Posted March 19, 2010 by Mike Mineo in Site

LOST: Island on a Moon

The answer for the riddle below was revealed to be C-O-R-K, but only in a figurative sense for short-term satisfaction. It is entirely metaphorical. As for what the island really is (which will not be answered until the finale), I believe I have an answer that can be explained using science (even if it is applied in a futuristic sense):

So…What Is the Island? It’s described as a four-letter word. There’s your first clue! Shall we play Hangman? There are no A’s or E’s in the word…Wanna buy another vowel? Okay, but you only get one.

Another thing I can tell you: The island has to exist, according to my sources, and more importantly, someone has to protect it. It’s important to the world outside.

The metaphor used was: C-O-R-K

But as for what the island really is, that will not be revealed until episode 15 or later. The big reveal? A moon. Not the earth’s moon, but a moon. Using plausible science, I explain why below.

Before you read this theory, please view this video for essential reference:

according to Marvin Candle, a casimir effect occurs when two of the same person or animal are present simultaneously on the island. this arises several implications now that many individuals are existing concurrently in the two timelines present for Season 6, perhaps someday bound to converge and trigger this casimir effect. after all, everything that rises must converge.

as far as the casimir effect goes, use the following as reference but further research is encouraged so you can grasp this theory: “Exotic matter with negative energy density is required to stabilize a wormhole. Morris, Thorne and Yurtsever pointed out that the quantum mechanics of the Casimir effect can be used to produce a locally mass-negative region of space-time, and suggested that negative effect could be used to stabilize a wormhole to allow faster than light travel. This concept has been used extensively in science fiction.”

as you can see, the casimir effect opens up all sorts of opportunities once light-speed comes into play, the most obvious being the futuristic potential of space and time. especially considering that time travel and wormholes have already been exposed on this show, LOST is clearly not reluctant to apply futuristic ideology for explanations.

Before I answer some of the island’s biggest mysteries, I urge you to check out one more video. For basic background, it is Contact‘s interpretation of wormhole travel: “When the pod travels through a series of wormholes, she (Jodie Foster) is separated briefly and can observe the outside environment. This includes a radio array-like structure at Vega and signs of a highly advanced civilization on an unknown planet. She finds herself in a surreal landscape similar to a childhood picture of Pensacola, Florida, and approached by a blurry figure that resolves into that of her father.”

Most importantly, you can notice how “bumpy” the ride is:

the similarities are obvious, as is the technology and scientific terminology used. 03:10 reminds me of Locke staring into the smoke monster. Once a tropical island emerges around 04:00, her dead father comes in at 5:30 (almost looking like smoke!). I think we can safely say that Contact may have been a slight influence, and considering the planet she traveled to through a wormhole resembles an island-like moon, this isn’t that unbelievable. LOST obviously has different components at work, but as far as the wormhole travel to the moon goes it will be revealed very similarly.

to be concise, the island being a moon answers several major questions:

How come everyone ends up back at the island when they try to sail away from it?
Simple: the island is located within a sphere. Now, obviously considering Sawyer was back in a few days after attempting to leave, the sphere is not very big. What is a celestial body that is not big enough to be classified as a planet, but can still potentially sustain life? A moon. And imagine that… a four-letter word that uses just one vowel that is not ‘A’ or ‘E’! Nothing in the clue states that the vowel is USED once, only that we GET only one to use. perhaps one is all we need (just like the earth only was given one moon, but that is all it needs). if the answer to the actual riddle is C-O-R-K, it will be too metaphorical to disregard this proposal or any for that matter. it will be explained in metaphorical terms what the island is shortly and C-O-R-K seems like a good candidate. it is the perfect method of providing a hyped-about revelation without actually revealing anything.

Why do the food drops keep occurring, without a plane in sight?
DHARMA food drops kept occurring because the food automatically drops precisely on the “wormhole” (via fixed coordinates), sending all these items beyond light-speed to their respective locations on the island/moon (thus falling from the sky). Faraday’s experiments with time on the island further enforce this theory. theories that conclude 108 minutes on the island equaling 1 earth day also remain possible with this theory, but is not essential. What is known, though, is that time on the island is not the same as on earth. What other scientific explanation is there than for it not to exist on earth?

OK, so how does one get to the island on this apparent moon?
Think back to the time Juliet was taken to the island for the first time. She took the submarine with the others, but was knocked out with sleeping meds to avoid being conscious on a “very bumpy ride”. The others have obvious knowledge of the wormhole’s coordinates, and this explains how certain privileged people (Richard, Friendly, etc.) are able to travel to and from the island with ease. when Juliet was sleeping, the submarine entered the wormhole and was transported faster than light-speed to the island’s location, which plausibly could be anywhere in the universe (and on any moon in the universe). also remember: the “coordinates” that Ben gave Michael and Walt were essentially the directions to the wormhole that lifted them off this moon using light-speed, placing them in a convenient location on earth relative to the wormhole. they basically left the island where they entered it: the “wormhole” between earth and the island.

