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astrophotographer
2009-Jul-26, 06:18 PM
I was reading some very strange blogs and apparently Buzz Aldrin made the claim that there is a "monolith" on the moon of Phobos that we need to go look at.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bDIXvpjnRws

About time 0:30

Now the video stops right after this. I am curious what he added. However, this is really red meat for conspiracy nuts. You can see these websites about the "monolith"

http://www.vgl.org/webfiles/mars/phobos2/phobos2.htm

http://palermoproject.com/Mars_Anomalies/PhobosAnomalies1.html

These are also sites promoting the "face on mars" stuff.

Why would Aldrin make such a "crazy" comment? Does he believe that this "monolith" (which looks like a small peak to me) is built by some intelligence? Does anyone know anything about this as far as Aldrin is concerned?

Gawdzilla
2009-Jul-26, 06:21 PM
It's another "one way or the other" moment.

gzhpcu
2009-Jul-26, 06:29 PM
Wonder if Buzz isn't just kidding around with an allusion to the famous monolith found on the moon in Clarke's 2001...:)

ginnie
2009-Jul-26, 08:36 PM
A monolith can be a natural structure such as Ayers Rock or the Rock of Gibraltar. And as Buzz says in the video, "the universe put it there" on Phobos. Doesn't sound too strange - he's just saying there are interesting formations in the solar system that are worth exploring.

LaurelHS
2009-Jul-26, 08:48 PM
This reminds me of the "UFO" Aldrin allegedly saw during Apollo 11. No matter how many times he says it was an SLA panel, people still think he saw an alien spacecraft. I suspect he's being misinterpreted again.

Trystero
2009-Jul-26, 09:10 PM
I think that Aldrin was talking about this "monolith" on Phobos:

http://ida.wr.usgs.gov/html/sp2551/sp255103.html

http://www.astronomy.com/asy/objects/images/mgs_phobos_boulder_500.jpg

tbm
2009-Jul-27, 01:53 AM
I was reading some very strange blogs and apparently Buzz Aldrin made the claim that there is a "monolith" on the moon of Phobos that we need to go look at.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bDIXvpjnRws

About time 0:30

Now the video stops right after this. I am curious what he added. However, this is really red meat for conspiracy nuts. You can see these websites about the "monolith"

http://www.vgl.org/webfiles/mars/phobos2/phobos2.htm

http://palermoproject.com/Mars_Anomalies/PhobosAnomalies1.html

These are also sites promoting the "face on mars" stuff.

Why would Aldrin make such a "crazy" comment? Does he believe that this "monolith" (which looks like a small peak to me) is built by some intelligence? Does anyone know anything about this as far as Aldrin is concerned?

Right from the VGL homepage:

ŠThis site is dedicated to the examination of unusual features on the surface of the
Moon, with the possibility in mind that some of them might be artificial."

And from the palermo site:

"I attended the Richard Hoagland Seminar in New Mexico, Feb 21-23, '03 Click here for pics and data."

Not terribly unbiased sources.

tbm

novaderrik
2009-Jul-27, 02:34 AM
I think that Aldrin was talking about this "monolith" on Phobos:

http://ida.wr.usgs.gov/html/sp2551/sp255103.html

http://www.astronomy.com/asy/objects/images/mgs_phobos_boulder_500.jpg
nothing special there- just a pyramid in a field full of domes..

Beagle 2's Parachute Cord
2009-Jul-27, 10:49 AM
A monolith is a geological feature such as a mountain, consisting of a single massive stone or rock, or a single piece of rock placed as, or within, a monument. Erosion usually exposes the geological formations, which are most often made of very hard and solid metamorphic or igneous rock.

The word derives from the Latin word monolithus from the Greek word μονόλιθος (monolithos), derived from μόνος ("one" or "single") and λίθος ("stone").

From Wikipedia.

The primary definition of monolith is a single rock. It doesn't necessarily (or even primarily) have any connotations of artificiality. The word has been hijacked somewhat by Arthur C Clarke. ;)

matthewota
2009-Jul-28, 03:32 PM
Well, it is just an ordinary rock. Case closed.

kheider
2009-Jul-28, 06:10 PM
Wow, on the UMSF forum I received a warning "This is your first, last and only warning..." for posting a serious question about this "monolith story"... No wonder I have so few posts over there. They have a tendency to bolster the image of scientists and engineers as being too uptight.

