This Week’s Where In The Universe Challenge

Article written: 16 Sep , 2009
Updated: 24 Dec , 2015

Here’s this week’s image for the WITU Challenge, to test your visual knowledge of the cosmos. 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 the spacecraft responsible for the 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.

The location of this feature sounds like it could be on the Klingon homeworld, but this is actually a crater on Earth. You can find it in southeastern Mongolia, roughly halfway between Ulaanbaatar and Beijing. It is an ancient crater, called Tabun Khara Obo. This recent image was taken by the Advanced Land Imager (ALI) on NASA’s Earth Observing-1 (EO-1) satellite, acquired August 28, 2009. The crater was first identified as a probable impact crater in 1976, although confirmation of the hypothesis only occurred decades later. Drilling at the site in 2008 revealed rock features consistent with high-speed impacts such as those caused by meteorites.

A few of you had Qapla’ in answering this one. SoH ‘oH intelligent.

Find out more about this image as NASA’s Earth Observatory website, and check back next week for another WITU Challenge!

20 Responses

  1. MarkW says

    Enceladus from Cassini? (merely a guess, but this is the first time I’ve got to a WITU before anyone else)

  2. Jorge says

    Hm… this is a good one. I’m going to say a desert on Earth, somewhere, with an eroded impact feature but I’m far from being sure. The photographer? Maybe the ISS or the Shuttle…

  3. cdat says

    Mongolian Desert
    Tabun Kara Obo


  4. Ringman says

    A desert somewhere on Earth from the ISS.

  5. Nephish777 says

    Sahara Desert by the Tera satellite.

  6. Lawrence B. Crowell says

    I am no good at these. I suspect it is Earth somewhere. The impact or volcanic crater (looks more impact) is heavily filled in with sand or dunes.


  7. MarkW says

    The image looked a lot whiter on my laptop lol

  8. rory says

    hmmm, I was thinking the same as MarkW, however I will go for Dione from Cassini, to be different.

  9. Spoodle58 says

    I think its Mali in West Africa, defiantly Sahara area. Maybe a EOS image.

  10. Dori says

    There are two more semicircular features to the left of the main crater that look older and more eroded. They’re a little easier to see if you zoom in. To the right, there’s a small oval feature that has something green (vegetation?) on the left margin, so there seems to be some water available near the surface. When I zoomed in to 200% I saw a lot of tiny patches of green, including some all around the main crater. So I’ll agree that it’s a desert on Earth somewhere– I have no clue where or by who!

  11. Gintautas says

    Mars > Home plate MER Spirit workplace.
    Taked by MRO or Odyssey orbiter.

  12. Dale says

    Kebira Crater in Chad, photo taken by Landstat

  13. Hannes says

    Klingon warship `Tavan Har Obo` crashed into Proterzoic rock more than 600 million years old.

  14. vino says

    I think it is somewhere in Earth – taken by ISS??

  15. Member
    ToSeek says

    Definitely Earth (only place that would have a single crater by itself with a lot of weathered terrain around it). No idea what mission or instrument.

  16. Douglas Bullis says

    It’s the Tabun-khara-obo impact crater in Mongolia, taken from the ISS. I can’t recall the name of the astronaut or date of the image.

  17. Spoodle58 says

    So I get the spacecraft right but not the crater. 🙁

  18. SuperKevin says

    Well, there’s some green when I zoom into the image so it must be somewhere on Earth.

  19. ROCA says

    Tabun Khara Obo, Mongolia

    The Advanced Land Imager (ALI) on NASA’s Earth Observing-1 (EO-1) satellite acquired this true-color image on August 28, 2009.

    In southeastern Mongolia, roughly halfway between Ulaanbaatar and Beijing, lies this ancient crater: Tabun Khara Obo

  20. Spoodle58 says

    Amazing that you had all that detail in your head ROCA.

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