Category Archives: Clark Ashton Smith

The Nature of Ubbo-Sathla and Time Travel

Previously we discussed how Ubbo-Sathla is a seething sea of slime found on early Earth and obliviously guards the tablets of the gods. As an archetype of proto-life on Earth it is hypothesized that Ubbo-Sathla was the original material used by the Elder Things to create complex life on Earth, including the shoggoths. In fact, Ubbo-Sathla, or at least a piece of it, may have been the proto-shoggoth mentioned toward the end of Lovecraft’s At the Mountains of Madness. The Elder Things arrived on Earth sometime between 4.0 and 2.5 billion years ago (S.T. Joshi, 2001). The oldest microfossils of bacteria are estimated to be as old as 3.43 billion years old, while the oldest microfossils of eukaryotic cells are estimated to be around 1.85 billion years ago (Benton, 2008). Thus, if Ubbo-Sathla was on Earth before the Elder Things, it is entirely possible that the Elder Things utilized material from Ubbo-Sathla and its sea of slime to engineer prokaryotic cells (archaebacteria and eubacteria), the more complex eukaryotic cells (plants, protists, fungi and animals) and super-eukaryotic cells (shoggoths). Additionally, the instructions or “recipe” for the creation of life from the organic sea of slime may have been inscribed on the tablets that Ubbo-Sathla was guarding.           Ubbo-Sathla (from

It has been alluded by Clark Ashton Smith that the gods who left their wisdom and lore upon the ultra-stellar stone tablets may have been residents from a previous or other universe. This suggests the hypothesis that life itself, at least on Earth, may not have originated in our universe but came from another, only to be deposited as “slime-seeds” in the form of Ubbo-Sathla. The Elder Things stumbled upon this sea of proto-life slime on Earth and used both the instructions and material to create life on Earth. This may also explain how, over the centuries, the Elder Things would have lost the ability to create life from this raw material. A combination of exhausting the supply of Ubbo-Sathla material, as well as losing the ultra-stellar stone tablets that outlined the methodology, could have easily resulted in the Elder Things losing the ability to create life.

h_p_lovecraft__s_old_one_by_coq92 The Old One, also known as an Elder Thing, by Coq92 (

In addition to the origins and use of Ubbo-Sathla in the creation of life on Earth, a brief mention should be made of the technology associated with time travel, as experienced by Paul Tregardis with the use of the strange milky crystal. As has been discussed in past articles, time travel may only be possible through the transport of a consciousness. Removing an actual, physical entity from one portion of the timeline and depositing it into another may not be possible without either disrupting that timeline for a new one or the destruction of the traveling entity. Thus, a way around this would be to transport a consciousness through space-time and have it displace an entity living’s consciousness in that desired timeline. This methodology is employed by the Great Race of Yith in their space-time travels.

In Lovecraft’s The Shadow Out of Time, the Yithians, in an effort to avoid extinction, moved their entire collection of minds “en masse” into an ancient species on Earth called Cone Shaped Beings (CSBs), switching physical bodies with that species. Combined this symbiotic entity was called “The Great Race.” This transfer of one species consciousness into an others was done through time as well as space; specifically, the Yithian minds flow back through time to ancient Earth to inhabit the bodies of the CSBs.

yithian_communication_m-wayne_miller               Yithian Communication by M. Wayne Miller

The Yithians were known to use strange technology, based on some type of crystalline material, to communicate with others of their kind through space-time.  Perhaps this same type of technology was used to transfer their minds through time and maybe this is what Paul Tregardis stumbled upon when he found the strange milky crystal in that curio shop in Clark Ashton Smith’s tale “Ubbo-Sathla.” What is most interesting, as I have discussed in past articles, is that this transfer of one’s collective consciousness into another vessel may be feasible for humans in the future.

In The Future of the Mind: The Scientific Quest to Understand, Enhance, and Empower the Mind (Michio Kaku, 2014), Kaku states that sometime in the distant future it may be possible to “reverse engineer” the human brain (which means reproducing a product – in this case the brain – following a detailed examination of its parts) and download this consciousness into some type of supercomputer. Once a mind is digitized and downloaded into a device, it may be possible to transmit these minds into space-time on a laser beam.  As Kaku points out, trillions of pieces of digital data are transmitted routinely on laser beams via fiber-optic cables every day.  The wavelength of a laser beam is microscopic and you can compress vast amounts of information on its wave pattern; even more data can be transferred onto a beam of X-rays, which has a wavelength smaller than an individual atom (Kaku, 2014). The crystalline technology of the Yithians may do exactly this; downloading their minds into the crystal’s configuration and then using laser beams or X-rays (or even gamma rays?) to beam them into some type of controlled microscopic wormhole that opens up hyperspace and then downloads the data into another device or compatible organism.

