So the European Space Agency, just a few days ago, successfully landed a probe on a comet called 67P-something-or-other, a 2.5-mile-wide target some 311 million miles from Earth. Quite a shot.
By now the probe’s batteries have failed–so they say!–and we’ll have to wait six months for pictures of the comet’s surface. So they say!
How long will it take for someone to declare that there are pictures that they haven’t shown us, and never will? Pictures of windmills and little Dutch girls in wooden shoes, live centaurs galloping here and there, and a colossal, enigmatic face carved out of a hill–evidence of a great alien civilization that still has a base on the far side of the moon, and shape-shifting spies living among us. And so on.
Yes, the conspiracy crowd will have its usual field day. The ESA may release photos of a lifeless surface scarred and pitted by erosion and by micro-meteorites; and then someone else will say, “This is what happens to a world that allows Income Inequality to get out of hand.” And there will be those who say that this never happened at all, there was no probe landed on 67P, it’s all a hoax just like the American moon landing, etc.
Academics say there’s no such thing as truth, politicians live by that saying, and it has gotten into our everyday business.