Thursday, March 09, 2006

ArchaeoBlog goes into Space

First up, more silliness involving the Ark. No, not that Ark, Noah's. From we have Satellite Sleuth Closes in on Noah's Ark Mystery:

High on Mt. Ararat in eastern Turkey, there is a baffling mountainside "anomaly," a feature that one researcher claims may be something of biblical proportions.

Images taken by aircraft, intelligence-gathering satellites and commercial remote-sensing spacecraft are fueling an intensive study of the intriguing oddity. But whether the anomaly is some geological quirk of nature, playful shadows, a human-made structure of some sort, or simply nothing at all—that remains to be seen.

Whatever it is, the anomaly of interest rests at 15,300 feet (4,663 meters) on the northwest corner of Mt. Ararat, and is nearly submerged in glacial ice. It would be easy to call it merely a strange rock formation.

Anything large and made of wood would undoubtedly have gotten so smashed up and crushed under moving ice it would be a pile of sticks by now. Besides, looking at the picture:

Shows that it really looks like a more resistant bit of rock. Note the further curved portion continuing up above the cliff wall. Plus there are more simiarly cuved sections in the upper right corner.

Better space story:
Cassini Finds Signs of Liquid Water on Saturn's Moon

Saturn’s moon Enceladus may have pockets of liquid water lurking beneath its surface, feeding great jets that spew from the satellite and hinting at the possibility of a habitable environment, researchers said Thursday.

Observations from the Cassini spacecraft currently studying Saturn and its myriad moons shows Enceladus, one of the brightest objects in the Solar System, to be a geologist’s dream, with an active plume spewing water and other material spaceward, as well as a hot spot of thermal activity at its south pole.

“This finding has substantially broadened the range of environments in the solar system that might support living organisms, and it doesn't get any more significant than that,” said Carolyn Porco, Cassini imaging team leader at the Space Science Institute in Boulder, Colorado, in an e-mail interview. “I'd say we've just hit the ball right out of the park.”

Apparently, the energy for the acivity comes from gravitational flexing where the planet's (Saturn) gravity acts differentially on the body of the moon causing the whole thing to flex producing friction, thereby heat, resulting in liquid water. Very neat that far away.