Why does the island “have to exist”?
it has to exist due to obvious effects on the gravitational pull of earth or planets that earth depends on, especially considering a wormhole to that specific part of the universe is present already on earth. the island/moon DOES exist in the newly created alt-timeline, the entry point is just elsewhere or it may not even been created yet. that’s their purpose in this alt-timeline… to come together and accomplish this task. the writers have said Aaron will be “extremely important” to the show’s plot, so he may certainly have something to do with opening it. The writers also claim the alt-reality is vital and important, so I foresee either both parties converging (i.e. father Jack coming face-to-face with non-father Jack on the island) or using this reality as a means to mend this now-disrupted entry point. Again, more exposition on the back-stories of Jacob/MiB are required for elaboration, as the motivation of Jacob for creating this alt-reality out of “the incident” remains unclear.

But wait, it showed in the S6 premiere that the island sunk. How can it still exist?
The island did not sink. This is evidenced by there being no known casualties in the alt-timeline, but even more so by the casimir effect and “The Incident”. the incident, which caused the wormhole to implode (in the alt-timeline), deposited all material on the island from that “moon” to the place of its respective wormhole on earth. it literally came down from the sky and fell into the ocean, just like the food drops, into the original place of the now non-existent wormhole. except now, it was dropping into water instead of where land originally was. the actual scientific implications of “The Incident” are too ambiguous right now to properly theorize, but I imagine it had some role in disrupting the wormhole.

Scientific fact: Regions of negative energy are required to stabilize and keep a worm hole open. “The Incident” somehow effected the island’s “abundance of negative energy” (Marvin Candle Quote) to the point of it closing or weakening the wormhole. the island still exists, but most items (the foot statue, cabins, etc.) were drawn to the wormhole just like items in the electromagnetic hatch. “The Incident” will eventually be explained using references of wormholes, the casimir effect, and the incredibly unique properties of negative energy and electromagnetism on the island.

How does time travel play into all of this?
I’ll let science do the talking for this question:

Worm holes are a feature of classical general relativity, but to create them you have to change the topology of space-time. That might be possible within a theory of quantum gravity. To keep a worm hole open, regions of negative energy would be needed. Misner and Thorne have suggested using the Casimir Effect on a grand scale to generate the negative energy.

Thorne has found that if worm holes can be created, then they can be used to construct closed timelike loops in space-time which would imply the possibility of time travel.

Also for elaboration on wormholes: Worm holes are shortcuts through space-time from one place in the universe to another which would permit you to go from one end to the other in a shorter time than it would take light passing by the usual route.

So what are the explanations for Desmond, Henry Gale, Yemi’s brother, Naomi, and others arriving on the island?
Henry Gale likely came by accident, similar to Desmond. These people entered the wormhole without knowledge… Desmond passing out was similar to Juliet, Oceanic passengers, etc. directly prior to arriving on the island. Naomi obviously came in purpose with Widmore’s crew, and knowing Widmore he has the resources to obtain the coordinates of the wormhole. He was looking for this around the same time as his daughter, who sent a crew to the Arctic to find the island’s entry point. We can probably go deeper and say Jacob intervened somehow in bringing certain people to the island, but this current theory is regarding what the island is. Tackling Jacob/MiB is a whole different thing.

OK, but I thought humans could not physically handle traveling beyond lightspeed…
Again, in applying futuristic research they are able to. Warp drive simulates the results of an object or person traveling orders of magnitude faster than the speed of light, but the effect is such that the object or person actually stands still, encased in a warp “bubble” that transports the space around the ship to another location. Sound familiar?

How did this wormhole get there?
This is up to the writers and it may correlate to further reveals of Jacob/MiB, but they could even resort to saying it is too old to even attempt to grasp. A pre-historic explanation for something like that would be fine as long as larger mysteries are answered. Natural phenomenons are one thing, but traveling smoke monsters and defiance of earthly physics are not. To say that even Jacob does not grasp the wormhole’s history would not be unrealistic. Chances are though, they have something up their sleeves.

Where does the island’s infertility work into this?
Oddly enough, the details of this have changed for the island over time. Juliet was brought to the island to help make birth possible. When she was shown a picture of a 26-year-old woman’s womb on the island, she thought it was that of a 70-year-old. Also remember she told Sun that Jin’s sperm count was 100x the norm on the island, whereas off the island he did not have enough sperm to conceive. I am not sure how this can concisely relate to the moon theory, since whether or not one can conceive appears to depend on the time of the island (they were able to conceive at some point, with many exceptions), but this study from NASA is very interesting:

Image from NASA

As you can see, difficulties in conceived on a micro-gravity environment are abundant. Keep this in mind: The only three known methods of creating a micro-g environment are to travel far enough into deep space so as to reduce the effect of gravity by attenuation, by falling, and by orbiting a planet. when Juliet said sperm count increased 100x on the island, keep in mind she had never seen sperm behave in outer space or microgravity. Mis-identifying the vigorous speed of some sperm cells as the normal speed of MANY sperm cells is highly probable as a result, especially when the medical tools Juliet is using is from the 1970s.

