In the 1997 sci-fi movie Contact, Jodie Foster’s astronomer character was early-on, sentenced to ‘career Siberia’ for stubbornly searching out [intelligent] extraterrestrial life. Coming from an early-teen, orphaned childhood, she persists and finds the mysterious H.R. Hadden. The author, Carl Sagan, had modeled Hadden after Howard Hughes.
Wise to the ways of the world, Hadden reveals himself when he can actually help the young Foster, who naively thinks she’s still doing hunky-dory after her big discovery. It’s a metaphor for what could happen to Tucson, if they play their cards right.
Historically, Tucson had this distinctive, Cold War (1947-1989) economic success, a kind of early urban “natal imprinting”. But it’s since gone to their heads. UoAZ, once a central figure in all the Cold War $$$ that poured its way, is now fat, dumb, and lazy. Tucson’s nascent biz-community also fed well on the remnants. And local, high-growth Cold War startups like Burr-Brown are long gone. Today, all parties involved badly need a new gig for the 21st Century.
Yet, I suspect something big is about to come down the pike; just as the Hadden character said in the movie, “the game of the Millennium is about to begin.”
In the post Cold War era, the topic of ‘UFO disclosure’ started jumping through the gears, beginning in 1980. That year popular author Charles Berlitz reacquainted the public with the 1947 Roswell mystery in his best-seller, The Roswell Incident.
Its importance also prompted the infamous Cold War think tank, Rand Corp, to repeat a strident warning first published in 1968, and a similar one later from Herman Kahn’s Hudson Institute, that ‘official disclosure’ risks deep societal disruptions. A chaotic & bloody process they opined, making the tumultuous Protestant Reformation (1517-1650) look tame by comparison.
I’m with H.R. Hadden here….all that fraidy-cat, Cold War-beltway-bandit, social mumbo jumbo has been tossed out the window. Boys & girls, we’re on the cusp of something major about to come down; there are simply too many coincidental revelations of late.
Take for instance, the absolutely flawless execution (thank you, France) of the James Webb telescope; the on-going series of [officially revealed] US Navy & Pentagon UAV mysteries; and let’s not forget the increasing number of Super-Earth discoveries. NASA, on June 9th announced they would officially begin studying the phenomenon. And China’s giant radio-telescope oversight team just last week, officially said they had acquired credible signals of possible extraterrestrial origin, before quickly deleting the story.
Wait until the Webb telescope detects [verifiable] activity around one of those exoplanets; who do you think will tell the world? Not the politicos, military, or religionistas; it’ll be the world’s scientific community, just like in the movie.
If you’re going to let this extraterrestrial cat out of the bag, you have to do it top-down, and with believable lookouts. That means the world’s ENTIRE scientific community must buy-in to the new reality FIRST; ergo, no more academic censorship or punishments. For those folks, it means no more ‘career Siberias’ for wanting to study something that used to be called “fringe”. In my mind that’s already a done-deal. The Feds have made it so, sending a BIG signal to academia.
What’s at the bottom of all this? Answer: National security, and the realization we need lots of smart astro-geeks to study ET.
It’s a tremendous [renewed] opportunity for an increasingly sclerotic Tucson. Additionally, you know the US Space Force, like all the others, will want their own national lab; something big to shoot for. (Arizona needs to get hard left Ruben Gallegos off House Armed Services)
In the last analysis, it all harkens back to what Gene Roddenberry, creator of Star Trek, told Mike Wallace on 60 Minutes. Asked about his disappointment that man had never gone back to the Moon, Roddenberry replied, “You let ‘em discover that Klingon Empire and they’ll be back, PDQ.”
Sellers is a Southpark Republican living in incorporated Oro Valley; his background is federal technology commercialization