Von Neumann Probe
rating: 0+x
SPX-XXX phenomenon over the period 2009-2011 (photos provided by LRO). The high albedo plumes are ejecta from the surface and he result of active excavation. The black area resembling a network is the result of ongoing construction.
Footage of the internal workings of one of the nodes in the black network.

Item #: SCP-XXX

Object Class: Euclid

Special Containment Procedures: Due to its location, SCP-XXX is uncontainable for the time being. Of highest priority is the development of more advanced lunar reconnaissance orbiters to continue to track its progress, as well as a lunar touchdown and return probe to retrieve a sample for study. For the moment, the phenomenon is not visible from the Earth, making a cover story unnecessary.

Description: SCP-XXX is a manifestation on the dark side of the Moon that was first discovered on May 28, 2001 when attention was drawn to what had been assumed to be a small comet impacting 300km east of the South Pole-Aitken basin. Since then, intentional activity around the impact site has emerged, growing at an astonishing rate. The Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter's (LRO) limited resolving power is insufficient to determine what exactly is responsible for the activity. However, nomalously high temperatures and spectroscopy results have yielded data indicating that mining, refining, smelting and construction are taking place. In addition, neutrino activity consistent with nuclear fusion has been detected.

It has been conjectured that what had been assumed to be a comet was in fact a technologically sophisticated Von Neumann probe. A sufficiently advanced alien package would be capable of self-replication. When enough copies of itself had been created, it would then proceeding towards some longer term goal.

In the decade since it was discovered, the area the phenomenon encompasses has grown by a factor of 12.5, giving it an estimated doubling rate of 3 years. It currently occupies an area of 4000 km2. If it continues to spread at this rate, it will begin to be visible from Earth in August of 2019.

Addendum Recently, the purpose of SCP-XXX has been made clear. Beginning in June of 2012, evidence of transmissions from the site were detected. A highly focused coherent neutrino beam was directed in the general direction of Sagitarius (roughly, towards the center of the galaxy), as well as a wider beam towards the Earth itself. Two significant discoveries followed:

  • The Hubble Telescope was clandestinely re-tasked to investigate the area in which the Sagitarius bound neutrino emission was focused. An object was discovered approximately 51 light-years in that direction aimed towards the Solar System with a blue shift indicating it was traveling at .93c. Furthermore, it was in the process of decelerating (through means unknown) at .0164g. If it continues without changing its course or acceleration, it will reach the vicinity of the moon in about 55 years.

  • The Earth bound neutrino emission proved to be an intentional communication directed at humanity. A set of instructions based on universal physical constants was used to decode a message which offered two possibilities:
    • The first, if nothing is done, promises the arrival of the in-bound Sagitarian ship on October 14, 2067. Activity on the moon will be completed by then, its goal of creating a forward base and apparent refueling station met.
    • The second, if we chose to reject their visit, are instructions for broadcasting a message at a given frequency towards SCP-XXX. This would render the SPC-XXX phenomenon inert, as well as communicating to them our decision. Unfortunately, the aforementioned message consists of the prime factors of a huge, currently intractably large number. It is not known if the difficulty posed by such a mathematical problem is meant an intelligence test, or if the aliens have drastically over-estimated our abilities. The possibility exists that this is meant to judge the level of resistance the Earth could put up. The following is the number in question:
\begin{equation} 2^{2^{79}} + 3^{2^{83}} + 5^{2^{89}} + 7^{2^{97}} \end{equation}

Update: Although a touch-down and return mission has yet to be launched, the Foundation was able to commission the launch of a remote-control drone. Surveillance footage proved invaluable at assessing the robusness and flexibility of the Von Neumann devices at work. The drone was also able to take photographs of one of the nodes in the black network which proved to be a cell in a long chain of nuclear fusion reactors. The further study of these photographs may prove instrumental in developing out own version of a controlled fusion reactor.

Unless otherwise stated, the content of this page is licensed under Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 License