homeaboutessential guidepicture of the daythunderblogsnewsmultimediapredictionsproductsget involvedcontact

Caption: [Left] A composite radar image of the western hemisphere surface of Venus.
Image Credit: SSV, MIPL, Magellan Team, NASA.
[Right] A low-resolution infrared image of Saturn’s moon, Titan.
Image credit: ESO Titan


pic of the day
  subject index
  abstract archive



Electric Cosmos

The Universe

Plasma Cosmology

Society for



Feb 01, 2005
Titan's Big Sister

One of the major surprises of the Cassini mission to Saturn was the discovery that Saturn’s enigmatic moon Titan seems to have no large craters. If the moon has been in existence for 4.7 billion years in the powerful gravitational well of Saturn, then the nebular hypothesis—assuming accretion of planets and moons by impacts—expected some large craters to dominate the surface relief. When none were found, scientists proposed that Titan had undergone some “resurfacing” process.

It is interesting to note that the same ad hoc proposal was made when Venus was revealed to have a surprisingly youthful surface. But resurfacing is only required if Venus and Titan are assumed to be very old bodies. The Electric Universe model of planet formation identifies both Venus and Titan as newborn members of the solar system. It therefore considers both to be as youthful as their faces look.

In the electric model, massive electrical discharge disfigures the faces of newborn planets and moons. On both Venus and Titan we see the filamented discharge patterns that are expected when arcing occurs through a heavy atmosphere. The planet-girdling, spidery channels on Venus, seen in the picture above, precisely match the patterns of filamentary “Lichtenberg” lightning scars. And on Titan, the first close-up images of its surface by the Huygens probe showed a network of Lichtenberg-like channels. We urge planetary scientists to examine these channels for the telltale signatures of electrical arcing. In particular we should expect the causative agent’s to have shown no regard for the rules of flowing liquid. And chains of craters running along the channels can be expected, though crater chains have no place in the standard interpretation of these channels.

When it comes to Titan’s big sister Venus, planetary geology is strongly reinforced by the historical record, since the unusual appearance and behavior of Venus provoked many extraordinary and global traditions in the ancient cultures. In coming TPODS, therefore, we will examine the story of Venus from both scientific and historical vantage points.


David Talbott, Wallace Thornhill
Amy Acheson
  CONTRIBUTING EDITORS: Mel Acheson, Michael Armstrong, Dwardu Cardona,
Ev Cochrane, C.J. Ransom, Don Scott, Rens van der Sluijs, Ian Tresman
  WEBMASTER: Michael Armstrong

Copyright 2005: