The moon Phobos is home to a strange unexplained feature, a mysterious monolith. One imagery contractor reviewing Martian probe data considered the possibility that the monolith might be artificial and not just a large rock. Cue the spooky music:
“When people find out about that they are going to say, ‘Who put that there? Who put that there?'”
These are the words of Buzz Aldrin, the second man to walk on the Moon, in 2009. He was talking about a peculiar and solitary large rock, a monolith, that sits on the surface of the Martian moon Phobos.
Aldrin was right: many people are vexed by the Phobos monolith. It has inspired all manner of alien-based conspiracy theories and this fascinating discussion on Reddit. It even gave its name to an album released this year by Les Claypool and Sean Lennon Ono.
So what is it?
The monolith appears to be a large boulder, variously described as building-sized or 90m tall. It stands in a desolate, featureless region of Phobos, which probably makes the monolith seem even more impressive.
But the clock is ticking. In 2015, Nasa suggested that Phobos is now slowly falling apart. Grooves on its surface might be early signs of the process.
Fortunately there is still plenty of time to visit Phobos before it dies. It will not disintegrate for another 30-50 million years.
The Phobos monolith is a large rock on the surface of Mars’s moon Phobos. It is … about 85 m (279 ft) across. A monolith is a geological feature consisting of a single massive piece of rock. Monoliths also occur naturally on Earth, but it has been suggested that the Phobos monolith may be a piece of impact ejecta. The monolith is a bright object near Stickney crater, described as a “building sized” boulder, which casts a prominent shadow. It was discovered by Efrain Palermo, who did extensive surveys of Martian probe imagery, and later confirmed by Lan Fleming, an imaging sub-contractor at NASA Johnson Space Center. Lan Fleming considered the possibility that the Phobos monolith may be artificial and not a geological feature or rock.
This is the most amazing view I’ve seen of Phobos. It may be false color, but you can really feel what it would be like to be there with this one.
“In the full-resolution version of this image, a pixel encompasses 6.8 meters (22 feet), providing a resolution (smallest visible feature) of about 20 meters (about 65 feet). The image is in the HiRISE catalog as PSP_007769_9010.”
The Phobos photo is interesting, but did you know that there is a “monolith” on Mars which looks even more artifical? Cue even spookier music:
… The ‘monolith’, was snapped from 165miles away using a special high resolution camera on board the Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter. After being published on the website Lunar Explorer Italia, it set tongues wagging with space buffs questioning whether there was once life on the Red Planet.
Read more: dailymail.co.uk
What do you think, just big rocks?