Yithcomm_nightserpent Yith Communication by Nightserpent (

So what happened to Paul Tregardis’s consciousness when it was transferred into Earth’s distant past? Well first, his consciousness became merged with other past consciousnesses as it traveled back through time, which may have “mudded” his consciousness signal. Second, and probably most important, is maybe Paul’s consciousness ended up being transferred into Ubbo-Sathla and the human mind is just not compatible with this entity. The result was a consciousness that lost all sense of “self” and became part of the blind spawn within the sea of slime that is Ubbo-Sathla.

ubbo_sathla_by_veniaminnavin-d7zdbjc Ubbo-Sathla by Veniaminnavin (

Before we move onto another subject, the next article will briefly discuss the potential mechanisms that may have been utilized by the Elder Things in creating the first life on Earth with Ubbo-Sathla. Thank you – Fred.

Ubbo-Sathla and the Devolution of Life on Earth                                                                       Ubbo-Sathla (from

After re-reading Lovecraft’s “The Lurking Fear,” I realized there two matter to discuss relative to science. The first is Lovecraft’s use and misuse of the Theory of Evolution and the second is the pseudo-science of race and racism. I have discussed evolution a number of times on this site but in order to clearly identify the general misunderstandings associated with evolution (not just from Lovecraft but in general), I would like to discuss Clark Ashton Smith’s story “Ubbo-Sathla.” It is in this short story that Smith’s help to demonstrate the only way “devolution” can actually occur.

In its simplest terms, evolution is “change over time.” Time is an extremely important component in the concept of evolution and is frequently ignored. Evolution does not occur within an individual but within populations; populations breeding over successive generations producing offspring where favorable genes (and thus the traits associated with those genes) remain in the populations while unfavorable genes are weeded out over time. However, environmental conditions (climate, temperature, light, habitat types, competitors for food, predators, parasites, etc.) are dynamic and always changing; thus, the favorability or unfavorability of traits change over time, which means traits are always trying to adjust to changing environmental conditions. In a nutshell that is evolution.

Frequently terms like “primitive” or “advanced” are used to compare various species. Since the definition of these terms (at least within the concept of evolution) are directly linked to temporal scales, they can be used to compare say a horse of today (of the genus Equus) to the smaller odd-toed ungulate, horse-like mammal Hyracotherium (now called Eohippus) that appeared in the fossil record approximately 52 million years ago. Thus, the large horses of today are advanced compared to the primitive, smaller Eohippus creature. However, you can’t say that a horse of today is more advanced than a horseshoe crab of today. They are different, one is a vertebrate one is an invertebrate. You can also say one has been on the Earth longer than the other; horseshoe crabs have been around for approximately 450 million years, while horses have been around for approximately 55 million years. Thus, we can say that horseshoe crabs have been on Earth longer and have a more ancient, ancestral lineage than horses but it does not mean they are more primitive than horses. Anything living in the present is more advanced than anything that has lived in the past.

Eohippus_diagram                                   An ancestor of the modern horse, Eohippus (previously known as the genus Hyracotherium) was a smaller, odd-toed ungulate.

Lovecraft liked to cite a degeneration in evolution in his stories (more on that when we actually talk about “The Lurking Fear”); however, any adaption that results in a species thriving and producing more offspring cannot be thought of as a degeneration (from a biological point of view). For example, blind cave-dwelling fishes or shrimp are not degenerative or primitive organisms relative to non-cave-dwelling species just because they cannot see or do not see very well. Those organisms are specifically adapted to a life in darkness and instead of relying on sight, their other sense are enhanced. This is not degeneration; this is an adaption to specific conditions over successive generations through natural selection. So is degeneration or “devolution” possible? Only if you can reverse time and that is where Clark Ashton Smith’s “Ubbo-Sathla” comes into play.

