Sunday, August 10, 2014

Space as an Ocean Cumulative; Read Our First Draft of the E book let us have your comments:





 Humans had migrated over all of the continents of the earth and established civilizations great and small long before Columbus set sail. But migrations are quite different from voyages of discovery. Before Spain, Portugal, and Great Britain began to compete with each other over the exploration by sea of the  globe, other governments had, on occasion, attempted to sponsor such expeditions. It was the Europeans starting in the late 1400s who completed and repeated such voyages and planted colonies and forged alliances around the globe. For better or for worse that began the global village. So in this series of essays we ignore the question of the voyages of the Chinese admirals, the Viking voyages to America and look for the lessons, positive and negative that have come from the still on going "Colombian Exchange" , the movements of peoples, goods, plants, animals, and microbes about the planet from the places where they had evolved to where ever they could survive.

 Now just in case your are interested in exploring the Chinese claim for the discovery of America in 1421 here are some links:
 Part 1 of 2 the film "1421"

 Part 2 of 2 1421 China Discovers America

If you are inclined to read about it ,the movies are based on this book:

We don't agree or disagree with the historical speculation based on some solid looking evidence that the Chinese reached America before Columbus. The point is that when the Eunuch Admiral returned to China the new rulers didn't follow up.  The earlier Viking colonies disappeared and contact broke off.  It was the Europeans who explored, recorded, left colonies, and repeated voyages, and for better or worse gave us the lessons we will contemplate in this series.                                                                  

Here is a video look at America just before the arrival of Columbus:

 Let's resume our previous line of thought. Beginning with the first voyage of Columbus; people, objects, plants, animals, ideas, and microbes started  to cross the Atlantic with growing regularity. Other explorers like Vasco de Gama had rounded Africa and entered the Indian Ocean. They too were starting a two way exchange that would grow, and eventually other European merchant men would enter the Pacific. But for the sake of convenience and convention,  we'll refer to the whole ensuing traffic that evolved over time and continues to this day  as The  Colombian Exchange. 

For a look at some of the changes that began to appear after Columbus watch this free video series :
"500 Nations"


There are actually eight parts to the "500 Nation" series which takes the viewer from pre- Colombian times through initial contact and all the way to the 1890s at Wounded Knee. We are most interested in examining "first contact", what happened when the European seafarers met the Native Americans, and later others, such as the Polynesians. Take some time to view the videos or read up a bit on the world before the "European Recognizance". Let your mind wander and envision a world  so vast that great civilizations existed without any knowledge of each other. For Thousands of years the seas kept mankind apart and the relative isolation fostered the separate development of languages, laws, customs,  agriculture, whole civilizations. As long as the seas remained unconquered it seemed the "World" would always be vast, and rather disconnected. Then Prince Henry the Navigator put seamanship, navigation, and geography on a systematic, even scientific basis. The Spanish, the British, the Dutch all began to compete in exploration and in only about two hundred years the world became a much smaller place, the great barrier of the oceans became a highway and the world is still reeling from the effect.

 Yet even while we still stagger under the problems and opportunities created by the resulting "Colombian Exchange" that followed the" European Recognizance" we have already embarked upon a new ocean that connects a universe. It has been more than forty years since man first planted a flag and left foot prints on another planet . Even as we write this, robotic explorers are on Mars. We seek the return of more samples of outer planet soils to the Earth. We are already embarked on a second recognizance and we haven't absorbed the lessons from the first. We are already repeating some of the same initial mistakes. In the coming weeks a seafarer/scholar who has participated in the Colombian Exchange  as a trader, and combated some of its ill effects as a regulator, will provide to you a series of free standing essays looking at the similarities between space and the oceans, and between our present entry into space exploration and our past exploration of the planet by sea. "SPACE AS AN OCEAN" isn't a serialized book, its a discussion, like the Namazu School and "HOW FAR WILL THE DRAGON SWIM?" There is a comment block at the end of every blog posting, your thoughts are always appreciated.





 From the Book "PROTOCOLS" The Foreword (c) 2012 by American Admiralty Books

  Unlike the last great age of exploration the present age was not preceded by eons of migration. Migrations of men are radically different from explorations. Migrations are random and uncoordinated events. Though random, migrations can generate profound changes. On Earth man migrated from the tropics to rim of the Arctic and peopled every land mass on the planet except Antarctica  before the final age of terrestrial exploration began. Migrations can  both precede and follow great ages of exploration. Migrations are the result of cumulative individual decisions. Explorations are most often important undertakings of states. The present age of space exploration began as a competition between states and is already evolving into a mostly cooperative effort of multiple states. We are preparing to leave the planet. It will not be a migration, no random individual decisions to leave. It will be a cooperative international effort, organized in great detail and at great cost. Migration will probably follow at some distant point but we are going, of that there can be no doubt.

 Why are we so sure that we are going? Because the results of our first tentative explorations tell us that it will be worth the trip. Prior to 1969 men on the moon were a science fiction invention. Today more than 40 years after Neil Armstrong's historic  first step, we've had it, we've been there, we left behind junk cars to memorialize our passage! In the year since that historic landing we learned a few things about moon dust. Based on samples brought back from the moon we found a fairly large supply of nearly identical mineral formations in the northern United States. This allowed experimentation in quantity. We found that with sufficient technology we can extract many useful elements from moon dust and rock including water!  Long term basing on the moon is therefor possible. But why would we want to base anything in that forsaken landscape? Two other late twentieth century discoveries make it desirable.

 First, we now know for certain that other planets circle other suns.some as close as 38 light years from us and some we already know have atmospheres. Hubble telescope ( the telescope orbiting our planet in space) and other unmanned probes that we have sent out have confirmed that water, especially in the form of ice is much more common in the universe than previously suspected. We discovered non oxygen dependent life forms on this planet at the bottom of the sea in sulfuric vents and possible DNA evidence in rock from Mars. In 1969 we did not know for certain that other suns had planetary systems and the universe was popularly thought to most probably be a dust bin. We  will go on to fully explore our own solar system and beyond because we now know for a fact that our chances of discovering new and inhabitable real estate are in fact excellent. We also now know that the earth's viability as an inhabitable place is not indefinite. Even if we escape man caused environmental collapse, nuclear disaster, or catastrophic asteroid collisions, the sun has an expiration date and with it goes Earth. As  self aware species we will seek to survive. This fact drives both the now beginning age of exploration and waves of migration that will follow.

 As a society the Western World already seems prepared to accept that our outward search may reveal new potential trading partners, competitors, prior claimants  or even enemies. If life is now not only possible but probable in the universe out there, so is intelligent life with all that is implied by that term. We must be prepared before going, to deal with encounters with unique and quite different biota and perhaps even intelligent beings. What possible experience could the human race from which to draw lessons for such an eventuality? We suggest that we have in our collective history an age quite similar to the impending age with many parallel events from which we can draw lessons. Once, only a few hundred years ago, the shape of the world was unknown. Human and animal populations were separated by vast, seemingly  uncross-able oceans. Human societies were incredibly diverse and strange to each other. Creatures great and small from the far reaches of the planet seemed wondrously strange and alien. Into this unknown world would come the mariners of Western Europe. In their wake would come eventually the concept of the "Global Village", but first would come wars, pestilence, and extinctions , in unprecedented numbers. By studying the mistakes and successes of the great age of European maritime exploration we can decipher lessons of great utility in the age of space exploration. Now is the time do to do this for at the moment we are in a relatively long  pause before  the next human visit to a distant planet. But the pause will not hold. The time is short, the need vital, so let us begin.

(to be continued)





 From the Book "PROTOCOLS" (c) 2012 by American Admiralty Books


 Today, young adults have a very detailed vision of the coming age of faster than light space travel, exploration, trade and development via the televisions series related to the Star Trek franchise and movies going back as far as ET and Star Wars. While these visions are very fanciful, they are also incredibly detailed through the magic of cinematography. Undoubtedly these visions enliven the imaginations of countless future astronauts, physicists, astronomers, and taxpayers. There is no doubt that present and future generations have been and will  be reaching for this fanciful but detailed 
vision of the future and make something happen. (Note: Italian laboratories accelerated  micro waves to 30 times the speed of light, and an American lab accelerated light itself to 200 times its natural speed about a decade ago. So the "warp drive" of Star Trek  while not even close developmentally is none the less now theoretically possible.

Looking at the science fiction media today, one theme that comes through a vast body of work is the naval like organization and society to be found on "star ships".  This is not a surprise since we have only one model of society aboard a small vessel, engaged for prolonged periods in voyages of discovery. That model is from ships of oceanic exploration and is of necessity naval in character. The model while somewhat evolved over the centuries,served us well in the period of oceanic exploration known as the "European Recognisance"and every indication is that it will continue to serve us well as it evolves in space exploration. 

