Possible artifacts on asteroid YU55

William C. Treurniet, November, 2011

Summary. As asteroid YU55 passed close to the earth on Nov. 7, 2011, radar data was collected that enabled generation of visual images of the surface. Two of these images suggest that the asteroid contains remnants of artificial constructions that may once have existed on a planet prior to its destruction. Asteroid YU55 may have been created by a cataclysm that destroyed a civilization, broke up the planet, and formed the asteroid belt.

On November 7, 2011, between 11:24 a.m. and 1:35 p.m. PST, NASA's Goldstone Solar System Radar obtained data from asteroid 2005 YU55 as it passed near the earth. These data were used to generate 28 images of the asteroid. In a NASA news release, we are told that the period of rotation of the asteroid is about 18 hours, so the images show roughly 10 percent of the asteroid's surface. The resolution of the images is about 4 m/pixel.

The 28 images are concatenated in the following video.

A frame about 19 sec into the video shows an interesting object on the left side of the asteroid about half way up. Figure 1 shows the enlarged frame from the video as well as the frame enhanced with a Gaussian filter which reduces the obvious higher frequency sampling artifacts. This was followed by applying Photoshop's Smart Fix, which "corrects overall color balance and improves shadow and highlight detail" according to the manual.

Original image  Enhanced image 
Figure 1. The "pipe" artifact. 

The object appears anomalous because its texture is markedly smoother than the area around it. It has the appearance of a pipe coming out of the ground, then bending 90 degrees. If it is a real object, the part of the "pipe" parallel to the surface is about 120 m long, and it has a diameter of about 30 m. Figure 2 shows the object cropped from the enhanced image and brightened a bit more.

Figure 2. The "pipe" artifact, cropped and brightened.

A second anomaly appears in a following frame of the video. Monocular cues like occlusion and brightness changes suggest a circular 3D shape projecting from the surface of the asteroid toward the viewer. An analogy might be the shape of a lens projecting from an SLR camera. From left to right, Figure 3 shows the original image, the image enhanced as before, and the image with a graphic overlay to mark the location of the projection. The diameter of the circle marked by the overlaid graphic is about 265 m. It is interesting that a highly reflective spot is located exactly in the center of this circular projection.

Original image  Enhanced image  Graphic overlay 
Figure 3. The circular projection. 

Also somewhat anomalous in this image are the vertical towers with the bright tops on the edge of the asteroid just above the circular projection. The height of the nearest tower is about 45 m and the diameter of the top is about 15 m. Like the "pipe" object, the tower appears to have a smoother texture than the surrounding surface area.


By following the bright spot on the "pipe" elbow over succeeding frames in the video, it is clear that the "pipe" in the first image and the tower in the second image are the same object seen from different perspectives. Given their proximity to each other, the "pipe" and the circular projection may have been functionally related at one time.

The asteroids are thought to be either fragments of a planet that broke up long ago, or rocks that never managed to coalesce into a planet. The latter view is currently favored, but the former view is supported by the above images. That is, the shapes in the images suggest that asteroid YU55 may contain remnants of constructions that once existed on a planet prior to its destruction.