It's been a long time since anyone sent me a picture of something "up there" that really captures my high octane speculation mind, and accordingly, it's been a long time since I've had one of those blogs that's more about a picture than about an article. But when V.T. sent this article, full of pictures, one in particular jumped out at me, and I think you'll see why:
The article is itself an enjoyable "conventional science" look at Ceres, the largest, and first, asteroid discovered. On its own, that "conventional science" view of Ceres is entertaining and a bit provocative as well. We learn all sorts of interesting stuff: scientists have re-classified Ceres from an asteroid to a dwarf planet since it possesses 25% of the estimated mass of the whole asteroid belt. There may be oceans under its surface, it's largely made up of carbon and ammonia and a variety of minerals, and might be able to sustain life. And, it's close to Jupiter, so imagine looking up in the "night" sky and seeing the gigantic planet illuminating the little planetoid. We learn that it was hit by a "something" about 22 million years ago, and so on.
All in all, it's the kind of article one expects. It's bland, enjoyable, gives us some wonderful vistas of a far-off little world, and may be 100% correct.
But then there's this picture:
When I looked closely at this, several anomalies jumped out at me, many of which might be signs of artificial structure on or just under the surface of the little planetoid:
There's lots going on in this picture, but I've selected six (and there are more, if one looks closely) which are crudely marked in my crudely hand-drawn arrows above. The first, and most obvious thing that I noticed - and one can hardly miss it - is the rectangular, nearly square lines to the left of the picture, with its nearly perfect straight lines and ninety degree corners. Even in the center of that rectangle there are four craters, which while somewhat out of alignment with the rectangle, are close to being another square, as if meteor impacts had somehow "targeted" some thing or things that used to be there. But its the rectangle itself that intrigues: how does standard planetoid geology produce that? Not surprisingly, the article doesn't say. In fact, it says little at all about this picture... it's just there. Indeed, we don't even know, from the article, if we're even looking at Ceres at all, I'm just assuming we are. But whatever we're looking at, when one considers the implications, it's stunning and breathtaking.
Immediately above number 1, I've drawn a second arrow pointing to two more or less straight lines that appear to converge on another crater. Again, what geological processes might account for this I do not know, but when confronted by pictures like this, never underestimate the ability of scientists to come up with some story to explain it in purely conventional and natural terms. However, to this hack-from-South Dakota, it looks as if some structure, tunnels perhaps, have collapsed beneath the surface. (There, I said it). Then, looking underneath number 1 at number three, the arrow points to a line of craters that proceeds in a more or less straight line. Again, I don't doubt that after millions of years of meteor impacts, straight lines of them might be formed randomly, except that here we are looking at a region of a planet surface that has relatively few crater impacts. So, I'll walk right to the end of the high octane speculation twig once again, and say that what this reminds me of are those World War Two aerial photo reconnaissance pictures that were taken after Allied bombing runs over Germany, with the bombs making more or less straight lines following the flight paths of the airplanes that delivered them. To the right of this, at arrow number 5, there appears to be another, longer, such line.
At arrow number four in the upper left corner, there's another odd feature that once again is a more or less straight line, and again looking like perhaps some structure beneath the surface has collapsed.
Finally, at arrow 6 in the lower right, one sees yet another rectangular feature outlined once again by two nearly parallel lines of craters, and to the top of that rectangle, yet another straight line looking like another collapse of something beneath the surface, with a small crater almost dead center on that line. The overall impression is, again, of those aerial reconnaissance photos of bombing runs... and that carries with it the nasty implication that we might be looking at deliberately inflicted damage from a precision bombardment of some sort. Meteors do not do this.
Now, here's the clincher: If I can see it, you can surely see it too. And if we can, you can bet your bottom dollar that the photo analysts can see it too, and while they're probably busily inventing ingenious conventional and "purely natural" explanations, they're probably thinking the same things that you and I are.
And that gives a unique twist to the whole idea of "asteroid mining," because some of that "mining" might be cover for extra-terrestrial archeology and perhaps even "archive and technology" recovery. Can you say "Cosmic War"?
See you on the flip side...