 The vision of the future offered by the Gene Rodenberrys of our time is the stuff that myth is made of. It is a filling in of the unknown details from imagination fueled with the possible and probable. Society engaged in such myth making long before the advent of the modern electronic media. Sometimes such myth took on the wide spread perception of truth. At least once in the period just before the great age of oceanic exploration such a myth helped drive reality. The myth itself influenced real events in very unexpected ways. It is worth a few minutes to examine this power of myth. We will not engage in an exhaustive study. Let us simply review a single myth from the age
of oceanic exploration and the actions of a single naval intelligence agent.


 Pedro de Covilhao was born into a world partly unknown. The known world of his time and culture had been at war for centuries before his birth. That known world was divided into two religious based  alliances, one Christian, and the other Muslim. For centuries these two loosely organized powers fought over the Holy Land. The Christian understanding of the world beyond their own borders was limited by partial Muslim blockage of their communications with Eastern powers broadly thought of as "India", and a vast, trackless, and as yet uncrossed ocean to their west. Hundreds of years before the birth of  Pedro de Covilhao the Christian world came to believe in a Christian kingdom in the eastern rear of the Muslim world anxious to link up with the western Christian coalition and retake the Holy Land. Belief in this kingdom lasted for generations. The West referred to the sovereign of this unknown kingdom as "Prester John". The belief in, and hope, represented by the myth of "Prester John , along with the desire for the riches of the East helped fuel the the search for the routes to "India". "India" in the time of Pedro  de Covilhao meant virtually everything beyond the Muslim World.  Mohammedan forces conquered the Holy land in 637 AD. They allowed the lucrative Christian pilgrimage trade to continue and Christian missionaries to pass through to "India", until the occupying forces of Caliph Hakim leveled the Church of the Holy Sepulcher in 1010 AD. This act predicated the launch of the first of the Crusades and Jerusalem would fall to Christian forces in 1099 AD.

 Jerusalem would periodically change hands as Europe attempted to expel the forces of Islam from the Mediterranean world. In 1145 a strange rumor would spring up concerning a Christian king of great military power living beyond the eastern borders of the Mohammedan Empire. This priest-king would come to be known as "Prester John". The myth of the priest -king, possibly the result of an Islamic disinformation operation, would have a profound effect on the course of the Christian Islamic conflicts and subsequent history. Great efforts would be made in attempting to make contact with him. Attention would be diverted from efforts at converting the Islamic rear, based on a belief that there was already a Christian power there. In the end the desire to make contact with the mythical priest-king would provide no small part of the incentive for the voyages sponsored by Henry the Navigator, though the original "Prester John" would of course be long since dead and buried, the Europeans believed in dynasties and presumed the realm continued. In the end only one Westerner, the Portuguese naval intelligence agent Pedro di Corvilhao , would ever stand before any priest- king  behind Muslim  borders centuries after 1145 AD.

 How the myth of the priest-king came about is a marvel of the power and errors associated with oral tradition, possibly nudged in particular directions by written disinformation which may have even been of Islamic origin. History now demonstrates that in the Islamic rear were basically pagan powers, some of which practiced a high level of religious tolerance. Mixed in with these pagan populations were both Nestorian Christians and Islamic converts. In the beginning of the 12th century a presumed Nestorian Christian Chieftain known as Yeliutashi reached considerable power 
as the leader of a tribe called the Kara-Kitai. In 1141 Yeliutashi defeated an Islamic Seljuk army near Samarkand, Turkestan. These facts filtered and confused by distance, time, and perhaps Islamic "spin control" formed the factual basis for the evolution of the myth of  "Prester John."' Yeliutashi died in 1144 AD and his empire faded almost immediately after his demise. The Mohammedans had no reason to fear a second front from any real "Prester John". Yet  religious tolerance in their rear, coupled with some sincere invitations to Christian missionaries by Moguls and others opened the possibility of a large scale conversion and the creation of an actual enemy. The best course of Islamic action, given their informational superiority about conditions in their rear may well have been a disinformation campaign.  Send the Christians searching for a nonexistent "Prester John" and distract them from efforts at creating one.

 Largely ignored by the Islamic powers , a Christian king did exist in the rear, and Pedro de Corvilhao would one day find him. The first documentary evidence of a "Prester John" or an islamic disinformation forgery, arrived in 1145 AD. A Syrian Christian Bishop informed one Otto Fresing, a historian in the service of the Pope, of a Nestorian King who had defeated the Meades and the Persians. It was believed that the King intended to lend his army to the support of the Christians at Jerusalem. Supposedly this King encountered difficulties in crossing the Tigris and was forced home where he intended to regroup and again march on Jerusalem. The "News" electrified the leaders of Europe, but the ongoing crusade failed and no help came from the East. Then in 1165 letters were received by the Emperor Fredrick Barbarossa, the Emperor Manuel Comnenus of Constantinople, and the Pope. The sender of these letters described himself as "Johannes Presbyter...."/

 The letters mostly introduced "Prester John' and described his Christian kingdom. The Pope dispatched  an emissary with a responding letter in 1177 AD but the emissary was never heard from again.

 In 1221 the Bishop of Acre wrote to the Pope. In his letter he described a "King David" "by the people called  Prester John". Supposedly this "Prester John was about 15 days march from Antioch and intended to take Jerusalem. In fact there was a King David. He was a Georgian and defeated a large Islamic army, but he was not on the march and may have been dead by the time the West learned of him.

 The Mohammedans had borders and contacts with the Europeans and so undoubtedly had agents in the European camps and capitals. They had the means , the motive, and greatly benefited from the disinformation concerning "Prester John". Is it such a stretch of the imagination to consider that the Mohammedans themselves were the source of the "proofs" (letters and detailed reports about) "Prester John". If the myth of "Prester John" was created by Islamic informational warriors, their side benefited in the short run. But the myth of "Prester John" may have partly driven another force of history that  would ultimately shift the locus of power to the North Atlantic nations.

Enter, Henry the Navigator. By 1415 Christian and Islamic forces were still engaged in parts of the Mediterranean world. There were rumors and widespread belief in a "Prester John"(the 5th no less). The "modern age" with it's shift of the locus of power to the North Atlantic regions and away from the Mediterranean Basin began in 1415 when the Portuguese took Ceuta on the coast of North Africa opposite Gibraltar. With Ceurta secure the Portuguese began the great period of exploration that would ultimately lead to the colonization of the New World. This era, however, began not with a push out into the Atlantic but with a southward push into Africa. South of the Sahara, the 15th century kings of Portugal hoped to find some vitally important objectives; gold,silks, spices, and a communications link to "Prester John".

 In 1787 Covilhao's monarch John II of Portugal would make a full court press for "India". First he would dispatch Covilhao on a secret mission to reconnoiter "Indian" as well as Muslim ports, and later make contact with "Prester John". That same year he would dispatch Bartolomeu Diaz with three ships to circumnavigate Africa.

 Pedro de Covilhao spoke fluent Spanish and Arabic and had undertaken secret missions for his King previously to Morocco before he received his most important and final orders from the sovereign of Portugal. On May 7, 1487 he would embark on a naval intelligence gathering operation from which he would never return to his native Portugal. In the process he would see much of the world beyond the borders of Christendom, provide valuable naval intelligence to his sovereign, and live out the rest of his life in the court of a king the Christian world thought of as the legendary "Prester John".

Covilhao was forty when the King dispatched him and a companion, Alfonso de Paiva , another agent fluent in Arabic on a mission to "India" and Africa . Their tasking was to visit all important ports in Arabia, East Africa, and with making contact with the "priest King', "Prester John".

