July 25, 2021

Concerning Both Earths

As you are aware, we see Earth in two locations.

Most 'scopes, including opticals, CMB-maps, and StarNav, all agree Earth is about 60 LY from our current position. We call this Optical Earth to distinguish it from the other, Commlink Earth. As the name suggests, Commlink Earth is the appearance of Earth according to our communications link. Based on sub-band communication principles, we can calculate the focal point of the link lock, and it clearly places Earth 20 LY away. This is the position we expected Earth to be based on our original plan for the first Pak Thruster jump.

We decided to maintain the connection to Commlink Earth. A broken link is difficult to re-establish, and we cannot be sure that Optical Earth has a beacon ready for us to link to. Our initial report to Earth was broadcast successfully, and we received a response. This strongly suggests that Commlink Earth is the accurate position of the Earth we left. It does not tell us why every other sensor apparatus we have disagrees with that conclusion.

We have begun construction on a new commlink array. It will be limited in capability, but enough to establish a link and transmit basic text. Our hope is to focus it on Optical Earth and see if there's any response. If our current Commlink is accurate, there should be nothing where Optical Earth appears to be. If our other 'scopes are accurate, we'll establish contact there through the auxiliary channel.

Some of our scientists speculate that we are seeing a mirage.

They suspect that Optical Earth is an illusionary reflection of Commlink Earth. If this is the case, we expect to be unable to connect with the auxiliary commlink. Others suspect that the commlink itself is fritzed, functioning properly while reporting outdated location information.

Finally, Commlink Earth has indicated they are preparing a new "lighthouse" beacon to aid us in navigation. The plans they've shown us involve a perpendicular, or "vertical", solar orbit in phase with Earth, broadcasting a commlink signal. Because this orbit is rarely used, the new signal will be easy to distinguish. In addition to giving us a verification for our orientation and position, this will demonstrate whether or not the two Earths we see are mirrors of each other. If they are not, then Optical Earth will not have a beacon.

We will keep the council informed as these projects develop.

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