[ by Charles Cameron — astronaut in a cathedral, nuclear reactor in Gabon ]
I enjoy scoping and snoping out strange claims, and had to check out possible anachronicities not once but twice today — first, to verify the presence of an astronaut in Salamanca’s seventeenth-century (1513-1733 to be more precise) “New Cathedral”:
and then, of a nuclear reactor from two billion years ago in Gabon, West Africa.
Neither one turned out to be von Däniken fool’s gold, but both certainly glisten enough to be worth a mention.
The Salamanca cathedral astronaut is there, carved in stone, all right — but as part of a 1992 renovation. And what’s most interesting to me is that it’s entirely in conformity with tradition for an artist working today on such a restoration to “sign” his work with a contemporary flourish of this sort. It is thus faithful to what Benedict XVI would call the hermeneutic of continuity.
It’s not as old as the sun, of course, by about 3.6 billion years, nor as close to us, nor as vast — but it’s there, it’s there.
for the astronaut, Jeff DeMarco for the reactor, Cheryl Rofer