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Anachronistic Earth-Like Objects in Battlestar Galactica 2003
Wednesday, 01 November 2006

Next to the Rank Insignia Jim Stevenson (aka 137th Gebirg) also noticed some anachronistic earth-like object in the Battlestar Galactica 2003 series. Cars, anciet weapons and rank insignia of today's Armed Forces are only some examples used in the series. Next to that, some hidden homages to the series’ original incarnation have also been found.

“This has all happened before, this will all happen again”

Having worked with the rank insignia project (another essay found on this site), I was also noticing strange, and seemingly anachronistic earth-like objects thrown into the mix. I began exploring these as well, as there were clear hints at American military patches and other rank insignia that we currently use in today’s Armed Forces, with particular influence from the US Air Force and a little Navy thrown in. I started branching out my research and digging for more of these objects while I was working on the ranks.

In the Original Series, Glen Larson premised the entire show on Van Daniken’s “Chariots of the Gods” concept. This theory lays claim to the fact that the human race, as it we know it today, was influenced by Alien Astronauts who arrived at Earth many millennia ago, explaining the existence of Lost Civilizations such as Atlantis and Lemuria, and the similarities in architecture found on various parts of the planet in Latin America, Egypt and Cambodia, sprinkled with a touch of Mormon doctrine here and there, effectively putting evolution and the fossil record on its ear.

Ron Moore has opted to take a different track. I recall him saying (was it in the Mini-Series podcast? I can’t remember) that he has no intention of disputing the fossil record or the theories of evolution as we understand them here on Earth. This is clue #1 to how I think this new “universe” has been architected. My theory is that this new set of Colonials is actually a distant descendant of our present-day Earth, possibly as many as 5-10,000 years into our future. Kobol is actually a colony of Earth, probably one of the first, followed by the exodus to the 12 colonies, whereas the 13th colony retraced its steps BACK to Earth to try to reclaim its ancestral home. This theory is supported by the “holodeck star map” that our heroes find on Kobol in “Home, Pt. 2” (why would the 13th Tribe come ALL the way back to a dead Kobol to build that map? The answer is simple. They didn’t. It was always there), as well as the following other tidbits of visual information.

Additional Clues: Scattered throughout the show, we see EXTREMELY earth-like objects in the background and foreground. Objects that one would think really shouldn’t be there – but are. We all know for Ron Moore’s need to not “space out” the universe too much. We know he doesn’t like starboard power couplings, tachyon emission nodes, bumpy-headed aliens and a myriad of other Trekkian Technobabble. We know he likes to keep his universe grounded in recognizable things. Even the Commander/Engineer of the Pegasus, Commander Garner fixed his ship in the nick of time with nothing more than a sledge hammer and wrench! No mystifying sonic screwdrivers here! The propensity and frequency, however, for Earth-like objects to appear seems to be increasing.

The first one I noticed was this one from a first season episode (eludes me which one), where another shadowbox with Air Force ranks (one Technical Sergeant (TSgt - E6), bottom middle and two Airman (Amn - E2), bottom left and bottom right) and what appears to be a US Navy SEAL badge (top middle) prominently displayed in the scene between Apollo and Starbuck:

Earth-like Objects 

I gotta tell ya, this one knocked me off my chair the first time I saw it. This one started it all for me in my search for other apparent anachronisms. Knowing the care that Ron Moore and his team have taken to build this meticulous world, it seemed unlikely that this was anything other than intentional. I continued to search for these kinds of things which are replete throughout the show and are given credence by the "this all happened before, it will happen again" mantra that keeps re-emerging. Of course, I found more, and only reinforced (to me, anyway) the fact that these things were not a coincidence.

The next pic is an easy one. Starbuck has a Hummer:

Earth-like Objects 

I did a check on the license plate. The characters are viable hexadecimal numbers, which unfortunately mean nothing, but I did the math nonetheless for the numerologists out there.

Original Hex Number: FB 42 E3
Decimal Conversion: 251 66 227
Binary Conversion: 11111011 1000010 11100011
Equivalent ASCII Characters: û B ã

Hex All Together: FB42E3
Decimal Conversion: 4210302947
Binary Conversion: 11111010111101000001111111100011

Incidentally, further numerology exists by subtracting the second decimal number (66) from the first decimal number (251) and subtracting the third (227) from that. 251-66-227 = -42. Starbuck has both the answer to Life, the Universe and Everything (in the form of the second hex digit "42") AND the "negative" answer on her license plate after doing some math, a direct reflection to her conflicted personality. Very appropriate considering her character background.

