In 1994, a lone technician at NASA hears a mysterious radio signal coming from deep space. As he tries to track it, he discovers something amazing.
The signal is moving. Faster than a planet or a stellar object. It's also getting closer. Then, he finds the source of this mysterious signal. A comet! NASA however, decides to keep this a secret until they can investigate further.
Working with other space agencies, they propose and design a probe to catch up to the comet and investigate using a small lander. Eight years later, they launch the probe but still keep its real mission secret.
What mysteries will they uncover? What answers will they find? Sounds almost too cool to really happen, right?
But wait....what's this? (Personally, I think the film itself is pretty cool...)
Too bad the other part didn't happen, right? Because, that would have been cool. I mean a comet emitting radio bursts? How cool would that be if it were real?
Surprise....it is. Evidently, the whole thing (except the part about the lone technician) happened pretty much the way I described it. NASA appears to have known about the radio emissions for twenty years. The ESA just confirmed it with the eerie recording in the link above.
Truth really is stranger than fiction. Now, a lot of speculation has cropped up about what this all means. Some folks claim to have seen a radio tower on the surface and a flying saucer flying above it in one of the images released by the ESA. I took a look at the picture they are using as a source, and while I can honestly say that there is a formation that bears a resemblance to a radio tower, I can't say that it actually is. It looks like a rock formation to me, but I'm also not an image analyst. The other part of the image does look like something circular and white is casting a shadow on the surface while not appearing to actually connect to its shadow. Is it a flying saucer? No idea. Not gonna even try to guess on that one. (Having a hard time finding what I'm talking about? The saucer shaped thing is easier to find, it's on the upper globule, in the big depression on the right. The tower like structures are almost due south of it in the image, outlined against the black of space behind it.)
All of this happened while we weren't looking. The Rosetta Mission has been in space for 12 years. NASA evidently heard the radio signal 20 years ago. And we just found out about it yesterday, right? No, word about this has been wandering around since September 29th, via an email from an anonymous whistle-blower at the ESA. No one believed them...one writer even constructed a well-put together arguments against the very possibility of this happening. Comets can't emit radio signals! Pshaw! Balderdash! Such a thing couldn't happen...until it did.
In the end, does this mean we're going to meet aliens before the end of the year? Probably not. If there is intelligent life in the universe, I think it hasn't contacted us yet because it hasn't' found enough intelligent life on this planet to justify the risk of letting humans off the planet. More than likely, this is a cool magnetic thing that will teach us more about comets. Maybe we'll find some amino acids that help explain how life on Earth began. Baby steps. It's a big universe, and we need to stop shooting each other over stupid shit before anyone is going to let us eat at the big kids table.