Astronomy merit badge-seeking Scouts discover Scouting on distant planet

An image from space appears to show three life forms around a campfire. (Image by Marcie Rodriguez)

The images are grainy, but someone with a Scout’s trained eye will know instantly what they’re seeing.

In the first photo, we see three life forms surrounding what appears to be a campfire. In the next, a group of seven life forms seem to be following a trail, as if on a walk or hike. A third image appears to show these life forms completing some type of manual labor or service project.

Taken together, these astronomical snapshots can only mean one thing: There’s Scouting on other planets.

Earlier today, the Bureau of Alien Analysis, Research and Friendship (BAARF) announced that a team of scientists, working with Scouts to complete the Astronomy merit badge, uncovered evidence of a group of life forms engaging in what BAARF has officially classified as “activities or exercises generally associated with Scouting programs.”

The fascinating finds were made as Scouts examined images taken of an exoplanet known as Wolf 1061c. (Yes, we must acknowledge how awesome it is that a Scouting-like program would be found on a planet with a name already associated with Scouting.)

An artist’s rendering of Wolf 1061c. (Image courtesy of NASA)

‘Is this what I think it is?’

On March 26, Scouts from Troop 1990 of the National Capital Area Council spent the day at Goddard to complete requirements for the Astronomy merit badge, most notably requirement 8: “Visit a planetarium or astronomical observatory.”

Working with BAARF scientists, a group that includes more than a few Eagle Scouts, the Scouts started to study images beamed back to Earth.

“I was scrolling through all the images of aliens in the BAARF database — mostly stuff I’ve seen before,” remembers Star Scout Kade Kepler. “But then I saw the Scout aliens and remember turning to Ethan [Teegarden] and saying, ‘Is this what I think it is?'”

BAARF, it should be noted, isn’t yet ready to officially call these life forms “Scout aliens.” But that hasn’t stopped the Boy Scouts of America from extending the hand of Scouting friendship to these newly discovered extraterrestrial Scouts.

“I would say to them, ‘bleep bloop blorp,’ which is the universal way to say, ‘We welcome you with open arms,'” says Olaf Sprilo, the BSA’s Head of Extraterrestrial and Interplanetary Outreach. “As fellow members of the — well, I guess now I’d have to say, universe-wide Scouting movement —  they are welcome to visit us any time. Assuming they have invented interstellar travel, they would be more than welcome to stop by one of our amazing national high-adventure bases or incredible local council camps. Just let us know the coordinates where you plan to land, and we’ll even help you unpack.”

More about Wolf 1061c

Here’s what NASA has said about Wolf 1061c, which we may soon start calling “Scouting’s home away from home.”

  • It is presumed to be “tidally locked,” meaning one side of the planet permanently faces its star (Wolf 1061) while the other side permanently faces away. Depending on the atmospheric makeup of the planet, that could result in one side being extremely hot and the other being extremely cold. If that’s the case, we can assume that the Scouts live along the “terminator line” separating the two halves. We can also assume that a Wolf 1061c Scout could go winter camping one night, step across the terminator line, and go summer camping the next.
  • Its orbital period is 17.9 days, which means a year on Wolf 1061c goes by about 20 times quicker than our 365-day Earth year. If we assume that Scouting on Wolf 1061c has similar requirements for its top honor, that could mean that Scouts on Wolf 1061c have until they’re 360 years old (18 times 20) to earn the equivalent of the Eagle Scout Award.
  • It is 1.66 times larger than Earth, which likely means it has 1.66 times as many national high-adventure bases as Earth. Who will be the first BSA member to experience a trek at one of Wolf 1061c’s 6.6 national high-adventure bases? (BTW, if you’re going on an awesome Scout adventure on Wolf 1061c or Earth, be sure to tell Scout Life magazine.)

What the images show — and what they don’t

Let’s take a closer look at each of these images to see what conclusions we can draw. Naturally, some of this will be speculation, but speculation can be fun.

Image by Marcie Rodriguez

In this image, we see a group of seven life forms walking along a rocky, dusty trail.

  • The Scout aliens aren’t carrying any visible backpacks or other means for hauling gear, which could mean:
    • This is a short day hike for recreation or to gather supplies.
    • These Scouts eat and drink less frequently than Earth Scouts.
    • Invisible backpacks!
  • The number seven could be significant. Is this a patrol? An entire troop? Or is it actually just one Scout whose body is split into seven different parts on account of Wolf 1061c science?
Image by Marcie Rodriguez

In this photo, we see four life forms using primitive tools — shovels, rakes, picks and wheelbarrows — to move some large rocks.

  • If we didn’t have the context provided by the other images, we might assume these life forms are clearing room for a living area or recreation space. Seen alongside the other photos, it’s pretty obvious that these alien Scouts are completing a service project. “Helping other people at all times is truly a universal concept,” Sprilo says. But why do these rocks need to be moved? Maybe they’re creating a space for older aliens (ages 1,600 to 2,000) to sit and enjoy nature. Maybe it’s an elementary school where little aliens can learn about their planet and its many rocks and … other rocks. Or maybe these aren’t rocks at all but are actually some type of mineral-rich food being gathered to help less fortunate aliens. The truth is out there.
  • These four alien Scouts appear to have moved these giant “rocks” without any machines. That means either that rocks weigh less on Wolf 1061c or that alien Scouts have super strength. “We could attempt to measure the mass of the rocks or calculate the mass of the aliens. Then, taken alongside the known properties of Wolf 1061c’s gravitational pull, we can determine precisely how strong these aliens are,” Sprilo says. “Or, you know, we could just email them to ask.”

Speculate with us!

Do you see anything we missed? Be sure to share your observations in the comments below — for science!

About Bryan Wendell 3283 Articles
Bryan Wendell, an Eagle Scout, is the founder of Bryan on Scouting and a contributing writer.