Wednesday, March 28, 2007

Open the Pod Bay Door, Hal.

Well, some of the particulars are not exactly right; it's on Saturn rather than one of Jupiter's moons, and it's a hexagon rather than an obelisk. But apart from that, it seems they may have found the alien device that set human evolution on its path:

One of the most bizarre weather patterns known has been photographed at Saturn, where astronomers have spotted a huge, six-sided feature circling the north pole.

Rather than the normally sinuous cloud structures seen on all planets that have atmospheres, this thing is a hexagon.

The honeycomb-like feature has been seen before. NASA's Voyager 1 and 2 spacecraft imaged it more than two decades ago. Now, having spotted it with the Cassini spacecraft, scientists conclude it is a long-lasting oddity.

"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."

I'd take this as pretty solid evidence of extraterrestrial intelligence. Don't believe me? Well, have you read about the eye at Saturn's south pole? (By the way, am I alone in thinking that the author of that second article got away with a title that he expected his editor would revise?)

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