 On May 7, 1487 Covilhao received his credentials from his sovereign and a purse of 400 cruzados. (By 1457 the Cruzado was a gold coin, previously it had been silver. The probable value of Covilhao's purse was about $680,000 in today's dollars , possibly much more.) When Covilhao and Paviva reached Lisbon they exchanged their purse for a letter of credit from the Italian banker Marchioni. By horseback they traveled to Valencia and then to Barcelona. At Barcelona they embarked in a ship for Naples. from Naples they embarked in another ship for Rhodes. In Rhodes they stayed with two Portuguese Hospitallers. The Hospitallers advised them to continue their journey disguised as merchants. As part of his merchant cover Covilhao bought a shipment of honey and crossed over to Alexandria with it. Once in Alexandria both Covilhao and  Paiva became seriously ill. While they were ill the honey shipment disappeared and they were told that the Sultan's Chamberlain had confiscated the shipment because he believed they would not recover. Covilhao persuaded the Chamberlain to pay a reasonable price for the honey. With the money Covilhao purchased other trade goods and pressed on to Cairo. In Cairo Covilhao courted the company of other merchants and eventually made friends with a pair of Moroccans bound for :India" and sailed from Egypt in their company. The first port they reached was Tor on the Sanai Peninsula. From there they went to Aden where  Paiva was to embark for Abyssinia on his own to attempt contact with "Prester John". Meanwhile Covilhao still with the Moroccans, joined a pilgrim ship returning from Mecca and sailed with the south west monsoon across the Indian Ocean to Cannanore on the Malabar Coast of India. In Cannanore he was told that nearby Calicut was the richest port in all of India and that the shipping there was controlled by Islamic merchants. Covilhao proceeded to Calicut where he observed that ships arrived in August and September with European goods, and left in Winter on the north east monsoon with cinnamon, cloves, spices, silks, porcelain, pearls, and precious stones. From Calicut, Covilhao traveled north to Goa and then crossed over to Africa visiting many ports. While in Africa he became convinced that Africa could be circumnavigated and near the end of 1490 Covilhao returned to Cario where he was supposed to meet Pavia.

 Instead he was met by a messenger of the King. Pavia had died before completing his mission of contact with the "Priest King" and Covilhao was to complete Pavia's mission. Covilhao was to find "Prester John" in Sub-Saharan Africa in the Kingdom of Abyssinia . Covilhao wrote a dispatch to his sovereign describing his travels and observations and sent this back via one of the messengers. The other messenger was a rabbi, Abraham of Beja. Before contacting the priest king Covilhao was to take Rabbi Abraham to Ormuz. In his dispatch Covilhao described ports of India, Arabia, and Africa that he had visited. He described "Moon Island"(Madagascar) and most probably expressed his belief that Africa could be circumnavigated.

 Covilhao escorted Rabbi Abraham to Ormuz and then, contrary to his sovereign instructions, took ship for Jidda across the Red Sea. From Jidda he accompanied some pilgrims to Mecca where he wanted to see the sacred Kaaba, the black stone believed to have fallen from heaven long before the arrival of prophet. After Mecca he proceeded north to the monastery of St. Catherine in the Sinai. Covilhao's delays in proceeding to Abyssinia seemed almost a premonition of his fate at the hands of the "priest -king".

 Finally in 1493 Covilhao arrived at the court of the Negus in Abyssinia. While treated well, Covilhao was detained against his will and prevented from sending any dispatches to Lisbon. The legendary "priest king"so long sought by the Christian alliance turned out to be the sovereign of a poor and virtually powerless kingdom. It was the Negus who needed and sought an alliance with the West, precisely because of the weakness of his position. The West was interested for two reasons, the "priest-king's" position in the rear of the Muslim world and his legendary strength. If his weakness became known, the West would quickly lose interest. Covilhao would be detained for life in a sort of guilded cage. A portuguese ambassador would finally visit him in 1520 and reported that Covilhao was still alive, married to an Ethiopian woman, held in high esteem with the court of the Negus. Covilhao died in Abyssinia, one of the earliest documented cases of a naval intelligence agent who never came in from the cold. Even if the West had learned of the weakness of "Prester John"in 1493 interest in the route to "India" around Africa was about to take second place in Western navigational interests.

 On March 4, 1493 Christopher Columbus arrived in Restello, Lisbon's outer harbor. The attention of Europe would turn westward across the Atlantic. The quest for "India"and Christian / Muslim conflicts took a back burner to the exploitation and development of the "New World". Covilhao's  astounding mission with its potential for changing the balance of power , would be relegated to a curiosity of history. Undertaken a few years earlier and Covilhao might have been one of the few naval spies who changed history. 

 And so we see the tremendous effect on reality that widely held myth , particularly myth with some remote basis in truth can have on history. The new physics and astrophysics tells us that the universe and physical laws are more complex than either the Newtonian clockwork universe, or relativism. possibilities appear infinite. In the mind of our youth the "warp drive" (space propulsion systems capable of breaking the light barrier) are just around the corner, a myth with some basis in truth. In the mind of our youth the universe has in relative abundance water, oxygen, heat, and planets do circle distant stars; all of this we now know to be true. Some of these children will become heads of state and government, and others officers. One day one or more of these children will send another out to learn just how close to myth is the reality. The children have no obsolete views of the universe as a clockwork or a dustbin to unlearn. Aided by cinematic vision, a compelling myth has formed and is widely held. Driven in part by the power of this myth, like the searchers for "Prester John" the Children will reach for the stars. The lessons from the era of 1415 through 1542 if well studied could help them avoid repeating the mistakes of the last era of great exploration. There are of course other reasons for this coming exploration. But the power of the myth fuels those unschooled in physics and astrophysics, or disinclined to read volumes of technical data. The myth of the resource filled and lively universe is clear and detailed as Hollywood special effects could possibly make it. More over, as was the case several times with the myth of Prester John, facts keep coming in supporting the myth. This myth isn't just something for the scientifically educated. It is firmly planted in the minds of future tax payers all over the world. This generational myth will propel action. Mankind is space bound.


The Caliphate: Muhammad as prophet could not be succeeded. However, the continuity of Islam as a political-social community required succession to his civil and military functions. Upon the prophet's death his father in law was proclaimed "Khalifa Rasul Allah"(Successor of the Apostle of God). As Islam spread and eventually divided into different schools and sects the Caliphate expanded to incorporate regional Caliphs. Dynastic succession introduced stability into the Caliphate during the Umayyard period (661-750 AD). THE PERSIAN GULF STATES A GENERAL STUDY , John Hopkins University Pres. See Also ARABS, ISLAM and the ARAB CALIPHATE by E.A.Beiyaeu.

* For brief biographies and explanations of secular and religious titles see: NEW CATHOLIC ENCYCLOPEDIA  

* "SELJUK refers to the Rulers of Persia circa 1141

"NESTORIAN  DOCTRINE became the official teaching of the Persian Christian Church whose missionary activities over a number of centuries were the rival of Rome itself.-New Catholic Encyclopedia

*"Chief of the Kari Kitai or more properly the Kahan of the Kara-Khytay defeated the Seljuk King of Persia in 1141 see p. 92 THE QUEST FOR INDIA by Bjorn Lanstrom and the NEW CATHOLIC ENCYCLOPEDIA

* For time lines, biographies, etc. see: THE EMPIRE OF THE ARABS by Lt.Gen.Sir John Glubb, HISTORY OF THE ARABS by Philip K. Hiti, and THE ATLAS OF THE ARAB WORLD by Rafie Boustand and Philippe Farques






 From the Book "PROTOCOLS" (c) 2012 by American Admiralty Books




"Proceedings: Do you think we will live to see a Man to Mars mission?

Capt. Readdy: Without question. If we really wanted to throw money at the problem , I think we could have gone ten years ago. It's no longer a question of technology. At this point , I think we need to focus on advances in propulsion technology rather than spending tens of billions of dollars on a mission that will take the better part of a year to get there and  almost the same amount of time to come back. Just as the jet engine eclipsed the propeller in World War II and the rocket engine was the enabling technology for our initial exploration of space , there is going to be another advance in propulsion technology. The science fiction writers , I'm sure, already know what it is. Whatever it is, it will open exploration beyond the Moon."
Naval Institute PROCEEDINGS, Feb. 1997: February 1997; page 55 "Building the Future Now", an interview with Capt. William F. Readdy, USNR; Commander of space Shuttle Mission STS-79


We are in a long pause in manned interplanetary exploration, though we have a robot probe on the surface of Mars as we write these lines. We have made in space the equivalent of short coastal voyages, near earth orbital missions routine. We have made some interplanetary voyages to our nearest celestial neighbor, the moon. These missions developed the technology for the launch, repair, and improvement of orbital telescopes like Hubble that allow us to peer to the far reaches of the visible universe. In so peering we have learned that it is a far more vast place than ever before imagined and that planets , with atmospheres and water, are probably much more abundant than once thought only a few years ago. We are standing on the beach and looking out across that vast sea of outer space, with ever increasing knowledge of the far shore coming to us through our space telescopes and unmanned probes. But our long boats can't make the crossing. We await the development of the Caravel.