Phil, only look here if you want to laugh and cry at the same time:
http://palermoproject.com/Mars_Anomalies/PhobosAnomalies2.html

I have tried to update wikipedia to at least allow people to form their own opinion:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Phobos_%28moon%29#Future_missions

kheider
2009-Jul-28, 06:40 PM
What is the difference between a SP2 image and a non-SP2 image:
http://ida.wr.usgs.gov/html/orb_0551/55103.html
http://ida.wr.usgs.gov/html/sp2551/sp255103.html

jumpjack
2009-Aug-01, 05:33 PM
My 2 cents:

if I interpret correctly data for MOC Image sp255103, it results that the object is around 30 meters wide and 107 meters tall.

http://www.msss.com/moc_gallery/ab1_m04/images/SP255103.html

Longitude of image center: 20.16░W
Latitude of image center: 28.61░N
Scaled pixel width: 2.43 meters
Scaled image width: 5.19 km
Scaled image height: 20.84 km
Solar longitude (Ls): 28.76░
Local True Solar Time: 17.31 decimal hours
Emission angle: 19.84░
Incidence angle: 43.57░ (90░ - 43.57░= 46.43░ sun elevation)
Phase angle: 62.71░

http://img444.imageshack.us/img444/4519/monolitophobosmarte.png


I don't think it would be normally possible in Earth gravity.
Maybe it is in phobos almost non-gravity?

Jeff Root
2009-Aug-02, 12:28 AM
The Sun angle is nowhere near 46░ in that image. I doubt it is even a
quarter of that.

-- Jeff, in Minneapolis

JonClarke
2009-Aug-02, 06:41 AM
What is the difference between a SP2 image and a non-SP2 image:
http://ida.wr.usgs.gov/html/orb_0551/55103.html
http://ida.wr.usgs.gov/html/sp2551/sp255103.html

Because the board rules specifcally exclude any discussion about SETI. It's their board, they make the rules.

jumpjack
2009-Aug-02, 07:14 AM
The Sun angle is nowhere near 46░ in that image. I doubt it is even a
quarter of that.

-- Jeff, in Minneapolis

why not?
46░ is the official data provided with the image!


Incidence angle
Derived for the center of the image, this is the angle between the Sun and a "normal" drawn perpendicular to the planet's surface at the time the image was acquired. A higher incidence angle means that a person standing on the ground would see the sun lower toward the horizon.

In the Planetary Data System cumindex.tab file, this datum is called INCIDENCE_ANGLE and is found in column 14.
http://www.msss.com/moc_gallery/ab1_m04/explain.html#col14


it could be slightly different not being the image map projected, but not so much, being our "object" almost in the middle of the image.

The only thing I can't understand is "Pixel aspect ratio: 0.60": does it mean image is stretched and that actual width should be almost doubled?

jumpjack
2009-Aug-02, 08:33 AM
Image stretched to get circular rather than elliptical craters, and rotated to get a "better view".
The "feeling", which I am not able to support by scientific evidence :whistle:, is that it is not acttually a tower, but a big rock over a small hill, thus casting a low shadow due to the slope behind the rock.
Only "evidence" is presence of several others minor "towers" all around, which actuallu make thing sun elevation CAN't be 45, maybe it is around 20 or less?

So, in conclusion... I don't know. :whistle:

jumpjack
2009-Aug-02, 08:46 AM
examining the photo made me think: wouldn't it be possibile to determine terrain height just by processing the "shadow values"?
I mean, the more the surface is directed toward the sun, the more it is enlightened. So, is the brightness of each single pixel proportional to its slope? If so, it would mean that we just need a "horizontal reference" to start from, to be able to know height of each pixel on the image.

We can't know in advance which grey level is associated to 0░ slope, but we should be able to figure out "relative slope" of each pixel, so if we decide a starting height and we go forward adding/subtracting height depending on slope, we should be able to figure out terrain profile from a single non-stereo image.

All of this only supposing whole terrain of same colour, of course.

eburacum45
2009-Aug-02, 11:14 AM
Here are a few images of other boulders in the vicinity, including their shadows; the 'monolith' is the last one on the right.
http://img200.imageshack.us/img200/1362/monoliths.png
As you can see, the shadow length of each boulder is considerably longer than it is wide, which suggests that the incident angle of the sunlight is less than 46 degrees.
Although this is a large boulder, it is not phenomenally tall, assuming that the shadow length is a measure of anything.

Much of the fuss seems to be connected with a white edge on the area supposedly in shadow behind the 'monolith' , which is interpreted as a vertical face; instead it might be a horizontal feature, extending behind the boulder, of which we can only see a tiny fraction.

But we woud need another image at similar resolution taken at a different angle to determine the facts. Perhaps one already exists. If not, I'm sure we'll get one eventually.