• Months ago, a strange metal monolith found in Utah sparked a worldwide craze with copycats abound.
  • A more recent development, a metal monolith appearing in Turkey, has been solved.
  • The Turkish government actually took credit for the stunt and used it as a publicity stunt to make a big announcement.

It was a few months ago now that a strange metal structure was discovered in a remote location in Utah’s Red Rock Country. The discovery and viral hype that it sparked led to countless copycats around the globe. Recently, a new metal monolith was found in Turkey, and after a few days, it eventually disappeared. Now we know why.

It was really only a matter of time before some company or organization decided to place a mysterious metal slab somewhere on the planet and use it for publicity. As it turns out, the metal beam found in Turkey was placed there by the Turkish government itself. And while it might seem a little bit lame, the publicity stunt did have a very real and very important announcement attached to it.

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As AP reports, the Turkish government took credit for the monument, and it quickly became clear why. The large metal object was etched with the words “Look at the sky, you will see the Moon,” and that phrase was seen once again during a press conference by Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan.

The event was held to announce the establishment of Turkey’s own space program.“I now present to you Turkey’s 10-year vision, strategy, and aims and I say: ‘look at the sky, you will see the moon,’” Erdogan said during the event, while an image of the monolith appeared behind him on a screen.

As silly as the stunt may have been, the establishment of a new space program is indeed a very big deal. NASA, Roscosmos, and the European Space Agency have long led the charge into space. China is rapidly catching up, and Japan’s JAXA has broken a lot of ground in space as well. Meanwhile, Arab countries are beginning to launch their own long-term space exploration and research efforts, and now Turkey is doing the same. As long as these programs are conducted in the spirit of contribution to the overall good and understanding of our place in the universe, the more people working to answer those questions, the better off we all are.

But the story of Turkey’s metal monolith has one last wrinkle that is actually pretty funny. It seems that whoever decided to place the monument for the Turkish government didn’t bother to tell the owner of the land on which it was placed. When interviewed by news outlets, the man was puzzled by its placement and even more confused when it totally disappeared shortly before the announcement was made. So, either he was in on it and was a really, really good actor, or the metal object was placed without his knowledge. Either way, it was well played.

Mike Wehner has reported on technology and video games for the past decade, covering breaking news and trends in VR, wearables, smartphones, and future tech. Most recently, Mike served as Tech Editor at The Daily Dot, and has been featured in USA Today, Time.com, and countless other web and print outlets. His love of reporting is second only to his gaming addiction.