Dec 21 2017

Report Released for Ongoing Monolith Study

Earlier this year the Monolith, a structure of unknown origin erected at some point during our long absence from the surface of Kerbin, “activated”, for lack of a better word, and released three humongous bursts of energy directed up into space. The details of this event, known since simply as The Incident, can be found in this report written after the initial chaos had quieted down. Since then, a massive investigation has been underway to ascertain what exactly happened that day and why. You can get caught up on all the dealings with the Monolith we’ve previously reported on using this collection. Today, the government finally released a report before the end of the year as promised, though we feel it also came rather quickly after an act of violence by religious radicals. Coincidence? Well, regardless the point is there’s a lot that remains unknown as the investigation is still not complete but new details at least are given about the mysterious crystal structures found in Umbarg and Kravass as well as what lies underneath the Monolith since excavation began a few months ago. Plus tons of speculation and lots more questions. Here are the highlights from the 150+ page report.

The Monolith is an alien artifact

The report felt it was important to remind everyone that agreement among the scientific community has always been that this is not something that was put on Kerbin by kerbals at any point during the time when we were living underground. We know it’s of alien origin and that is what has spurred us to seek exploration of the heavens, despite the calls of religious groups saying that doing so would only anger those that left the Monolith behind. So, nothing about this report is to prove aliens exist, but to simply understand what the Monolith is and what it did that fateful day in July.

Who or what did the Monolith contact?

Of all the reasons that were thought up for why the Monolith activated when it did, as we reached space, the only logical conclusion that could be reached by the researchers in charge of the investigation was that it sent out some sort of signal. The fact that three bursts occurred throughout the course of one planetary rotation is an obvious sign of both seeking to cover the entire sky and that the Monolith contained no means of pointing itself or waiting for the proper moment to dispatch the message. The current theory isn’t that the Monolith is incapable of directing a signal but that it wouldn’t know at any given time where the signal should be sent. This further leads to the possibility that the recipient isn’t located on a distant planet, because one would have to assume such an advanced race could always know where their planet could be found at any given time in the sky. Was it meant for a vessel wandering the cosmos? Perhaps the whole race lives in the void between stars. Speculation devolves from there pending further analysis.

Could the recipient of the message be trying to talk back?

If so, the hope is it’s done with a means gentler than what was used to send the message! We have no dedicated radio telescopes at this time, the first one to come into service would be Arekibo as part of the Deep Space Network in 2018 but it has a very big ear and will definitely be listening for any incoming broadcasts as soon as it is fully online. Unfortunately it doesn’t help that we have no idea where to look for signals, or that we don’t know if this is even a proper means of receiving any. Currently no other observation made by astronomers have revealed anything that could be interpreted as a response directed at us. (no mention is made in the report of Pilirani, which many Monolithic followers believed was a spaceship sent in prior to the activation of the Beacon to pickup the True Believers before the Annihilation descended upon the planet. Most likely because this is considered to be absurd).

What was the signal?

The report once again delves into speculation because no one knows exactly what the signal was comprised of. It could have been just a BLIP! on an alien receiver to let them know it happened or it could have been a complete data stream containing detailed information on the current situation here on Kerbin. Somehow. The unfortunate problem is no one can even begin to determine what it was thanks to all the instruments in the vicinity of Monolith at KSC being completely fried during the event. The researchers only have eyewitness reports of the event lasting around 10-15 seconds, which could have definitely sent a good deal of data, or it just took that long to power the signal to ensure it reached light years across space.

Has the signal been received?

We all know that nothing can travel faster than the speed of light, which means from the time of the signal to the time of this report it has traveled 0.45 light years across space, which is still not far enough to reach even the closest star in our home nebula. However what we also know is that what we know is probably not all there is to know about communicating through space. The report wonders if what we saw was simply the fallout or leakage of an extra-dimensional signal that could have reached its destination in months, weeks, hours or even instantaneously. Going back to the theory about a space-faring race, it could be that they have a ship stationed just outside our planetary system that would have already seen the message by now.

What is the Monolith made of? What’s inside?

Surprise – no one knows! Okay, not really a surprise, but a good deal of time and effort was put into trying to find out. once the object was classified as being completely inert all manner of means were attempted to poke a hole in it to look on the inside. All failed. Analysis of the surface was able to determine it was definitely a non-natural alloy but of exactly what remains unknown given that a sample can’t be extracted to study. Researchers are currently working on a more powerful laser system to attempt to cut through a small section that previous studies during the Monolith’s more active periods showed to have relatively low levels of emissions.

What is under the Monolith?

Once the investigation realized they couldn’t get in, they decided to see what was underneath and began the slow and careful process of excavation around the base of the structure, which immediately yielded the beginnings of a giant crystal formation extending deep into the ground. The crystal was quickly matched to the synthetic material found in the walls of Kravass and Umbarg. So far, all attention has been given to following the various veins of the structure that branch out below the Monolith, although if the upcoming laser penetration project next year fails the backup plan is to attempt to cut upwards through the crystal structure, which can be drilled into with some effort.

What are the crystals found in Umbarg and Kravass?

Although these can be sampled for closer study, so far all that has been revealed in the report is that they are able to store and channel massive amounts of energy. How they grow and exactly what they are made of remain an ongoing research project. Whether or not they are directly connected to the Monolith will take quite some time and effort to determine, but it would make sense given that this crystal is not natural to this planet and wouldn’t be expected to be found growing on its own. But why were Kravass and Umbarg affected and not Sheltered Rock and Ockr? Scientists won’t know for sure until they can discover how the crystal grows or an easier way of mapping its spread but it’s possible the veins simply did not extend that far by the time the Monolith activated.

Was The Incident a preemptive strike?

No evidence has been found to prove the arc lightning in the caverns and the destruction of electronic equipment at KSC was a deliberate act meant to paralyze our civilization and render us helpless to an attack. It’s understandable how many kerbs (including those that follow certain beliefs in the Monolithic religion) would like to think this way but really that’s another absurd notion. Even without being crippled as we were it’s doubtful we could have stood any chance of defending ourselves against such an advanced race. It is almost certain the point of the crystal structures was to power the Monolith, by perhaps tapping somehow into our magnetic field or even reaching down into the core of the planet. That the massive power surges arced through the empty cavern spaces simply as a function of the structure is within reason. Furthermore what has so far been excavated of the crystalline branches beneath the Monolith show no preference in heading towards any of the 4 populated caverns.

The KSA’s response to the report

While we await further revelations to be released from the ongoing investigation, nothing about The Incident or the details revealed thus far have changed our belief in attaining colonization of the stars. If anything is on its way to wipe us out, then we best be ready to move off this planet in order to have any chance of survival. If anything is on its way to see what we have become, then we best be prepared to show them how much we understand about the universe and our tiny place in it. If nothing ever shows up in response, then we best be prepared to go out in search of answers. One way or another we will be working hard over these next decades to be as ready as we can.