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Sunday, April 1, 2007

Galactic Geometers

Unlike some government agencies, NASA is in danger of losing it's funding. Americans have lost much of their romanticism for space travel, and with ex-astronauts popping up in mugshots instead of on Wheaties boxes, who can blame them. So the struggling space agency loves to spark controversy in the press. I suspect that's exactly what they intend from the latest Cassini probe videos. The images clearly show a giant hexagon rotating above the north pole of Saturn. My main reason for this suspicion is that the same images were recorded by Voyagers I and II with little fanfare.

I'm sure it's just a matter of time before this one gets linked to little green men. Unlike the alleged face on Mars, at least this feature actually exists. While it is bizarre, embedded within a chaotic system like weather, I feel pretty confident in saying that it is a natural phenomenon. Look at how common the hexagon is in nature. Both diamond crystals and honeybees use its architecture.

So I wouldn't begin planning the First Contact welcoming party just yet.

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