 The long boat was known by many names and found in many cultures. The term as used here does not describe only the traditional and well known boat of Viking fame. The long boat refers to a variety of early vessels that were characterized by a single hull, propulsion by oar or paddle, and if sails were carried, these usually consisted of a single square sail. Such vessels made some incredible voyages. Indeed it is widely accepted that Vikings visited North America in their long boats hundreds of years before Columbus. The long boat underwent a long period of refinement under the hands of many nations. Once wealth began to move on the seas with any regularity distinct differences arose between 
long boats used for commerce and those used to protect or raid commerce, the first warships. An early version of the long boat purposely built for warfare was the Galley.
A Trireme among largest and most complex of the Galleys, the long boat at it a high point of development

  One example of this type of vessel found in the early Mediterranean was the Trireme, which by the fifth century had become the capital ship of the Mediterranean powers. Some were as much as 100 feet long and carried as many as 160 oarsmen. These were real ships, capable of real voyages, and quite impressive in their day. But the long boat at the height of its development was inadequate for repeated trans Atlantic or Pacific crossings and returns.  The long boat , in all of it's variations , was a coast wise vessel. One would occasionally survive a remarkable open water voyage, but no sailor in his right had any inclination to repeat such voyages. With its square sail and shallow keel, and primitive steering sweep  which precedes the true rudder, it could only sail in the most favorable of winds. With it's dependence on oars , and thus human muscle power, the caloric needs of the crew put severe limits on it's range. It's limited cargo capacity restricted it's its' commercial utility. Its' relatively low free board and open construction made it vulnerable to heavy seas. The advent of routine transoceanic voyages had to wait the development of a more suitable craft. That craft would be a long time in arriving on scene and would develop from several different sources, ultimately to be perfected by most a unlikely source. The vessel that would open the seas to systematic exploration and commercial usage would be the caravel. 

 The first development that would lead to the evolution of the Caravel would be the lanteen sail. The lanteen sail , is a triangular shaped device similar in appearance to the sail of the popular small recreational sailboat known as the "SUNFISH". The lanteen sail reached its' greatest utility once wedded to a subsurface hull feature such as the extended keel, dagger board, or lee board. the lanteen sail coupled with these submerged hull features allowed a vessel to "tack"before the wind.


To Tack is to sail at an angle across the wind., allowing a vessel to make actual progress in an upwind direction via zig zag pattern. The lanteen sail also allowed a vessel to sail off at a wide variety of angles from the wind without the necessity to tack. The first vessels to exhibit those features were the Arabian Dhows. But the Arabian Dhows were not destined to explore the great seas, some additional refinements were still needed. They would come from an unexpected quarter.





 From the Book "PROTOCOLS" (c) 2012 by American Admiralty Books


  It has been over forty years since man first walked on the moon. Within thirty years of the Wright Brothers flight commercial air service for passengers and freight was readily available and growing into a major industry. Why then the apparent slowing of progress in manned exploration of space and the development of a commercial space transport industry? If we more closely examine aviation history we find little reason for concern. More over, if  we think of space as an ocean there is ample precedent and logic to what appears to be an otherwise unnecessarily long pause in developments relative to manned interplanetary flight.

 First lets look at heavier than air aviation history. Here is a Chronology of some of the main events.

1. The first heavier than air flying machines to lift off the surface of the earth were kites invented by the Chinese between 400 and 300 B.C.. These and the flight of birds would be the subject of study  for thousands of years before the study of aerodynamics would be formalized. The study of heavier than air flight would be studied from the flight of the Chinese kites continuously but in an uncoordinated fashion throughout this time frame. Study would be hampered by a lack of the printing press, difficult communications, in short, the inability to build a recoverable and organized body of literature on the subject that succeeding generations could build on.

2. Leonardo da Vinci scientifically studied the flight of birds and sketched various flying machines. This was the start of a recognized body of literature on flight. This would occur about 1500 A.D. or about 1800 to 1900 years  after the lift off of the first kites.

3. Most heavier than air manned flight experiments after daVinci's were also man powered. In 1680 Italian mathematician Giavonni Borelli proved that human muscles were too weak to support powered flight. (At least with the technology and materials of the day. Recently there have been several human powered flights using specially geared bicycle mechanisms to drive a propeller on super light weight aircraft with very low stall speeds and giant wing span to fuselage ratios) .

4. British inventor sir George Cayley built and flew model gliders and organized the science of aerodynamics in 1804. His work was most useful to the Wright Brothers.

5. German, Otto Lilienthal devised a system to measure lift produced by experimental wings and made the first successful manned glider flights in 1891 through 1896. His work was also most useful to the wright Brothers.

5. In 1903 Orville and Wilber Wright , made the first heavier than air powered flight. This would be about 400 years after da Vinci's formal studies and 99 years after the formal organization of aerodynamics into a recognizable science. sixty six years later , Neil Armstrong walked on the moon.

 The likely progress of any science or technological development in the age of the Internet is bound to be much faster than the 1800 year gap between kites and da Vinci's drawings. Still, we should not be surprised to wait 400 years or more for the kind of game changing, break through technological development that the wright flyer or space shuttle represent.

File:Wright flyer model.jpg
Model of a Wright Flyer at the Smithsonian  Air and Space Museum

Link to a YouTube video of a filmed early Wright Brothers flight.

On the subject of going to mars:
 "If we really wanted to throw money at the problem, I think we could have gone ten years ago. It's no longer a question of technology. At thi spoint , I think we need to focus on advances in propulsion technology......
     Capt. William Readdy, USNR , Commander of Shuttle Mission STS-79
                                           p. 55 of the USNI PROCEEDINGS, February 1997.

Capt. Readdy and like minded thinkers look to a propulsion break through because of the vast distances that must be covered to carry manned space flight and exploration beyond the moon. At present space craft speeds, Mars, a close in planet, is at least nine months away. Much too far for a quick raise the flag and grab a soil sample mission. When we go, we going to stay a while and eventually start a long term base. The Wright Brothers powered flight with a technology that was not invented with flight in mind, the internal combustion engine. Without the internal combustion engine they would have simply been glider builders. Capt. Readdy has simply noted that to conquer the great distances that must be traversed to continue manned exploration, of even our own solar system, much less the galaxy beyond, a new propulsion system is needed. It is this vast distance that makes the manned exploration of space so like our exploration of the seas. We may be awaiting a development from an unrelated technology before we can move forward beyond our nearest solar system neighbors. When we compare the history of ocean exploration to space exploration not only do we get a closer parallel than a comparison with aviation history, we get a much longer time frame.

 Maritime history, like  aviation history, is in fact thousands of years old. But unlike aviation, developments in marine technology did not suffer as much from a lack of authoritative literature. New technologies put to sea, were seen in diverse places and quickly copied and improved upon when real improvements appeared. Here the only cultural drag was the natural conservatism of sailors.  The eventual vehicle of global, ocean spanning voyages of exploration was the humble but wind and sea efficient caravel, eventually used by Columbus. It took about five thousand years for the caravel, a break through technology to evolve out of the longboat. The longboat evolved through many forms from the dugout canoe to the galley and trireme. But at its' most seaworthy point of development it was grossly inadequate for an Atlantic or Pacific crossing. Such crossings had to await a new propulsion system vastly improved over oars and a square sail. The needed new system came in the form of lanteen sail and a new hull form more sea kindly than the traditional Arabian dhow. The first ship type to fill the requirements was the Portuguese caravel. While the Space shuttle was called the "caravel of space" in its heyday by some writers, I believe it is but another longboat. Compared to other man to space lift systems it was relatively cheap and efficient., but it can not go the distance like the sturdy little caravel.

 I suggest that we are in a long pause in interplanetary exploration We have made the equivalent of short coastal voyages, near earth orbital missions routine. We have even made some interplanetary voyages to our nearest celestial neighbor, the moon. The knowledge gained allowed us to launch and operate unmanned probes to peer into much more distant parts og the universe and even visit other planets of our solar system. In so peering we have discerned that it is far more vast a place than ever before imagined and that planets, with atmospheres and water are probably more abundant than once thought only a few years ago. We are standing on the beach and looking out across that vast sea of outer space, with ever increasing knowledge of the far shore coming to us. But our longboats can't make the crossing. We await the development of the caravel.

And the space "Caravel" awaits the development of a new calculus for its' would be ship wrights. Before newton could give us the clock work like physics that guided our voyages to the moon he first had to invent the calculus. Physics has progressed far beyond the Newtonian view of the universe, and even that of Einstein, the real possibility of faster than light travel is hinted at, but we lack the calculus to describe it. How much money do we put in pure mathematical research as opposed to applied physics? Yet without the calculus there would be little physics. Without the advanced calculus that we need there will be no "warp drive". Newton provided us with enough theoretical physics to get us to the moon and back. But Newton and  Einstein together can't take us where we need to go.  Newton's calculus runs out of steam around the fuzzy edges of Einstein's universe, the realm of "complexity" where we seem to be doing little more than collecting and describing elements of reality that have become observable but don't fit into order described by Newton and Einstein.