The next pic was more subtle. A brief pic of Adama's glasses sitting on top of a "Reader's Digest Condensed Books":

Earth-like Objects 

In “Home, Pt. 2”, the fore-mentioned “holo-map” showing the way to Earth makes reference to the “Lagoon Nebula”. Adama calls it “Astral Body M-8”. Would it surprise you to know that this thing actually exists in our skies?

http://www.seds.org/MESSIER/m/m008.html

Messier Object 8 – “Diffuse Nebula M8 (NGC 6523), an emission nebula, in Sagittarius” (not Scorpio as was incorrectly mentioned in the show).

Earth-like Objects 

Cluster NGC 6530 discovered by Flamsteed about 1680. Lagoon Nebula discovered by Le Gentil in 1747.

As often for diffuse nebulae, the cluster of young stars which has formed from the nebula's material was discovered first: In this case, the young open cluster NGC 6530 in the Eastern half of M8 was discovered by John Flamsteed about 1680, and again seen by Philippe Loys de Chéseaux in 1746, before Guillaume Le Gentil found the nebula in 1747. Abbe Nicholas Louis de la Caille has cataloged it in his 1751-52 compilation as Lacaille III.14. When Charles Messier cataloged this object on May 23, 1764, he also primarily described the cluster, and mentioned the nebula separately as surrounding the star 9 Sagittarii; his original position is closer to the modern position of the cluster than to that of the nebula. Nevertheless, it is the nebula which is now generally regarded as "Messier 8."

Another one was a picture of two 20th century Earth pistols in Cain's ready room, both of which were used as early as WWI. She seemed to be an avid collector of ancient weapons. The flintlock and caplock pistols I cannot identify but are clearly of Earth origin.

Earth-like Objects 

The most recent, a picture of Lee sitting in front of another firearms display in the Pegasus Commander’s quarters, containing a Thomson submachine gun while talking to Commander Garner in “Captain’s Hand”:

Earth-like Objects 

Some apparent homages to the Original Series include this pic, where Tigh's ambrosia bottle seems to have an "L" cubit design etched in the glass:

Earth-like Objects 

This pic seems to have an actual picture of the the Original Series Ship of Lights in the "Opera House" foyer that Baltar saw when he first crash landed on Kobol:

Earth-like Objects 

Some have said that this may simply be a photograph of the interior entryway of this opera house, and that we may be seeing nothing more than a foreshortened view of a chandelier hanging from the ceiling, slightly offset on the picture to make it appear as if it is the asymmetrically designed the Original Series Ship of Lights. I like to think there may be more to it. It may simply be a throw-away one-use prop as one of the many hidden homages to the series’ original incarnation. One day, hopefully, we will know all the answers.

And last, but not least, the top decoration on the two Adama's sashes appears to be the TOS collar insignia for the Galactica (with a 4-pointed star added on top to obscure the design), which is, of course, an upside-down US Army Intelligence branch insignia (pics of MI insignia from Kobol.com).

Earth-like Objects 

Earth-like Objects     Earth-like Objects 

Incidentally, it has been brought to my attention that the modified military intelligence insignia used on these sashes may have come from the now-defunct Tom DeSanto/Brian Singer production of Battlestar Galactica, a continuation project that was supposed to be released back around 2001 with the original series cast, which somehow found their way into the current RDM re-imagined production. I can’t confirm this, but it is an interesting bit of trivia, nonetheless.

Confirmations and Conclusions

Not long ago, in a subsequent RDM blog on July 7, 2006, many of my suppositions were confirmed. Someone asked about the Tommy Gun in the Sci-Fi BSG forums. Here was the exchange (with some spelling corrected):

Q. Is there significance to the props used, like the Hummer and Thomson automatic on the wall of the Pegasus ready room? Is there an implication that these items evolved in a similar way to the way they have on Earth or is there something deeper to look forwards to?...

A. The props are all deliberate choices that imply more than just a passing connection between our world and the world of Galactica and there are deeper connections yet to come.

After several years of research, it was gratifying to have my many theories confirmed by Ron Moore himself. Many are wondering now, in light of this new evidence, what kind of Earth will the Rag-Tag Fleet find? Will it be populated by an advanced splinter-race of Colonial humans? Will it be occupied by Cylons or perhaps even the possible location of the Cylon home world? Did the Earth humans somehow help the mechanical Cylons to evolve, either directly or indirectly, into the humanoid hybrids we have seen? Or will Earth be nothing more than a burned-out cinder from some massive nuclear war from millennia ago? Only time will tell, and I am very much looking forward to expanding this essay, should other blatant Earth-like objects and props continue to appear in this amazing show.

Thanks very much!

Jim Stevenson (aka 137th Gebirg)

 
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