Please do not assume that I am definitively saying the island exists in micro-gravity. that example was just used to show how differences in gravity, regardless of how slight they are, unarguably effects the ability to conceive. as to what the alterations in gravity actually are, the finale should elaborate on that. For proof of gravitational anomalies on the island, the lamp post station attempted to locate the island by identifying a certain gravitational anomaly.

Regarding micro-gravity: A micro-g environment (also µg, often referred to by the term microgravity) is one where the acceleration induced by gravity has little or no measurable effect – gravity itself does not change. consequently, the effects we see as viewers are minimal and only shown through experiments in time like the ones farraday did.

I am not even saying it is micro-gravity for sure… IT just seems like the most plausible. What I’m trying to emphasize is that even minor changes in gravity can dramatically effect the ability to conceive.

So, how can you explain how Locke could walk and Rose’s cancer was cured?
These are reactions caused by entry upon this specific type of wormhole. When Oceanic went through this wormhole, the people on the plane had to deal with the wormhole’s effects.  an explanation for the lack of fertility could ALSO be that components of one’s body are altered upon entering the wormhole. cancer can be cured, broken limbs can be mended, your sperm count increases 100x, and a woman’s womb increases in age by 40+ years (further elaborating upon the differences in time). check out this quote to reinforce this: “This symbol is a womb, it’s a gateway, a doorway, it’s the symbol of new life. It’s a symbol of something that can get you from one dimension to another and this just opens up a whole can of worms(holes) of thinking and possibilities.”

the same being said, the differences in gravity (along with the island’s unique electromagnetic and negative energy properties) may also play a role in the occurrence of these “miracles”.

Any other reasons to believe this crazy theory?
Remember when Locke and Ben turned the pinwheel? They dropped about 20 feet underground to do so, encountering a startling change in climate. I would like anyone to name me a place on earth that changes the climate from TROPICAL to TUNDRA after one descends 20 feet. Also, the moon theory answers why planes NEVER fly over the island, why there are never seasonal changes, and what exactly that white light is when one turns the wheel. When Ben ends up in Tunisia, he is laying flat on the ground. Think back to the foot statue now on the bottom of the sea. When it was deposited as a result of “The Incident”, it underwent a procedure very similar to Ben in that it was meant to end up safe on the ground somewhere, but instead ended up on the bottom of the sea where that land (the island) was supposed to be before being moved. And what moved it? The pinwheel moves the wormhole, and “The Incident” obstructs it.

One of the biggest indicators of this theory’s legitimacy is Faraday’s experiments. Recall when he looked up at the island’s sky and remarked on scattering light, saying light did not scatter properly on the island. This, in addition to obvious differences in time between the island and the earth, suggest that the island is located differently than earth is in relevance to the sun and moon. Also take a look at the official DHARMA logo below:

DHARMA LOGO: Earth, its moon, and another moon?

Come on man, how is an island on a moon considered science?
It is science when you look at it from a futuristic perspective (which is often done in shows like these to build the mystery). when you consider the true scientific possibility of a wormhole existing and leading people to anywhere in the universe, anything is possible. to say that a moon exists somewhere in the universe that can house human life is not an actual fact, but it cannot be scientifically disproven (scientists claim 30+ known moons are potentially habitable). this is my point here… I have always watched this show assuming that all aspects could NOT be scientifically disproven. Some aspects like the smoke monster, the lighthouse, non-aging seem absurd, but when these futuristic possibilities arise the audience should regard new scientific breakthroughs and studies.

What can this theory NOT explain?
To tell you the truth, it can answer a lot. But it still does not answer one major question: Why are these people on the island? What the island is has minimal bearing on Jacob and MiB, since they realistically could have been children in the year 23AD who arrived on the island via the same wormhole that everyone else did nearly 2000 years later. I cannot yet theorize on Jacob or MiB because the information involving them is so thin, but after Episode 15 I imagine that things will be a lot clearer.

If Episode 9 does reveal the riddle’s answer to be a “cork”, do not disregard this theory or others entirely. Knowing Lost, it will be a metaphorical explanation that will just tease viewers until it is actually explained. The most definitive explanation, though, must involve elaboration on the Jacob/MiB backstory, so it is easy to see why they will wait until the finale for such a revelation. Considering that the origins of the smoke monster and whispers are also to be revealed around finale time, their cohesive explanations are contingent on the other-worldly (literally) components and unique energy properties that have yet to be fully exposed.

Mike Mineo

I'm the founder/editor of Obscure Sound, which was formed in 2006. Previously, I wrote for PopMatters and Stylus Magazine. Send your music to [email protected].