Albert Einstein
And the space "caravel" awaits the development of a new calculus. Before Newton could give us the clockwork like physics that guided our efforts to the moon and back he first had to create his calculus. Physics has progressed far beyond the Newtonian view of the universe to the far and fuzzy edges of the relative universe of Albert Einstein. At that far edge which some call "complexity" and others  "Chaos" the real possibility, indeed probability of faster than light travel is hinted at, but we lack the calculus to describe it. How much money do we put into pure mathematical research as opposed to applied physics? Yet without the calculus , there will be no applied physics at the far and fuzzy edges of relativity we need to be exploring now. Should we be surprised than at the long pause we seem to find ourselves in? The history of ocean exploration informs us that we should expect progress in "fits and starts".  The mere sixty six year span between Kitty Hawk and the Apollo flights was one of those "fits" , a period of furious and intense technological progress fueled by two hot and one "cold" global wars. It is instructive to note that Kitty Hawk came at the end of nearly a century of aeronautical study, experimentation, and publication. But now we encounter a vast distance to be crossed for which we have few tools or theories, a new start. New studies are required. We await the the calculus that will lead to the caravel. We don't know if we will have to wait fifteen, fifty, or even five hundred years. There was nearly a century between the organization of aerodynamics and powered flight. There was at least a century or two between the first appearance of the lanteen sail and the deployment of Portugal's caravels. So while we await the arrival of the calculus and then the caravel, what should be our next move? I suggest that we continue to improve the "longboat", our earth orbit operational and transport capability.

 Building a greatly improved space shuttle and perhaps some cheap "pick up truck" winged space vehicles and improved capsules  makes sense. Making access to near space cheaper and more routine
is important, if we are to build the ultimate "longboat" that may takes to Mars, or the "caravel" for travel beyond our solar system, we must build them in space. Since we can not in the foreseeable future make a quantum leap in speed, we must improve habitability for long voyages. This requires size, genuine seagoing ship type size, and that requires construction in space from components no larger than the old space shuttle, or sky lab. 

 Once we have big comfortable long boats assembled there is no reason not to push off for the far but visible shore, the Moon and Mars at the least. There is a lot that is of intense interest to visit within a one year journey from the earth at present rocket speeds.Our past history as seafarers tells us that intrepid and motivated crews can and will endure voyages of discovery lasting two years or more. So the next logical steps may be simply a better shuttle, a space station big enough to serve as space port and ship yard, and a humble little space tug to help pull all the component parts together.

No doubt we can go to Mars now if we will foot the bill. But we intend to go to stay, which is the only way to go that makes sense, we have a fleet to build. That means the next decade or more of manned space flight will continue to be in Earth manned earth orbit with the probable exception of a Chinese version of an updated Apollo program. If we are spending the time building the very best "longboats" we can, this is not to be lamented. Nothing else can happen until we find the calculus that  lets us build the caravel.  After the "caravel" voyages will still be long and dangerous. We need experience in shipboard organization, and voyage management, and space construction. Once the "caravel" is available it would be handy to have a good idea where to go, so unmanned exploratory missions should continue. If the decades ahead in space look like the decades just past since the start of the shuttle and international space station programs , there is nothing wrong with this picture if we view space as an ocean and look at our history of global exploration by sea. Even if we find the calculus in our life times we won't be able to immediately build the "caravel". Meanwhile we need to get on with space-faring in our solar system in order to have the infrastructure and personnel ready to operate the caravel when it comes.

 Before the European powers launched out to accidentally discover the New World, they had already created navigation charts for as much of Europe and Africa as they could and mapped as much of Asia as possible given that they were mostly cut off from Asia by hostile forces between Europe and Asia. Such efforts are mundane, not as exciting as a Moon landing. But, we are doing what we need to do with the space station, and shuttle replacement, if we enlarge the concept of the station and build the space tug with the clear intent of building some really good longboats for use in our solar system.
Charting the globe wasn't done in a day. The New World wasn't discovered by a big government bureaucracy  The New World was accidentally discovered by a Merchant Marine Officer leading a three boat flotilla  on a small scale government sponsored expedition with a specific profit motive. This perhaps underscores the concerns voiced by some astronauts over the perceived slow development of commercial space transport. It will probably take more than a government only effort to both get us into the best "longboats" and eventually into the "Caravel".

 The closest thing in human history to what we are now experiencing in space is known as the "European  Recognizance", the pivotal point of which was the first voyage of Columbus in 1492. The "European Recognizance" didn't begin or end with Columbus, the era encompassed more than 500 years. The likelihood is that the "Human Recognizance of the Universe will follow the pattern of the European Recognizance by sea. We shouldn't be amazed or disheartened by the occasional forty year lull in electrifying events. Indeed space is an ocean, I think, and events are proceeding about like last time.                   






 From the Book "PROTOCOLS" (c) 2012 by American Admiralty Books


 Solar  Sails May Propel Our Solar System Ships At Near light Speed Bringing The Outer Reaches Of The Solar System Into Reach Without Multi- Year long Round Trips.


 When the Earth's seas are viewed from high altitude flight or near earth orbit the surface appears quite smooth. When we descend to the level that Coast Guard helicopters usually operate at , the surface becomes much more textured even in "light airs". Embark on that surface in a small dingy and it is anything but calm. 

 In a like manner Space is not the perfect vacuum, placid and void from all angles of approach and at all scales. On the human scale the space between the stars is vast and empty. For many 'practical purposes" this is so. But evolving technology continually redefines what are "practical purposes". In fact on both certain macro and micro levels Space is filled with flotsam, jetsam, foam, froth, and currents. At the subatomic level it is especially a roiling ocean. The quanta, particles and virtual particles constantly coursing through the ocean of space present the would be spacefarer with problems and opportunities reminiscent of some of the challenges and opportunities reminiscent of the age of sail. We must build space craft resistant to damage from these various "cosmic rays', just as a sailing craft had to be storm resistant and stable over a wide range of sea conditions. Yet these very phenomena, like the wind of the Earth's oceans, present us with a resource for propulsion. While such things as "cosmic rays" must be factored into the design and definition of a "staunch ship" for space, similar phenomena in forms such as the "solar wind"offer us a ready potential propulsive resource.

 On the oceans of the World today we can observe sail, steam reciprocating engines, steam turbines , diesel, diesel-electric, and atomic engines propelling commercial and naval vessels. As we search for the propulsion system that will take us to the stars, we undoubtedly will experiment with a few technologies, that while not the the system to takes us to distant stars, still will be useful and long used for a variety of purposes. Among these may well be "particle sails".

 "Particle sails" (AKA "nano sails") refers to systems that capture or convert the energy of " cosmic ray-like phenomena" such as "solar winds" into propulsion for space craft. Freed from rocket propulsion and rocket fuel such craft will be able to carry greater pay loads and will probably be characterized by extremely long range, or long on scene endurance. Range and endurance, coupled with greater pay load capability will be especially important in unmanned probes. Economy is another attraction of such technology. Some such craft may be no larger than present "pond yachts". Such "particle or nano sail"pond yacht sized probes might be launched from an orbiting construction shop via an air lock with little more effort than the hobbyist who sets the tiller and sheet line on his pond yacht and sets it to sail on a pond in a city park. Many such probes could be fabricated in space from materials and components boosted up by rocket to an orbiting shop. However, it would not be economic to launch such delicate and small craft by individual rockets from the Earth's surface. Just as commercial sail survives in certain fisheries and inter-island trades, to say nothing of recreation and tourist trades there may well be multiple uses for the "particle sail" craft in manned configurations. The best place to build and experiment with such craft is from near Earth orbit.

 At the subatomic level space near home such as near Earth orbit is made pretty much of the same stuff as "deep space". Space throughout the observable universe is pretty much composed of the same elements, particles, and quanta.So if we build space craft large and small in near Earth orbit we have our model test tank, and full scale test basin immediately at hand. So as we search for propulsion system breakthroughs to take us to the far reaches of the solar system and beyond we find a need for work in space. Near space for this purpose is as good as far, but cheaper. Cheaper means more research funds on target, more research, faster progress. So here we find another reason for an expanded space station, an experimental station and production facility for future particle sail vessels and other small unmanned probes. To these reasons add a shipyard for the construction of big, probably rocket propelled at first solar system expedition ships., a training center, and geophysical and astrophysical observatories and you find ample reason to focus our manned space flight resources at this time on a space station, and ever cheaper and more reliable ways to get back and forth from it.

