Wednesday, 1 April 2015

Five Rock Formations From The Solar System Which Resemble Objects On Earth

Intriguing photos from around the solar system...

With various space exploratory bodies from different nations around the world recently coming together to complete the 'Correlation Of Exploratory Space Missions Project', hundreds of fascinating photos from solar system probes have recently been released into the public domain.  Here at Tomorrow's Technology Today we've gone through the files and picked out a selection of images which were of particular note for their curious resemblance to creatures and objects more typically observed on Earth.

Acknowledgement: Our thanks go to guest contributor Professor Martin Feldman for his words of explanation as to how these various rock formations were most likely formed. 

1) The Giant Turtle Of Ganymede

The Giant Turtle Of Ganymede,
easily explained by the 'closed volcano' phenomenon.
This first curious image was taken by the Navigator-4 Probe during its 2009 flyby mission of Ganymede, the largest moon of Jupiter and indeed the largest moon in the solar system.  The rock formation in the photo was discovered near to the magnetic equator of Ganymede and remarkably appears to resemble a giant turtle.

To give you an idea of the scale of the photo, the peak of the 'shell' measures approximately 800 metres in height which to give you a sense of scale is roughly the same height as Ayre's Rock/Uluru in Australia.

Explanation:  Professor Martin Feldman explains, "This is perhaps one of the simplest images to explain and was undoubtedly caused by what astro-geologists refer to as a 'closed volcano'.  The phenomenon is actually quite common throughout the solar system and refers to an eruption of magma that forces its way to the surface only to find its escape route blocked by a rock formation such as the 'shell' in the photo.  When the magma meets the obstruction it is then forced out of the base of the shell at various weak points, and given that the temperatures as far out in the solar system as Jupiter are vastly cooler than here on Earth, the magma subsequently cools very rapidly, solidifying into rock 'appendages' at the base of the shell.

Of course in most cases you rarely end up with such a distinctive looking turtle shaped rock formation, but nevertheless the process of a closed volcano has been observed elsewhere in the solar system on previous occasions."