Tuesday, June 23, 2015

Off-World Pyramids?

Some conspiracy theorists think that space aliens built the pyramids of Egypt and Mexico. Generally speaking, I think this is usually a case of modern people imagining that the ancients were much less intelligent, which given how evolution works is clearly not true. Their knowledge base and corresponding technologies were different, but in biological terms they lived so recently that only minor genetic variations distinguish them from people alive today.

Recently pyramid-like shapes have been observed on both Mars and Ceres, prompting more speculation about the possibility of alien design. Obviously if the pyramids are constructed rather than natural, the only possibility is that some space-faring race could have built them. Humans have yet to travel that far, and have to rely on unmanned probes.

The Mars pyramid was recently spotted by the Curiosity rover and is shown in the above image.

The pyramid is thought to be about the size of a car, and most people believe it's nothing more than a coincidental rock formation.

However, the YouTube channel ParanormalCrucible goes further, insisting the "near perfect design and shape" means the pyramid is: "the result of intelligent design and certainly not a trick of light and shadow".

Well, I agree with the last part of that quote. I don't think the image is a "trick of light and shadow," I think the object really is pyramid-shaped. But there are a lot of reasons why a natural rock formation might be shaped like that. We have formations right here on Earth that show sharp edges and look like they might be human-made, even though we know that they were formed by geologic activity.

The Ceres "pyramid" is much larger, a mountain that appears to be three miles high. The image taken by the Dawn spacecraft is shown here.

It was found soon after a series of bright spots on the dwarf planet's surface that scientists have yet to definitively explain, but which are most likely ice or salt deposits.

Per a release from NASA, Dawn uses a suite of instruments to analyze the light reflected off Ceres, thereby helping scientists identify the minerals on the dwarf planet's surface. At this point, the bright spots are thought to be ice or salt, though there are other possibilities, too, including geysers or volcanoes of some sort.

Dawn also snapped a photo of a mountain, three miles high and shaped like a pyramid, that protrudes from an otherwise smooth area of Ceres' surface.

The reason I put that in quotes above is that to me the Ceres mountain doesn't look that much like a pyramid. It has a vaguely pyramidal shape, but has nothing like the sharp edges seen on the Mars object.

I would be a lot more impressed by the coincidence of these two objects being spotted together if their sizes weren't so different. One is about the size of a car and the other is three miles high. And given the sheer number of objects that our space probes are scanning all the time, there were eventually going to come across a few that look the same.

So I think the conspiracy theorists will have to wait awhile longer for proof of alien life. Much like the "face on Mars," which at first looked interesting but then did prove to be merely a trick of light and shadows, these pyramids would seem to be one more example of natural features that happen to resemble structures built by humans, at least superficially.

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