picture of the day
Credit: NASA/JPL/Space Science Institute
Jun 08, 2007
Holes in Moons … and in Theories
The impact theory of
crater formation may not survive the discovery of gigantic
craters on relatively small moons or rocks. A good case in
point is Saturn’s moon Mimas. Electric Universe proponents
say that only electric discharge could produce the observed
depression without shattering the moon.
How do you make
a 138 km hole in a 392 km ball of ice? If you’ve spent your
life reading textbooks in astronomy, the answer is obvious:
You smash a smaller body into the ball of ice at an
unearthly high speed.
show pictures of circular holes created in laboratory
settings from the impacts of bodies moving at earthly high
speeds. The holes have rounded bottoms and sides; sometimes
they have a hump of debris in the center that rebounded from
the impact. Scale up the lab bullet to the size and speed of
an asteroid, and you have the big hole in the ice ball.
The 138 km hole
on Mimas (image above), a satellite of Saturn, like similar
holes on the Moon, has a flat bottom and steep sides and a
steep pillar in the center. The rim is more “pinched up”
than “thrown out”, and there are small holes all along it.
The textbooks explain that the shape and features are
different from lab impacts because the much
higher—unearthly—speeds of cosmic bodies bring a different
physics into play. So the experimental physics that proves
the hole on Mimas to be an impact site is not the physics
that actually created the hole.
The density of
Mimas is about that of water, so Mimas must be mostly ice,
astronomers tell us. The strength of ice isn’t all that
much, while the energy of the impact was surely “that much”
and more. The experiments with impact cratering suggest that
the unearthly speed of the body claimed to have hit Mimas
must have almost shattered it. But Mimas wasn’t shattered,
so the different physics that produces the different shape
of the hole must also have a selectively restrained effect
were a science, astronomers would examine as many novel
explanations as feasible with available time and resources.
One such novel explanation is that of the
Electric Universe: No
impact ever threatened to shatter Mimas’ cohesive forces.
Instead there were sharply limited pulling forces—a pair of
Birkeland vortices rotating around an axis between them,
electrically cutting away the material in their path and
lifting it into space. The appropriate model is not a lab
impact but industrial electrical discharge machining (EDM).
lab discharge is
limited to producing a single isolated spark, it creates a
crater with exactly the features of cosmic craters—flat
floor, steep sides, central peak.
spire is the material left where the vortices didn’t quite
touch each other at the axis. The flat floor is the evenly
machined surface that is sought in industrial uses of EDM.
The steep sides and “pinched up” rim are where the
electrical cutting force dropped off at the edges of the
vortices. The small craters around the rim are where
secondary arcs struck the highest points as the discharge
matter what Mimas is made of. EDM will cut a crater in ice,
rock, or metal. That’s why craters on planets, moons,
asteroids and comets—and EDM surfaces—all look the same.
That’s why the impact theory inevitably resorts to ad hoc
excuses when different materials experimentally respond to
impact in ways that contradict our observations in space.
It is true that
the electrical machining hypothesis requires a giant
conceptual leap from the direction of prior theory. But when
prior theory no longer works, a giant conceptual leap is
exactly what is needed. We must stop thinking of planetary
history in the uneventful terms once imagined by
astronomers. The space age shattered the notion with
pictures that do not lie.