Ubbo_(1).jpg                                  Ubbo-Sathla by Michael Bukowski (

In a review of a variety of scientific texts and periodicals, the terms degeneration and evolution are largely absent. Not surprising is the fact that the term “degeneration” does come up in historical (17th through 20th century) discussions on “race” as documented in Stephen Jay Gould’s The Mismeasure of Man (revised and expanded edition; 1996). Again more on that when we discuss Lovecraft’s “The Lurking Fear.” The reason why terms such as degeneration and evolution are not discussed to any degree by credible evolutionary scientists is that such processes to not exist in our conventional reality. As explained above, evolution is change over time, populations adapting to changing environmental conditions. With evolution there is only forward, no reverse; older genes or traits may re-surface but this still represents a type of succession over time. But what if one could “go in reverse,” go back in time relative to evolutionary development? That would be the true definition of devolution; that is, change going back in time. This is the process discussed in Clark Ashton Smith’s “Ubbo-Sathla.”

In the tale, Paul Tregardis purchases a strange milky crystal that has the ability to transfer his mind back in time. Is it possible that this palaeogean, orb-like crystal flattened at the poles is some residual technology of the Great Race, which allows them to transfer their minds through time and space? In any event, by studying the orb Paul’s mind is initially transferred into that of the sorcerer Zon Mezzamalech in primeval Mhu Thulan, located in the northern regions of ancient Hyperborea (today thought of to be part of Greenland). There, while in the sorcerer’s mind, Paul read from The Book of Eibon about Ubbo-Sathla.

unbegotten_source_by_cursedfreak-d61gphw The Unbegotten Source, Ubbo-Sathla by Cursed Freak (

In that tome Paul / Zon read of how the orb-like crystal could be used to behold many visions of our universe, including Earth’s ancient past “…when Ubbo-Sathla, the unbegotten source, lay vast and swollen and yeasty amid the vaporing slime…” Ubbo-Sathla appears to be a proto-form of life on Earth.

Apparently, wisdom of the gods who died before the Earth was born (is this a reference to beings from a previous universe?), “passed to the lightless void,” left their wisdom and lore upon tablets of ultra-stellar stone. These stone tables are guarded by Ubbo-Sathla. It is suggested that these tables provide information on the creation of life and possibly the creation of matter or even new realities. The being Paul Tregardis / Zon Mezzamalech wanted this ancient knowledge. Is this where the Elder Things obtained the information to create life? Is Ubbo-Sathla a precursor to the proto-shoggoth?           Ubbo-Sathla from

Through a series of attempts Paul Tregardis / Zon Mezzamalech go back in time, through the millennia to obtain knowledge off the Ubbo-Sathla’s tablets. They move back through time, from the fall to the rise to the beginnings of the Mhu Thulan empire; they also move further back, occupying the minds of a barbarian of some troglodytic tribe, various dinosaurs and then the lost serpent-men of the ophidian era. The key to this traveling backward through time on Earth is the following passage. “And the thing that had been Paul Tregardis, that had been Zon Mezzamalech, was a part of all of the monstrous devolution.” This is the proper usage of the term devolution – evolution backward in time.

Unfortunately, this backward traveling through time ended in a “vast, chaotic marsh, a sea of slime, without limit or horizon, without shore or elevation, that seethed with a blind writhing of amorphous vapors.” This grey oozy sea of slime, with no organs or organelles, appeared to be a large pre-prokaryotic archetype of proto-life on Earth. This may have been the organic matrix, the discarded experiments of beings from the previous universe, that the Elder Things used to create life on Earth. Unfortunately, the thing that was Paul Tregardis / Zon Mezzamalech forgot about the ancient knowledge and obliviously crawled across the “tablets of the gods, and fought and revened blindly with the other spawn of Ubbo-Sathla.” It appears that if you are part of the “chain of life on Earth” that the knowledge on the tablets is unobtainable due to the process of devolution. But what if you are not part of Earth-bound evolution like the Elder Things or the Great Race?

ubbo_sathla_by_veniaminnavin-d7zdbjc Was this the fate of Paul Tregardis / Zon Mezzamalech? Ubbo-Sathla by Veniaminnavin (

Next time we will talk about the time travel aspects of Ubbo-Sathla and after that we will get into Lovecraft’s “The Lurking Fear.” Thank you – Fred.