 Research and routine technological improvement is never as splashy as a moon landing or Man on Mars. But man back to the moon or to Mars would be a waste of resources right now. Our next planetary manned missions should be to establish permanent bases. Ocean history suggest that this takes a fleet not a single craft. Consider the first voyage of Columbus. He took three ships, lost one. He left behind a contingent with the intent of returning .  He did return but his contingent did not survive. It took multiple Atlantic crossings by multiple ships before a permanent settlement at Hispaniola was established. Surely there are many lessons from the "European Recognizance" applicable to the immediate future of the "Space Age". Not the least important of these lessons is the fact that Henry the Navigator of Portugal founded a navigational institute to foster the growth and development of navigational arts and sciences and the ever improving charting of Earth's waters and coasts prior to the greatest voyages of the European Recognizance. It was not an accident that Henry physically located his institute on the very edge of the sea rather than in the heart of his capital. It is time to move a major part of our research and developmental efforts to the edge of the "Ocean of Space".

 The boon to mankind in viewing space as an ocean is the ability to draw excicting historical parallels. These parallels aid in the ability of the public to understand where we are going.  To a public aware that we have been technologically capable of a Mars landing for decades, our virtually unexplained pause looks like politics as usual. As public interest lags, the wiill to fund the effort lags and progress slows even more. But a public that understands the coming decades of station and shuttle improvement as the historic parallel of the founding of Henry's "School of Navigation" may be able to maintain interest. Within such a context the present pause may be seen as an absolutely necessary prelude. The public excitement to continue and progress should be sustainable. Perhaps more importantly the pressure to do a parlor stunt of a manned mission in order to re-foster public support
should wain. A public taught to see our space efforts in terms of the historic age of the European Recognizance by sea would understand and support each necessary step. There is no one to beat to Mars. We are going there as an international community and we are going to stay. The first step is to establish our "institute", ou rport, and shipyard on the edge of the Ocean Space. From there and not the earth bound rocket launch platforms we will launch many future voyages.

 The  Reality of Particle Sail Technology

 The concept of solar sailing was first described by FrederikTsander. Articles on the concept first began to appear in America in the 1950s by authors unaware of the earlier work by Tsander. In the late 1970s the Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL) undertook serious studies in particle sail technology anticipating it's possible use in the 1986 Halley's comet rendezvous mission.  Ultimately the Halley's comet mission was dropped due to budget constraints. In 1979 the World Space Organization started a solar sail experiment.  This experiment resulted in the construction of a small sail and a successful ground test. The scientific consensus coming out of the JPL, World Space Foundation, University of Utah College of Engineering, the Battelle Memorial Institute , and elsewhere where significant research and experimentation in particle sails has taken place is that the particle sail, and particle sail propelled ships are practical, relatively low cost technology with significant potential in space transportation. Between 1976 and 1977 the JPL was successful in establishing a technology base for such devices, but particle sail technology development remains on the back burner at both NASA and JPL where the present budgetary focus is on continuing unmanned planetary and deep space missions , the continuing development of the International Space Station and the next generation Space Shuttle.

For those interested in reading more on particle or nano sails we suggest:







 From the Book "PROTOCOLS" (c) 2012 by American Admiralty Books


    What is the real likelihood that we'll meet intelligent life out there?

  When European man first set out on the great voyages of exploration he expected to reach civilizations. He found both civilized and primitive tribal societies in abundance. Indeed the whole Earth while separated by what seemed like uncross able seas, was in fact thickly peopled with diverse societies. Yet sea faring European man also found that much of the Earth was only thinly populated, in some cases so thinly as to be considered uninhabited. What are we likely to find in space?

 Lets look at some probabilities in light of what some serious students of probability have said For the purpose of simplicity , on the latest available information.  For the purpose of simplicity, and keeping the discussion focused on the more immediate future, (the next couple of hundred years vice the next two thousand ) let's limit the discussion to our own galaxy. We shouldn't get beyond this area in the more or less immediate future. If there is going to be a first contact in th enext two hundred years it will probably be with folks from our own galaxy.

 In our galaxy which we call the "Milky Way". astrophysicist noe estimate that we have about 135 billion stars.  Presently most theories of stellar formation suggest that planetary systems around stars are common, perhaps the norm. We have certainly been discovering a lot of these planets of late now that we have a better idea of how to detect them from Earth or orbital observatories. Some of these planets have been found in constellations that sailors have navigated by for centuries. So lets follow the line of reasoning of Carl Sagan and some of the numbers provided by Isaac Asimov and Stephen H. Doyle and call the number of planetary systems something just a little shy of 135 billion. Lets assume that each of these planetary systems contains 6 to 12 planets. That gives us "billions and billions" (Carl Sagan) in fact , about a trillion "worlds" in the Milky Way. Now of these somewhat less than a trillion "worlds" some are circling stars much larger, smaller, colder, or hotter than ours. Some are circling twin stars and receiving radiations of sorts that we can only begin to imagine. Some have rotations that are two slow to regulate temperature decently for life, some are too near their stars, some too far. In short the vast majority aren't very Earth like. But near a trillion "worlds" is a lot of "worlds".So the law of probability makes it highly likely that some are indeed Earth like.

 Stephen H. Dole and Issac Asmimov applied probability reasoning to the question in PLANETS FOR MAN (Random House 1964).  and arrived at an estimate of as many as 640 million Earth like planets , at least in terms of having approximate mass, temperatures, orbit/rotation, chemistry and a sun like star to rotate about at approximate earth like orbital distance. This boils down to only one star out of every 210 has anything even similar to an Earth like planet. Only one planet out of every 4,000 is estimated to be Earth like. Now assuming 640 million Earth like, life generating planets in our galaxy, what does probability theory say about intelligent space faring life being out there? Asimov looked beyond Sagan's cataloging of "billions and billions" of "worlds" to try to estimate the actual probability of some space faring civilizations in our galaxy. Some of his reasoning can be found in
THE PLANET THAT WASN'T.(Double day and Company 1976).  Let's follow some of Sagan's, Asimov's and Dole's math here.

 As Asimov observed , on Earth life took about three billion years to evolve to its present state . Civilization has existed for about 10,000 years. So the ratio of uncivilized years to civilized is 300,000 to 1. So if we consider Earth to be about average, and consider that life started in different times in different places it should be safe to estimate that civilization exists on 1 out of every 300,000 of these Earth like Worlds at best. According to Carl Sagan' like line of reasoning that would give us an estimated 2, 150 civilizations in our galaxy ranging in technological development from pre-Roman like to far beyond modern day America. (Notice I wrote according to the Sagan line, Asimov injects some new considerations later on.)  Now looking at industrial civilization we see Earth has had one for about 200 plus years out of 2,000 years of well documented civilized life. So of our galaxy's estimated 2,150 civilizations, a likely ratio of non or pre-industrial societies to industrial societies would be 50 to 1. That leaves us with an estimated 43 probable industrial worlds out there. Not all of them will be space faring yet. So lets estimate the spacefarers at 21 societies, figuring ourselves to be the median.

The Milky way our home galaxy as it would appear if viewed from  overhead

File:Milky Way infrared.jpg Photo:
  • Atlas Image [or Atlas Image mosaic] obtained as part of the Two Micron All Sky Survey (2MASS), a joint project of the University of Massachusetts and the Infrared Processing and Analysis Center/California Institute of Technology, funded by the National Aeronautics and Space Administration and the National Science Foundation. We canm actually see this image due to earth's position on one of the outer spiral arms of the galaxy.







 In our last installment we examined the probability of our meeting extra terrestrial intelligent life. Frankly we didn't give it much of a shot over at least the next 200 years. We even found it more probable than not that the number of space faring civilizations in our galaxy could be counted on one hand, maybe on a single digit. But if there is even one other space faring civilization out there the odds are 50-50 that they are more advanced than us and have mastered inter stellar travel. So what are we to make of the UFO phenomenon? Is someone offshore watching our island?   Do they have the experience to stand off and seek just the right circumstances to make contact?   Could all these sighting be a way of making us aware and used to, and thus less likely to be threatened by their presence?  Are we the TAINOS to  a civilization that has already launched multiple Columbus expeditions to us but has the good sense to stand off shore until the time is right for all of us?  We truly don't know and neither does anyone else. But if you would like to read about the UFO phenomenon without the dogmatism that clouds the writings of the believers and debunkers alike we suggest :


Here are two quotes from his work that at least keep our mind open to the possibility that we may be someone else's Tainos.

