Elon Musk's SpaceX Launches Rocket And Satellite As Part Of Top Secret Mission
SpaceX, the space exploration company run by Elon Musk - a kind of real-life Tony Stark - launched its Falcon 9 rocket from Florida's Cape Canaveral Air Force Station last night. But what makes this different from most rocket launches is that this one helped launch a secret satellite that's been codenamed Zuma.
While Musk, the billionaire who's also behind Tesla cars, is working with the US government on this specific project, details about where the rocket is going and what it's going to be doing are very thin on the ground.
That's because the mission itself is shrouded in secrecy. Nobody on the outside knows exactly where the rocket ship travelled to in the atmosphere and while the launch was broadcast on the SpaceX website, the entire mission wasn't live-streamed, but plenty of people captured the vessel as it lit up the Florida night.
That, of course, has led rise to plenty of conspiracy theories about what exactly Zuma is, where it's heading and for what purposes. One of the wildest suggestions is that the rocket is being used to probe a brown dwarf star called Nibiru.
Why is it so crazy? Well, first off, Nibiru is the name of a planet from the movie Star Trek Into Darkness. That doesn't mean it doesn't exist - or has a brown dwarf star equivalent in real life - but we're already on pretty shaky ground.
There is such a thing, however, as the Nibiru cataclysm, which is a supposedly disastrous collision or near miss between the Earth and a large planetary object that will result in some kind of apocalyptic doomsday. Like Armageddon, but without Bruce Willis there to intervene.
The idea of the Nibiru cataclysm has been widely rejected by planetary scientists and astronomers, but since when has rational science convinced irrational people about anything?
Cue plenty of wacko ideas on conspiracy website Someone's Bones about the rocket being sent to destroy Nibiru before it wrecks the Earth.
One member of the site wrote: "Elon is secretly obsessed with Nibiru, I've known him for 10 years; I know how the man thinks.
"The government promised him 'life after Nibiru' if he got onboard with their program and promised to keep it all hush hush.
"That's why all the payloads are classified; they deal with scientific instruments created to better gauge Nibiru's time line and the effects that will imperil our planet once it crosses.
"Granted, I don't know all the details, but I know what I've been told, by Elon and others, and from what I've learned privately."
Plenty of reason to take that at face value, then. We do know Musk and SpaceX have plans to eventually colonise Mars, but that seems a little more realistic than Earth being wiped out by a collision with a possibly mythological space object.
Still, when we see Nibiru hurtling towards us intent on total destruction, we'll be very happy to admit we're wrong.
Featured Image Credit: SpaceX