Great Minds think alike, it seems!
    For some time I have been publishing a multi-part, ongoing blog on this very subject.
    I've just discovered "the Europa Report" movie to the list of works in my "Prometheus" blog.