Page 192 "What interests me is that with each new wave of sightings, the social impact becomes greater. Conventional science more and more perplexed, befuddled, at a loss to explain. Pro-ET ufologists become more dogmatic in their propositions. More people become fascinated with space and new frontiers of consciousness. More books and articles appear changing our culture in the direction of a new image of man. Meanwhile, the phenomenon offers occasional rational elements to entice credible researchers, while offering an equal number of ludicrous elements so as to effectively deny itself, annihilate evidence of itself. Ufologists, by and large , remain blissfully unaware of their role in the feedback loop.

Page 193-" 'What we see emerging in the UFO phenomenon is not gradual contact but rather gradual control of our beliefs. expectations, fears, hopes and dreams....We know from behavioral psychology that the best schedule of reinforcement is one that combines periodicity with unpredictability' says Vallee, citing the ongoing pattern of intense UFO activity followed by quite periods when it seems to have gone away entirely. 'Learning is then slow but continuous', he adds. It leads  to the highest level of adaptation  And it is irreversible. It is interesting to observe that the pattern of UFO waves has the pattern of reinforcement .





 From the Book "PROTOCOLS" (c) 2012 by American Admiralty Books


 When Columbus started on his voyage the Atlantic was an unknown sea. Sea trade had been conducted on a regular basis around the Mediterranean and along the Atlantic coast of Europe for thousands of years .  Protocols for the entry and clearance of merchant vessels were well developed in Europe. There was a growing uniformity in national laws concerning the rights and duties of ship owners, crews, and cargo owners. There was a growing distinction between navies and the Merchant Marine. Diplomatic officers were being standardized and the rules for their exchange and posting codified. While nations often resorted to war, they also often resorted to arbitration , often through the offices of the Papacy.  When Columbus left on his first voyage of discovery the law of nations was already well developed in Europe.  When he landed in the New World there was also an existing order in many places that often included resort to war, but generally provided for orderly inter-tribal and even international trade and discourse as we saw in our review of the Mayan coastal trade system.  Despite the general familiarity with the concept of international law that was common to European Merchant Marine Officers of the day there seemed to be no  awareness of the "Indian " order whether we examine Columbus on the Mayan coast, or Vasco de Gama in East Africa, or much later James Cook in the far Pacific. If there was no awareness there was no apparent intent to try and fit in or gently influence any existing system in new directions. With a narrow but critical technological advantage, the Europeans from the very start, began to impose their own system upon the Americas and elsewhere in the world beyond the Muslim borders that they once thought of as "India". As we push out into space beyond our solar system we may encounter and run afoul of a pre-existing order. We are unlikely to enjoy the technological advantage over any group that imposed an interstellar order. However there is also  the possibility that we may encounter a culture with as great a gap in technological development in our favor as that between Columbus and the Tianos or Maya. Will we act like the Spaniards in the New World? What if such a group was already under the protection of some interstellar power? Could we in fact be under such protection now.

 Lets consider the evidence for alien contact on our own planet. UFOs have been the subject of investigation for decades. There is ample anecdotal evidence and even some physical evidence in the form of photos of craft of unexplained origin in our skies. There is the abduction phenomenon and thoroughly investigated instances of contact with nonhuman intelligent beings resulting in findings that "something happened" but the investigators never seem to be able to say exactly what. If we are being visited it seems clear that no one is attempting to make official first contact, in fact the evidence tends to indicate that while we may be being studied, official contact is being avoided. If some of the stories of contact are true some of our visitors display an attitude towards us that is not unlike that displayed by Columbus toward the first "peasants" he encountered in the New World.

 If some of the popular stories are true, aliens have taken people into temporary custody and subjected them to invasive medical procedures. Yet the alleged victims of these encounters always seem to be returned. So far as we know no one has been hauled off to an interstellar equivalent of the Madrid slave market, which by the way was the ultimate fate of the first friend of Columbus in the New World, Guacanagari.  We have found no permanent bases of alien activity on our planet or anywhere in our solar system. Could we be under the protection of some interstellar rule of law that protects technologically inferior cultures? If so can we rely on anyone tutoring us on the specifics  of the code before we push off into interstellar space? This would seem unlikely. But a close examination of our own maritime international law may give us a general outline of what we might safely assume to be interstellar good manners and a guide to staying out of trouble until any pre-existing interstellar order is revealed.

The battle over the open versus the closed seas likely parallels any existing order in space. One of the first precepts of maritime international law is that the sea beyond territorial waters is a common highway open to all on "innocent passage".  Where territorial waters enclose or infringe on international straits and passages linking the seas, an international servitude exists, giving ships of all nations a right of innocent passage. Adjacent coastal states also have various exclusive rights by way of the Outer Continental Shelf Convention and the most recent "Law of the Sea Convention"to regulate certain fisheries and exploit bottom resources, especially mineral resources out to about 200 miles from shore varying a bit with circumstances. But beyond 12 miles from shore all ships have the right of innocent passage. Beyond the various Exclusive Economic Zones (EEZs) the sea surface, the water column, and the bottom and subsurface bottom are legally in the international "commons". This concept of "freedom of the seas" was not adopted automatically and is still fought by some nations today. Wars were fought over the issue and may be fought again. However the logic of freedom of the seas seems settled and irrefutable. The commerce between nations is carried on the seas. Without freedom of the seas the global economy is impossible to maintain. The vast seas which once separated cultures now unite them. It is likely that the same logic was long ago applied in space if older space faring cultures exists, especially if there are numbers of them. The likely first rule of space is that it is regarded as a common highway open to all.

 The Second likely rule of space is similar to the modern maritime concept of the Exclusive economic Zone and some ancient Polynesian concepts concerning uninhabited islands. Many , if not most of the islands of Polynesia are simply too small, too low lying, or lack sources of fresh water and were labeled by the European explorers as "uninhabited". But in fact these out lying islands with no permanent human inhabitants were in fact owned, tended,and  were important food sources for Polynesian societies living sometimes several days sail away on larger fresh water endowed islands. The people of the larger permanently inhabited islands would visit the out lying islands to harvest coconuts, fish including tending saltwater ponds created as a form of aquaculture, and plant, tend, and harvest other crops. The truth was that the larger islands could not support their human populations without these additional crop lands and fishing grounds. One of the reasons we will push out into our solar system is that our ever expanding population on this planet needs the additional resources. So a probable second rule of any interstellar legal regime is that in any planetary system with intelligent life on any one planet, the inhabitants of that planet have the exclusive legal right to develop economically the out lying uninhabited planets. Apparently, if we give credence to astronaut reported UFO sightings, the right of innocent passage for all space faring civilizations remains. 

 A third probably sure bet is that in approaching anything like the port towns that Columbus saw on the Mayan coast, there will be a regular routine and procedures for formal entry with due notice to the authorities. If we ever find anything looking remotely like a space port we'd better hang well back and attempt to establish contact before attempting to enter or even draw close..  





 From the Book "PROTOCOLS" (c) 2012 by American Admiralty Books


 Extinctions of species as well as societies, and the spread of disease as well as of useful plants and animals occurred when the Old and New Worlds met. Parallels could occur in space exploration. We need to examine existing protocols and past protocols from the moon missions and how well they worked. Such an examination suggests that much work is needed in this area before our first encounter with extraterrestrial life. South America exported the potato to Ireland which some think was a mixed blessing at best. Europe received corn from the Americas but to this day utilizes it mostly as animal feed. Unlike Americans of European descent today's Europeans have yet to raise or purchase the "sweet" varieties of corn that Americans consume without first passing it through a bovine digestive system for conversion to beef.  Europeans reintroduced the horse to the Americas and while mounted on them drove a number of native civilizations to extinction. Microbes were exchanged some beneficial like those needed in the processing of yogurt and wine, others like small pox, the natives would have been pleased to have avoided. This entire two way traffic in living stuff we call "the "Colombian Exchange" and it is still ongoing. As we discuss the pros and cons of such exchanges and the needed protocols to control and mitigate the undesirable changes we will simply refer to any such exchange whether between the Americas and Europe, or Asia or Earth and outer space or other planets as a "Colombian Exchange". We aren't the first to coin that term, perhaps we are the first to use it as a generic term for similar events past and future. If you wish to read deeper into the subject than our brief treatment allows we suggest:



 Whenever two populations of organisms that have been in isolation meet there is an exchange of micro organisms right down to the *viral level where scientists aren't too sure they are actually looking at an "organism".(See SCIENTIFIC AMERICAN  Are Viruses Alive? ).   Small pox did more to conquer the Central American civilizations than Toledo steel swords and smooth bore musketry. When visible worlds collide small worlds collide as well, the tiny worlds of virus, bacteria, protozoa and whatever else that we haven't discovered as yet that might be out there.  The whatever else is particularly unsettling when we consider some of the unusual ideas of Sir Fred Doyle, Chandra Wickramasingle and others who propose that on extremely rare occasions genetic material not of this earth reaches here. While this is not a mainstream scientific idea, there is some serious science in their arguments and most of the main stream scientific community falls a little short calling the idea impossible. So lets consider just for a minute that Doyle might be right. Lets consider that in the light of the loss of Gus Grissom's first space capsule in the Atlantic Ocean. To this day we don't know why upon return to earth the hatch of the capsule blew open and almost drowned Grissom, allowed the capsule to fill with sea water, and sink to the bottom of the ocean, the cradle of life on this planet. Like Doyle's critics we don't think there was a serious chance that the exterior surface of the capsule would have picked up a virus like "organism" and that it would have survived the fiery entry of the capsule, but suppose the such a capsule had samples of Mars soil on board? Why was all of the post landing inquiry focused of what exactly happened to cause the door to malfunction vice how do we assure that in a landing gone wrong stuff that could be harboring extraterrestrial life does not come into contact with environment?

