Meet the new ostensibly "inexplicable" space photo


Face on Mars, meet the X on Mercury. Coming soon to Coast-to-Coast AM, this photo was taken by NASA's Messenger probe. NASA says the X is the result of two separate meteor strikes whose craters are outside the area that can be seen in this photo. When each meteor hit the Mercurian (?) surface, the force of impact threw off material that left behind its own, smaller, craters when it hit the ground. What you're seeing here isn't really an X, but two unrelated, intersecting lines of secondary crater chains.

Or, at least, that's what They want you to believe.


    1. Reminds me — I’ve always had the problem of not seeing craters but raised domes. I can’t seem to manage to get my brain to switch to see depressions.

      1. Rotate the picture 90 deg clockwise or tilt your head left and it is pretty obvious they are craters.

        1. Oh, I *know* they’re craters, but even tilting around any straight-on shot like this I see lumps. Some slight visual processing defect, I imagine.

  1. “So forget any ideas you’ve got about lost cities, exotic travel, and digging up the world. You do not follow maps to buried treasure and ‘X’ never, ever, marks the spot.”

  2. leave it to you scientistic secular types to totally overlook the fact that this is really a cross and a sign that Jeebus loves Mercury too.

  3. This is clearly a message for Mulder and Scully. Keep fighting the good fight you guys!

  4. I see a hornet, and a happy bear, a lot of cartoony eyes looking to their left. Forget that, this is the scarred side of Two-Face’s coin.

  5. There’s a half-drawn line at the bottom of that X. The whole thing looks like an unfinished rune, which, of course, means that the Vikings made it to Mercury.

    1. rune? Looks more like a partially-melted pentagram. OMG actual, physical proof of the existence of Hell!

      Well, that or a DOOM transport pad.

  6. I see the Flame Dagger of the Assassins. (Al Qaeda’s reaching out, apparently.) But we might dig in the middle anyway.

  7. Sure it isn’t a swastika?
    Is that why we never found the secret Nazi Moon-base; because the Nazis were on Mercury all along?

    1. Is that why we never found the secret Nazi Moon-base; because the Nazis were on Mercury all along?

      Clearly its because none of the Apollo missions landed where they could explore the far side.

  8. I suspect that those chains are actually formed by series of broken up pieces of rock/comets that were broken up by tidal forces of the sun. Whenever a loosely bound object like a comet approaches/goes around the sun (or any large enough object) tidal forces tend to want to tear it apart. This is what happened to Shoemaker-Levy 9 before it hit Jupiter in 94.

  9. Funny how this image is made public so soon after the release of Obama’s “birth certificate.”

  10. It’s obviously the hidden city of the Ziox people, before they established their empire in northern Alberta. Somebody call Zap Rowsdower!

    1. ROWSDOWER!?

      Even by internet/MST3K standards, that’s a pretty obscure reference!

  11. This post typifies common bad thinking within the sciences.

    Yes, you can mention meteor craters, secondary impacts, etc. You are discussing causes and means.

    No, you can’t therefore say it is not an ‘X’. Science has almost nothing at all to say about intentionality, much less an exotic intentionality that might be appearing on a remote planetary body.

    This is not to suggest that the image is significant. Science simply has nothing to say about the significance of an image like this. To pretend like it does is to use the authority of science to promote your own view of what is plausible and meaningful.

  12. This must be where Captain Kidd buried his treasure. I had no idea the Quedagh Merchant had space travel capability, that’s fairly awesome for a 17th century merchant vessel.

  13. And once again we run into the human brain’s pattern hunting mechanisms vs random distributions.

  14. I just hope they don’t find a big X drawn on Venus, because that would mean we’re next.

  15. “…the Mercurian(?) surface…”

    I’d go with “Mercurial”, just for fun.

    1. “…the Mercurian(?) surface…”

      I’d go with “Mercurial”, just for fun.

      “Hermian”, surely?

  16. Reposted from this article …
    … and tangentially related to this one about Mercury’s X.

    Maggie, are you still accepting naïve questions?

    We know that any sufficiently large asteroid hitting Earth = Teh Bad. That much is obvious. But, what would the consequences for Earth of a big asteroid hitting our Moon? I have no idea, but assume(!?) it would = teh bad, but not Teh Bad?


  17. With the barb at the bottom it’s clearly a half-drawn pentagram, perfectly circumscribed by the larger crater.

  18. Those of you seeing raised domes are probably conditioned by extensive computer UI use to assume the light source is coming from the upper left of the image.

    On Windows, as well as in the copy of Firefox 4 I’m staring at, that’s how highlights and shadows on interface widgets are drawn. Not sure about the Mac, but my guess would be that it’s the same.

  19. TWO nearby craters ejected IDENTICAL-sized ejecta at PRECISELY 90 degrees? YEah sure NASA we’re that gullible.

    The real story? 753 million years ago a very VERY large spaceship roared (so to speak) past Mercury. It’s Terrawatt gamma cannons burst into life for 300 milliseconds as they scoured a Kilroy into that desolate surface. THEY KNEW that one day it’d be appreciated by the lifeforms which were even then emerging from the oozing murk on Planet Two. The name of that ship? was MESSENGER!!

  20. There be Treasure!

    Of course they didn’t show you the image next to it that says:

    “Here be Dragons!”

    Ye been warned says I!

  21. lol that’s so funny. the x marks the spot thing from the first commenter was the same exact first thought that came to mind when i saw this picture.

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