Is it Aliens?

Tuesday, March 27, 2007


The image shown is of the north pole of Saturn (still considered a planet as of this writing) taken by the Cassini spacecraft. What explains the very regular hexagonal shape clearly visible?

"This is a very strange feature, lying in a precise geometric fashion with six nearly equally straight sides," said Kevin Baines, atmospheric expert and member of Cassini's visual and infrared mapping spectrometer team at NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory, Pasadena, Calif. "We've never seen anything like this on any other planet. Indeed, Saturn's thick atmosphere where circularly-shaped waves and convective cells dominate is perhaps the last place you'd expect to see such a six-sided geometric figure, yet there it is."

29 comments:

Skookumchuk said...

Cool. Even better than Chesley Bonestell.

Buddy said...

but, our spaceship is in THEIR atmosphere--so, we're the aliens this time. Hah!

chuck said...

Heh, but no artist trying for realism would have imagined a hexagon. Some sort of standing wave I would guess, although the straight sides are hard to explain. Maybe some alien race built large structures at the vertices ;)

chuck said...

Oh, wait a minute. That is obviously a hex nut holding the planet in place on its axis.

you are me said...

2007: A Space Oddity. Instead of Strauss, play Rimsky-Korsakov’s Flight of the Bumblebee for the honeycomb hexagons.

It could be Bucky Fuller’s resting spot. But what particularly comes to mind is that space is not the final frontier. Consciousness is.

Skookumchuk said...

Yes, the straight sides leave me stumped, too. Too bad I had to study so hard in physics, only to forget it all...

terrye said...

I am old enough to know who Bucky Fuller is. Depressing.

But really, what the hell is it?

Buddy said...

whatever it is, it's BIG--15,000 miles across.

bobalharb said...

It's the head-quarters of their defense establishment, you numbskulls.

Buddy said...

No, those only have FIVE sides.

Knucklehead said...

Whatever it is you may be sure it is a bad consequence of George W. Bush's hatred of the environment.

Buddy said...

That's fer sure. Even if it's not true, it's true.

Knucklehead said...

The Saturn north pole hexagon has not been visible to Cassini's visual cameras, because it's winter in that area, so the hexagon is under the cover of the long polar night, which lasts about 15 years. The infrared mapping spectrometer can image Saturn in both daytime and nighttime conditions and see deep inside. It imaged the feature with thermal wavelengths near 5 microns (seven times the wavelength visible to the human eye) during a 12-day period beginning on Oct. 30, 2006. As winter wanes over the next two years, the feature may become visible to the visual cameras.

Yikes! I like the four seasons just fine but 3 months or so is enough winter! Fifteen years of polar nights.

Skookumchuk said...

Then today, it sorta looks like a butterhorn, but then I didn't have breakfast.

Buddy said...

yes--after your oatmeal, it'll be back to ALIENS!

Skookumchuk said...

Oatmeal with fresh strawberries, actually.

But it still looks like a butterhorn, though maybe an alien butterhorn.

Buddy said...

"alien butterhorn" I think takes the internet to a new place.

Skookumchuk said...

Sadly, I don't think Chesley Bonestell ever painted a butterhorn. Just to get back on the thread and all.

Buddy said...

Ahg, what a Philistine I am. I had thought he was a made-up joke name.
He's that guy!

Skookumchuk said...

I even Googled it, just in the interests of professional blogging accuracy.

bobalharb said...

If it ain't the Hexagon, maybe it's a missed Clay Pigeon from Thor's Skeet and Gun Club

Buddy said...

Good gravy--each bullet is the size of our solar system, and shoots out @ 400 km/sec. Lessee, a million and a half kph, that's almost a million miles per hour. Jeez, my haid hurts, me no sabby comprendo.

Skookumchuk said...

Dammit Buddy, what kind of Spanish is that? It is " no sabe comprendo." Sheesh.

Rick Ballard said...

Like the alien problem isn't difficult enough already. How much will a space fence cost?

Skookumchuk said...

How much would a fence cost? 6.02 X 10 to the 23rd alien butterhorns. That's just a quick Galactic Means Estimate, mind you.

Buddy said...

Mi no sabe comprendo quien necesita tener un steenkin perfectionisto.
:-(

(psst, Rick--don't let Dennis Kuchinich hear that!)

Skookumchuk said...

So sorryo si lo ofendidio. Or somethin'.

All you guys talking about butterhorns has got me hungry. I say we go out for enchiladas. Buddy's buyin'.

chuck said...

The honorable Dick Durbin has posted his recipe for butterhorns. I hope it is a bipartisan roll.

Buddy said...

Ah, shoot--that's such a home-spun recipe page--I musta been wrong about ole Dick Durbin. Why, he's okay, so what if he's a l'il traitorious now n' then.