And you thought the Denali was huge… Think again.
As of Thursday, NASA’s Dawn spacecraft discovered a new mountain on the surface of the dwarf planet Ceres. Not only is it an atypically large mountain for the small planet but its symmetry and appearance are eliciting all kinds of responses and theories from astronomers and physicists alike.
What are the pecularities you ask?
- The mountain rises 4 miles from the surface, which is taller than Denali.
- Glowing streaks appear on its flanks
- The shape of the mountain is a conical shaped pyramid
- Part of the mountain is dark and the other side retains glowing streaks
Although I’d like to think of the mountain as an ode to some celestial alien king. Most scientists believe it to be the result of ice, salt, or mud… Maybe even a combination of the three. But with the likely theories out of the way let’s get to the more eccentric theories presented by cnet.com.
Here Are Some of the Out-There Theories
1. Solar Concentrators- Many scientists believe our best chance of finding alien life forms is to spot solar concentrators or reflection points on distant planets. The thinking behind this theory is easily explained. Most likely intelligent life forms would use lenses to view far into space and a solar concentrator that reflects light would be sure-fire sign of alien life.
2. Spaceship- Who doesn’t want to believe that the illuminated streaks down the side of the Denali sized mountain are akin to landing gear lights on an aircraft? Just the thought that the whole pyramid shaped mountain could lift out of the planet and take off at light speeds to another solar system is enough to get anyone reading L. Ron Hubbard. Tom Cruise here we come!
3. Cryovolcanoes- Or “Ice Volcanoes” that erupt with massive explosions of water and ice could be causing the the reflective streaks down the side of the mountain. Scientists claim that such volcanoes should exist on the edge of solar systems. However, volcanic terrain does not fall in line with the surrounding area and most believe that this is not the case on Ceres.
Also don’t forget about the mountains and snow Dawn found last month on Pluto’s surface: Houston… We have Snowfall on Pluto