Postscript: Clark Ashton Smith’s Neptune

I could find only one reference to the planet Neptune in Clark Ashton Smith’s stories and it was one that was already mentioned in the discussion on Jupiter.  “Sadastor” is a short tale about a demon telling a story to a depressed lamia to cheer her up.  In it he talks about traveling through the solar system, which includes a daring flight through the clouds of Jupiter.  In that same passage the demon also refers to “the black and freezing abysses of Neptune, which are crowned with eternal starlight.”  Is this strange description somehow related to HPL’s Neptunian fungi?  While not directly related to Smith’s description, more evidence of HPL’s white fungi is provided below.

Close up of the Great Dark Spot, the Small Dark Spot and “Scooter” on Neptune.  Scooter is a large white cloud that moves quickly around the planet, thus its name.  Is Scooter a community of atmospheric, planktonic fungi, feeding off the gaseous hydrogen or liquid methane and ammonia? (from

The only other mention of Neptune in Smith’s writings that I came across was in a little article he wrote called “The Family Tree of the Gods,” which you can find on  In it Smith provides some information on the family history of some of the “Elder Gods,” which include members of his own mythos as well as those of HPL.

In the article he talks about how Hzioulquoigmnzhah (uncle of Tsathoggua, who we met on Saturn, called Cykranosh by the natives, in “The Door to Saturn”) left his home world in order to avoid being eaten by his parents.  He ends up on Neptune (called Yaksh – by the natives I assume) but wearying of the strange religious devotions of the Yaksahians went on to Cykranosh.  Are the Yaksahians the same group of white fungi that feed off of the atmospheric winds of Neptune or are they an entirely different race of Neptunians?  Only HPL and CAS know for sure.

This article concludes the tour of the Lovecraftian Solar System – at least for now.  I have discussed other parts of the solar sytem in pervous articles (e.g. Pluto (Yuggoth) and our moon) and I do intend to re-vsit the solar system to discuss other components (e.g. our sun, comets, metors, etc.) at a later time.  However, for now I want to move away from the Lovecraftian Solar System and focus on another of HPL’s stories.  Next time we will be discussing “Beyond the Wall of Sleep.”  Thank you – Fred


Postscript: Clark Ashton Smith’s Saturn

Unlike Jupiter, Clark Ashton Smith made a number of references to Saturn in his stories.  My estimate (by no means comprehensive) is at least six of his stories mention Saturn.  Of these six stories I have read four of them, all being very enjoyable.  For this article I will be briefly reviewing two of these stories:  The Door to Saturn and The Seven Geases.  It should be noted that these stories are not as dark and grim as Smith’s tales of Mars.  Both stories are more fantasy than science fiction and have a slightly comic tone.  In fact, Smith himself called The Door to Saturn “light and ironic” (from the Double Shadow Podcast).


In The Door to Saturn the wizard Eibon, the closest thing Clark Ashton Smith had to a re-occurring character like HPL’s Randolph Carter, is being pursued by Morghi a priest and revival of Eibon’s.  The rest of the story involves their extremely strange adventures on Saturn, whom the residents of that world call Cykranosh.

A resident of Saturn (or as known to them Cykranosh).  This is a member of the race of Bhlemphroims (Mike Bukowki,

Eibon worships one of Clark Ashton Smith’s more recognizable Old Ones in the Cthulhu Mythos – this is the sleepy bat-sloth-like God Tsathoggua.  It is Tsathoggua who gave Eibon the “door to Saturn” to use as a means of escaping enemies.  Unfortunately the escape to Saturn was a one-way trip for both Eibon and his enemy Morghi .  This is one of my favorite Smith stories.

A sketch of Tsathoggua by Clark Ashton Smith (

Another great story is The Seven Geases.  This story is sort of a journey through Clark Ashton Smith’s Mythos in his Hyperborean Cycle of stories.  I won’t go into all of the strange entities encountered in the Seven Geases but it is specifically referenced that while Tsathoggua lives underground on Earth, he originally comes from Saturn.  Back on Saturn, Eibon and Morghi meet a relative of Tsathoggua’s on Cykranosh, the very strange looking Hziulquoigmnzhah.

Gods from Cykranosh by Ikura Maru.

