Where In The Universe #69

Article written: 2 Sep , 2009
Updated: 24 Dec , 2015

Here’s this week’s image for the WITU Challenge, to test your visual knowledge of the cosmos, and I swear, this one is space related. But you know what to do: take a look at this image and see if you can determine where in the universe this image is from; give yourself extra points if you can name any spacecraft involved in this image. We’ll provide the image today, but won’t reveal the answer until tomorrow. This gives you a chance to mull over the image and provide your answer/guess in the comment section. Please, no links or extensive explanations of what you think this is — give everyone the chance to guess.

UPDATE: The answer has been posted below.

Well, I have to say my favorite answer this week was from MageAshke who suggested this might be the Heart of Gold using its Infinite Improbability Drive. However that answer is incorrect. This is actually the interior of an anechoic chamber that was used to measure radiation patterns and performance of the Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter’s high gain antenna. An anechoic chamber is a shielded room designed to attenuate sound or electromagnetic energy. You can read about NASA’s anechoic testing facilities here, and see more pictures from LRO about the different tests for the spacecraft here.

I hope you enjoyed this week’s unusual WITU Challenge! If so, check back next week for another test of your visual knowledge of the cosmos!

23 Responses

  1. ND says

    some lab testing radio receiver/transmitters used on satelites?

  2. Jorge says

    Well, this is on Earth, and there’s no spacecraft used to produce this image. As to what it is… well, it’s a lab of some sort. A detection chamber. Cosmic rays? Neutrinos? Dunno.

  3. Lawrence B. Crowell says

    This appears to be man made, and not a numerical simulation. It looks a bit like the interior of a sound chamber (eikonial (sp?) chamber). It could be an EM cavity as well. I conjecture the fan-like elements are meant to attenuate waves (EM or sound) modes transverse to the direction of view. If this is not a chamber, then it is some sort of antenna horn.


  4. HeadAroundU says

    That’s where you fall when you play Prince of Persia. 😀

  5. Mr.No.Scope says

    The interior of a solar telescope? Maybe?

    Or one of the many places on the Deathstar to shove wayward evil emperors.

  6. duff08 says

    looks a little like the telescope which discovered the cosmic background radiation.
    so i guess it could be the planck space telescope.

  7. skivee says

    It’s an anechoic chamber for testing radio emission and interference of components of spacecraft. Or maybe the spikey maw of the square-mouthed deathworm of Beta Pictoris 2…maybe.

  8. Mike Lynch says

    The salt mines on Mars

  9. Astrofiend says

    Yeah – looks like a big feed horn antenna or something. Those baffles on the side are a bit confusing. Maybe they are there to collimate or prevent turbulence in some sort of fluid flow, or to kill off reflected radiation?

    Perhaps it’s an expansion chamber for some sort of propulsion experiment?

    Good one Nancy! Not impossibly obscure, but hard none-the-less!

  10. Astrofiend says

    Actually yeah – what skivee said.

  11. General Zod says

    I’ve seen it. It’s the Phantom Zone.

  12. skivee says

    Zod ! Why should we believe that you want to help us humans? You are consumed with your hatred of Jor-Al.

  13. kootstar says

    The back of my muddled mind says ground testing unit of an earlier, unfolding solar panel/umbrella idea, not long after the Voyager satellites. Either that or interior of the “shock absorber” connection device for joining into ISS?????

  14. PolishBear says

    Looks like either part of an anechoic chamber or some electronic listening device.

  15. Roen says

    This is soundproofing, maybe over some stage setup.

  16. MageAshke says

    The Heart of Gold using its Infinite Improbability Drive.

  17. neoguru says

    Looks like I get my wish! NOBODY’s gonna get this one! I don’t believe it’s microscopic, but it could be! I’ll guess the interior of some sort of specialized directional audio antenna. Good one Nancy!

  18. Ionguy says

    The acoustic absorbent interior lining of an air duct in the ISS.

  19. tripleclean says

    I have to jump in to this one. I think it is looking inside a microwave antenna from one of those background telescopes like compton or WMAP. If that guess isnt right then I’ll guess WORMHOLE.
    Keep it up!

  20. Tiger01 says

    it;s the Solar Dynamics Observatory (SDO)

  21. mikmel says

    1st try for me. I think it may be a sound reduction chamber ( or part of the chamber.)
    I have seen these convergent -divergent shapes before in engine test cells. They are used to reduce the noise outside the building to a level acceptable by the public.
    this one is used perhaps to test the engines for manovering or thrusters for some rocket.

  22. Mike Lynch says

    OK, This is not a photo.

    It is some sort of computerized representation of something.

    I just don’t know what.

  23. Vanamonde says

    Okay, that was fun but let’s take a break from locations within the Earth’s atmosphere for awhile. Let’s look UP!

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