Massive Mayan Metropolis Confirmed
The idea that ancient Maya civilization in Central America was just a series of primitive jungle villages with pyramids has now been completely debunked. New jungle-penetrating imagery is revealing the existence on a massive scale of the ancient lowland culture of Guatemala, putting to rest, hopefully, once and for all, the notion of small-scale primitive development.
Using the latest technical means, jungle-penetrating LiDAR (light detection and ranging), 18 scholars from the U.S., Europe, and Guatemala have now pieced together ground maps showing, amazingly, over sixty-thousand once-buried structures, including isolated houses, large palaces, ceremonial centers, and pyramids over a wide areas. Clearly revealed is a great society of millions with previously unsuspected sophistication. The findings are reported in the journal Science. At a time when every day seems to bring startling new revelations about ancient advancement, the Central American story is now one of the best documented.
For details on recent amazing discoveries at Teotihuacan in Mexico, that could shed new light on advanced civilization from thousands of years ago, see Jonathon Perrin’s article on page 42 of this issue.
CAPTION: Jungle penetrating LiDAR imagery reveals one area of congested ruins in an immense city.
‘Oumuamua’ Mystery Still Unsolved
Oumuamua, the mysterious cigar-shaped interstellar 800-by-100-by-100-foot object, which, late in 2017, sped though the solar system, raised many questions about its nature and origins, but scientists are still unable to tell us what it was. They are prepared, however, to say what it probably was not. It was not an asteroid, and it was not a comet. It was, in other words, like nothing we have ever seen before.
After first being spotted by the Pan-STARRS telescope in Hawaii, the early thinking was that the thing was an asteroid, essentially just a dry rock or chip, perhaps from a destroyed planet; but, within a few months astronomers came to the conclusion it was probably a comet, an icy body, originating in the outer precincts of some distant planetary system. According to one study Oumuamua was not being pulled by the sun’s gravity. Indeed it was being slightly accelerated by some unseen force. This was thought to be evidence of outgassing creating thrust, which suggested a comet. Now, however, a new study from astronomers at Cornell University has ruled out the comet theory as well. If it was composed, at least partially, of ice, it would not have survived its close passage to the sun, but it did.
And there were other odd things about Oumuamua: its rotation, for instance. Most such elongated objects spin about their long axis like a well-thrown football, but Oumuamua tumbles end over end. Confused, the experts complain that they were not able to collect enough data to do a proper study, so the questions remain, though some hope they may get a better understanding if they can just figure out where Oumuamua came from. But it told no tales.
CAPTION: NASA art depicts Oumuamua.
NASA Advised to Spend More Time Looking for ET
It may seem like a no-brainer, but NASA is being encouraged to get more serious about the search for extraterrestrial life. A new congressionally mandated report from the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine (NASEM) says every NASA space-bound mission should be searching for ET.
In October, 2018, the website LiveScience.com reported that the 17 top scientists who authored the report, say that the study of how life originated and how it might evolve elsewhere in the universe—should be part of every phase of all NASA missions destined for space, “from inception and conceptualization, to planning, to development, and to operations.”
Impressed by the recent discovery of thousands of exoplanets, the scientists think we need a new strategy to solve the puzzle of life’s origins. Others argue that NASA might begin such a campaign by consulting some of the unsung heroes that it has, at least publicly, so long ignored.
Emanuel Swedenborg, for instance, the eighteenth century Swedish polymath, who—along with Immanuel Kant—is credited with the nebular hypothesis of star formation (still the most widely accepted theory of star formation), believed that the universe is teeming with life and claimed in his public writings to have directly communicated with the inhabitants of other worlds. A confidante of kings and scholars, Swedenborg was immensely influential in the science of his time, and has, to some extent, remained so ever since—counting such celebrated thinkers as Carl Jung, Honore de Balzac, Helen Keller, and William Butler Yeats, among his many followers.
CAPTION: Artist’s concept of a planned mission to the Jupiter moon Europa to search for life.