To conclude I highly recommend both The Door to Saturn and The Seven Geases.  Both are very entertaining with most of the first story occurring on Saturn, while the other includes one of Saturn’s most popular residents – Tsathoggua.  Next time we will talk about Uranus in the Lovecraftian Solar System.  Thank you – Fred

A sculpture of Tsathoggua by Clark Ashton Smith (


Postscript: Clark Ashton Smith’s Jupiter

Unlike the smaller, rocky worlds closer to the sun, I could not find any stories by Clark Ashton Smith that take place on Jupiter or any of its moons.  If anyone can direct me to one I would really appreciate it.  However, I did find a few references to Jupiter in a number of his stories.  For example, as previously cited in the Clark Ashton Smith story Master of the Asteroid, originally published in Wonder Stories; October 1932, three psychologically unbalanced men decide to leave a Mars colony, for one of the moons of Jupiter.  They never make it to their destination and end up on one of the larger asteroids.

In another story called Phoenix, there was a brief mention of having rocket ships that could easily pull free from the gravitational pull of Jupiter.  I have to say that this was a good story but the plot was very similar to the Danny Boyle movie Sunshine (2007).  If you have not seen the movie or read the story I recommend you read the story first and then see the film.  If Clark Ashton Smith’s story Phoenix did not inspire the creators of the movie Sunshine then its an amazing coincidence.  Smith’s stories a filled with a variety of stunning visuals that would look great on the screen.

Danny Boyle’s movie Sunshine (2007).

Sadastor is a short tale about a demon telling a story to a depressed lamia to cheer her up.  In it he talks about traveling through the solar system, which included daring flight through the clouds of Jupiter.

The lamia from Clark Ashton Smith’s story Sadastor (from

Finally, the last Clark Ashton Smith story I could find where there was a reference to Jupiter was the tale The Epiphany of Death.  This story sort of reminds me of a “mash up” of a few HPL stories including The Hound and The Statement of Randolph Carter.  In it a man accompanies his friend down into his ancestral catacombs.  Before entering the tomb the narrator notes that the moon had gone down but that “…the rays of Mars and Jupiter in a sodden and funereal sky were not enough to illumine the perilous path we followed among mounds and fallen obelisks and broken graves.”

Thus, while Clark Ashton Smith did mention Jupiter and its moons in a few of his stories, none actually took place in the Jovian system – at least this was the conclusion I came up with in my review of his tales.  If anyone has any additional input on this matter, please feel free to interject.  Thank you – Fred




Smith and Lovecraft’s Use of the Asteroid Belt in their Fiction

Before we move to Jupiter, I did want to make a few notes on the Asteroid Belt, which is the zone between Mars and Jupiter occupied by a large number of rocks of varying size.  There are tens of thousand of asteroids, also known as planetesimals or planetoids, orbiting the sun between 1.52 and 5.2 astronomical units (the Earth is 1.0 astronomical units away from the sun).  For reasons generally unknown, although there are a number of hypothesizes, these planetesimals never coagulated into a planet (Cosmology: The Science of the Universe by Edward R. Harrison; 1981).

First full picture of an asteroid (243 Ida) and its associated moon.  243 Ida is about 35 miles long while its moon is about a mile across (

In HPL’s day the general thought was that asteroids were the fragments or pieces of an exploded or destroyed world that existed between Mars and Jupiter (Collected Essays Volume 3: Science, H.P. Lovecraft; edited by S.T. Joshi, 2005).  Currently, the prevailing hypothesis why the asteroids never formed into a planet is that they were prevented from coalescing due to the large gravitational pull of Jupiter (The History of Astronomy by Michael Hoskin; 2003).  In other words, due the immense size and mass of Juipter, the asteroids are a planet that failed to be.

New asteroids were being identified through the late 19th and early 20th century and HPL reported on a number of these new discoveries in his astronomical articles.  The identification of new asteroids continues to this day.

In HPL’s fiction, there is one reference to asteroids and that is in The Shadow Out of Time.  This involves the recovered memories of Nathaniel Wingate Peaslee when his mind occupies one of the Cone-Shaped Beings.  Peaslee recalls that the hieroglyphs and language in one of the books of the Great Race was used by a captive mind living on or in a large asteroid.  HPL eludes to the fact that this mind is a form of ancient life that once lived on a primal planet that existed between Mars and Jupiter but was destroyed sometime in the past.

