Ten years ago, satellite observations by NASA detected a gravitational anomaly in the Wilkes Land section of Antarctica. The gravitational changes caused scientists to discover a massive impact crater and, at its center, a huge object buried under the Antarctica ice. The object is more than 151 miles long and a half mile thick.
So . . . it’s an asteroid, right? We know that, from time to time, Earth has been struck by asteroids, leaving impact craters scattered across the globe. Some scientists believe that large asteroid strikes, and the impact they have had on the planet’s climate, are responsible for some of the mass extinctions seen in the fossil record. An enormous asteroid striking Antarctica could be responsible for the great Permian-Triassic extinction event, when something happened that wiped out almost all of the plant and animal life on Earth, on both land and in the sea, about 250 million years ago.
Not so fast! Ancient meteor strikes aren’t really all that interesting, are they? I mean, that just makes this intriguing anomaly a super big rock buried in ice. And in fact, when the massive object under the icy wastes of Wilkes Land was first discovered, nobody paid much attention to it. But when a UFO hunting outfit recently posted a YouTube video about the Antarctica anomaly, suddenly the conspiratorially minded among us started to get interested.
So now the internet with abuzz with the possibility that the massive object could be an ancient UFO, or maybe an alien landing base. Or the lost city of Atlantis! Or the entrance to the creepy underworld lair called “Hollow Earth.” Or — my favorite — a massive base secretly built by the Nazis where they planned to develop and use “flying saucers.” Lucky for us that those inventive Nazis spent the time, money, and effort to build an enormous snow-encased base for flying saucers, when they could have used those resources, and those flying saucers, to avoid losing the war instead!
I think the possibility that we’ve located a gigantic asteroid that almost killed off every life form on Earth seems pretty interesting, but for some people nothing is as fascinating as speculating about Nazis and UFOs.