 During the Apollo era astronauts returning from the Moon were kept in isolation as a precaution against their carrying virus like pathogens from the surface of the moon. The length of time of their isolation was based loosely on known incubation periods for known pathogens on earth. It doesn't look like anyone asked if non earth evolved pathogens might have a longer incubation period. Moon soil samples likewise didn't seem subjected to any really out of the box sanitation measures. Despite recent discoveries here on earth of life forms at the bottom of the sea in sulphur vents, and hot springs that don't seem to be subject to the environmental conditions once thought essential to any type of life , we haven't seen a broad spectrum isolation protocol come out of NASA with our recent robotic probes of Mars. When we do return a soil sample what will be our sanitary protocol?

 We don't have to meet ET to be exposed to really deadly pathogens. In fact it is far more likely that the first life we encounter out there will be microscopic. If some Buzz Lightyear of the future gets eaten on an alien world by an extraterrestrial version of a T-Rex we're out one astronaut. If an astronaut brings back an alien virus for which we have no resistance or cure, it could be the end of all life on earth. But then again microbes aren't the only hazard. Ever seen parts of Mississippi over run by Kudzu? The Kudzu vines looks vaguely like a creeping ivy. Its not native to the U.S. Deep south, but it sure likes it. This at first seemingly harmless  item of exchange in the Colombian Exchange didn't hitch hike here on some banana boat. We brought it here for the hoped for beneficial effect of erosion control in areas of very sandy soil and heavy rain. Road cuts in parts of Mississippi, Alabama, and Georgia were eroding faster that nature could heal them and it was thought the fast growing Kudzu could put a stop to it. Well the Kudzu liked the Deep South just fine and not only covered the road cut scar but continued right up into the pine forests clear to the top of the trees and then spread a canopy from tree to tree until, almost before anyone noticed it,  a hundred acre forest could be smothered , cut off from light and killed. But the emerald green  Kudzu looked happy draped across trees dead or alive. If we find a plant out there are we going to bring it back? You can bet on it. Do we have sufficient protocols in place to insure it stays in isolation and never gets out into Earth's natural environment? We're not so sure on that.


 Ask your self this. Is that image pictured above supposedly an artist's approximation of an alien "face" as described by many "witnesses" so often it has almost become our standard image of a space alien actually a face or could it be a bio barrier mask. Are those big eyes with no pupils or dark protective lenses? How could any creature breath through nostrils that tiny or get enough to feed an energetic biped over five feet tall through that tiny slit of a mouth? Might it be that what has been seen, assuming that anything has actually been seen, is the air intake and exhaust of a bio hazard safety mask? Have you ever noticed in the descriptions of these beings there is never any mention of real clothing, nor of any sex organs or secondary sexual characteristics? Could it be that we are seeing something like a thin wet suit and mask designed to keep micron sized pathogens out of the suit and to keep the personal kooties of who ever is in there locked in? Wouldn't that be a nice courtesy. The Aztecs and Mayans would certainly have appreciated such thoughtfulness from the Spaniards. Maybe if we are being visited, our visitors are far more courteous and safety minded than the history of our last wave of first contact experiences.

 Another troubling parallel between our maritime experiences and our space experiences is the possibility that government protocols applicable to government run missions may not be nearly enough. We are already developing a space launch and flight industry. There are private satellite launch services operating already and private "space planes under development.  There is just about no doubt that by the time we are pushing manned flight beyond our solar system there will be a lot of non government commercial traffic in our solar system. When Columbus headed out for the unknown western Atlantic the Western World had about 5,000 years of maritime trade development behind it. There were international norms in the process of ship "entry" the process of a ship formally and peacefully entering a port to engage in trade, there was considerable international uniformity in the process of "Pratique", meaning the conditions that a ship was expected to adhere to once it was formally entered and granted official permission to hold communications with the shore.  Finally the process of "clearance" was very uniform through out the European Atlantic and Mediterranean world, that process where in a ship presents proofs that it adhered to the conditions of its pratique while in port and is cleared by the port authorities for its next destination. Despite the experience that European merchant captains had with such a system, they ignored the evidence that the Mayans had such a system and just barged right on in.

 Now more than 500 years later our own maritime practices of entry, pratique, and clearance are still adjusting especially in the way of ship sanitation. The lamprey and the zebra mussel have caused major changes in our rules about the ballast water discharge. Our sanitation measures failed us completely in the realm of rat guards, the Norwegian rat is now a universal pest. Despite our best efforts fire ants got off the boat at Mobile and are over running the American South. Centuries after the start of the Colombian Exchange and we are still struggling with the creation of regulations, regulatory agencies to try and slow the processes of exotic intrusion and native flora and fauna stress, and frequently our own economic distress. Maritime history is ripe with examples of those who deliberately side stepped the established safe guards and profited by increasing the stresses of the Colombian Exchange. We are heading out into space with an already evolving private transport industry without any development for the entry, pratique, or clearance of cargo carrying traffic.

 We have a remarkable lack of protocols for where we are going. Our maritime technologies and institutions had thousands of years of development before the European Recognisance and we still ended up eliminating entire civilizations, major human populations, hundreds of plant and animal species, and spread disease all over the globe. Yet the average world citizen today would vote for the continued globalization rather than to go back to the era when great civilizations went for centuries with little knowledge of each other. Going into space involves big risks and big rewards but our maritime experience points to the necessity to proceed with caution and to develop serious, detailed, protocols. If ET has been watching us as so many Ufologists suspect, his people have been watching us for a good thousand years or more. Yet there is no official contact. If they are real could it be they have learned through bitter experience to be very careful on first contact with any sort of life? We need to avoid doing anything rash.

To be continued





 From the Book "PROTOCOLS" (c) 2012 by American Admiralty Books


 We've now come to the end of the line of our excerpts from the book PROTOCOLS. This final excerpt which we present as a conclusion for the essays presented in this series is actually from the original book proposal and recounts what the entire series of essays is meant to convey.

 There are important lessons to be learned from the age of sail exploration that will be beneficial in the age of space exploration and now is the time to examine these lessons.

 Before the dawn of history mankind had migrated to the far corners of the earth , peopled all of the continents except Antarctica and peopled many of the oceanic islands. The migrations were the result of many individual and small group decisions and occurred over thousands of years. Tribes, nations, civilizations evolved in relative isolation separated by vast distances, especially vast oceans. By the time of the European Recognizance entire civilizations existed in relative to complete ignorance of each other. Then these civilizations collided when European explorers such as Columbus and Magellan appeared on scene. In about a century the world went from an age of tentative exploration to an age of colonial conquest and rule. During the age of exploration and the subsequent colonial conquest, entire civilizations, languages, religions, plant, and animal species were wiped out. Both conqueror and conquered became exposed to and died of previously unknown diseases.

 Today we have pushed off into space. Space travel at present, is too complex and expensive to anticipate any migratory process. However now at the very beginning of what will probably prove to be a very long era of exploration we have already received some most important information from such efforts as the Hubble telescope. Plain and simply here is the that news. Other planets circle other stars, some of these planets have atmospheres, and water is more common in the universe than previously thought. The second news item is that the new theoretical physics informs us that light speed may not be the absolute speed limit in the universe and that faster than light travel actually may be possible. So we are faced with the reality that it is more probable than not that other inhabitable real estate exists in the universe and that we will probably eventually develop the means to find it. But what or who might we find there? Now is the time to think about the protocols of space exploration so that our first encounter with other life be it a microbe, a plant, or an intelligent, self aware being will not turn out like the last time in our when worlds, long separated by a seemingly uncross-able ocean collided.

Under construction (next) The First Space Caravels Were Unmanned: Will contain a link to a National Geographic presentation on VOYAGEUR I & II

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