An illustration from HPL’s The Shadow Out of Time by Howard V. Brown

This reference to an ancient mind surviving in one of the asteroids is very intriguing.  Since the Great Race can travel through time and space, I wonder if they somehow warned the beings on the anicent planet located between Mars and Jupiter of their impending doom.  Maybe this is one the minds that survived the catastrophe thanks to the Great Race; forever trapped in the remains of it’s extinct world slowly orbiting the sun.

This 1988 Arkham House edition of Clark Ashton Smiths A Rendezvous in Averoigne includes the story Master of the Asteroid.

Clark Ashton Smith has a story called Master of the Asteroid, originally published in Wonder Stories; October 1932.  Again, like many of his solar system tales it is dark and forbidding, reminding one of the ALIEN universe.  In the far off distant future year of 1980, three psychologically unbalanced men decide to leave a Mars colony, for one of the moons of Jupiter.  They never make it to their destination and end up on one of the larger asteroids (called Phocea in the story by CAS but probably referring to 25 Phocaea, which was discovered in 1853 by J. Chacornac) populated by a strange race of intelligent walking sticks, similar to the Terran insect family of Phasmidae, as well as another alien presence.  Another excellent, yet dark, story by Clark Ashton Smith.


The October 1932 issue of Wonder Stories; the cover features a scene from Clark Ashton Smith’s story Master of the Asteroid

I would like to conclude this article by mentioning that Mars has two moons – some of the smallest moons of any of the planets in our solar system.  These moons were discovered by Asaph Hall in 1877.  A prevailing hypothesis is that these moons, Phobos (meaning panic / fear) and Deimos (meaning terror / dread) are thought to be asteroids that were eventually caught in Mars gravitational field.

Next time we will definitely move onto the first of the outer gas giants in Lovecraft’s solar system.  Thank you – Fred.


Postscript: Clark Ashton Smith’s Mars


While HPL directly referenced the planet Mars in only one story, Clark Ashton Mars had a whole cycle of stories on the red planet.  Boyd Pearson has a great article on where he reviews the story cycles of Clark Ashton Smith.  The Mars Cycle had a total of five stores; one is a fragment and another was based on a plot by E. M. Johnson.  I have read three of the five stories:  Seedling of Mars (also known as The Planet Entity – this is the story based on Johnson’s plot), The Dweller in the Gulf and Vaults of Yoh-Vombis.

The Seedling of Mars is a unique tale of alien invasion where the “Martian” is a form of intelligent plant life.

Both The Dweller in the Gulf and the Vaults of Yoh-Vombis have an “alien-like” feeling to them (Alien in reference to the 1979 movie ALIEN).  Both stories take place under the surface of Mars where horrible things await the explorers.  Shown below are two of the residents of Mars, who live on the planet’s surface.

The Aihai, surface natives of Mars (artwork by Philip Rice;

Native fauna of Mars, a Vortlup (artwork by Philip Rice;

I intend to read the remaining two Mars story of Clark Ashton Smith.  I highly recommend the Martian tales, which can be found on  In addition to reading the stories, I also recommend checking out The Double Shadow Podcast, hosted by Phil, Ruth and Tim.  They do an excellent job reviewing and discussing Clark Ashton Smith’s stories.  Thank you – Fred.


Postscript: Clark Ashton Smith’s Mercury

After I posted my article on Lovecraft’s Mercury, a friend of mine on Facebook, Hiraku Takeoka, suggested the story “The Immortals of Mercury” by Clark Ashton Smith.  I have been reading quite a bit of Smith’s work and many of his stories occur on other planets throughout our solar system.  Since I never read this story before and gave it a try and found it very enjoyable.  It was very entertaining and highly recommend reading it.

While I will not go into the details of the story, it is interesting to note that Smith emphasized the large temperature differences on Mercury with boiling hot conditions on the “daylight side” and frozen glaciers on the “nightward side.”

The natives who lived on the surface were animal-like “savages” called the Dlukus that were covered with heavy scales like a reptile.  The creatures had a particularly cruel and nasty way of dealing with potential threats or enemies which ended with a banquet.

Another race – the immortals – lived under the surface of Mercury and the description of that species reminded me of a human-sized version of the Engineers from Prometheus (2012).  In any event, I highly recommend this Clark Ashton Smith story on Mercury and thank Hiraku for directing me toward it.  Thank you – Fred.

The Engineers from the 2012 movie Prometheus (