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 Bright rays extend from Mercury's Kuiper crater. Credit: NASA/Johns Hopkins
University Applied Physics Laboratory/Carnegie Institution of Washington


Oct 10, 2008
Kuiper Crater's Rays

The latest images from the MESSENGER mission reveal a planetary surface similar to Earth's Moon. Are both bodies the progeny of one electrical parent?

The MErcury Surface, Space ENvironment, GEochemistry, and Ranging (MESSENGER) spacecraft has completed its second flyby of the planet Mercury on its way to an orbital insertion in 2011. Features not previously seen in such detail are found in the latest images. For example, many craters on the far side of Mercury, such as Kuiper, are surrounded by bright linear deposits called "rays." The rays are reminiscent of those that radiate outward from Tycho, a giant crater on Earth's Moon.

Tycho and Kuiper are similar in their morphology and in size. Tycho is approximately 85 kilometers in diameter while Kuiper measures 65 kilometers. Just like Tycho, Kuiper crater exhibits a mountainous formation in the center.

Central peaks in circular depressions on planets and moons are theorized to be the result of subterranean material "rebounding" after an asteroid impact. The strata is said to become molten, heaving up like waves in water and then instantly freezing in place, forming a pinnacle and multiple ridges that outline the perimeter. The brighter ray material is thought to be different in composition from the surrounding plains because it was blasted out from deep beneath the crust and is "unweathered."

The floor of Kuiper crater is flat and smooth, again much like Tycho, with periodic undulations that could indicate frozen ripples left behind when the molten surface re-solidified. However, an impact hypothesis  fails to find support in hypersonic pellet experiments or in the evidence from atomic explosions. Not even hydrogen bombs create flat, melted crater floors.

A closer examination of the bright surface rays around Kuiper crater reveals smaller craters mixed in with the shallow streamers—a phenomenon much like that seen on the Moon. In fact, many of the rays terminate in small craters. According to conventional analysis, the tiny craters around Tycho (most too small to be resolved with Earth-based telescopes) are "secondary impact points" created by larger chunks of crust interspersed amidst the dusty debris thrown out from the initial strike.

Because Mercury has no atmosphere and no magnetic field to shield it from the Sun, it may be possible to describe it in terms that have previously been applied to the Moon. If the craters and rays so prominent there can be explained by electrical activity, then Mercury's features might also be illuminated by that electrical hypothesis.

Ralph Juergens has been mentioned several times in previous Picture of the Day articles, with many Electric Universe concepts based on his work. In an initial 1974 treatise that took issue with the consensus opinion regarding lunar formations, he wrote:

"....not only the presence of the secondary craters in connection with 'each ray element,' but their placement always 'at the near end,' poses a problem for the ejection hypothesis. Is it conceivable that larger objects randomly mixed with fines in ejecta streams would always manage to drop to the surface just at the inner ends of fallout patterns produced by the fines? The strange proportions of Tycho's long rays seem all-but-impossible to reconcile with ejection origins. Enormous velocities of ejection must be postulated to explain the lengths of the rays, yet the energetic processes responsible for such velocities must be imagined to be focused very precisely to account for the ribbon thin appearance of the rays."

Juergens surmised that Tycho crater was a lightning scar—the touchdown point for a plasma discharge between two electrically charged celestial bodies. The hard, smooth, radar-reflective floor of Tycho, as well as the lack of depth to its rays, indicated to him that kinetic forces from mechanical impact were not sufficient to explain those attributes.

According to Juergens, Tycho's rays are the paths that electrons formed when the secondary discharge erupted into space, completing a circuit with the lighting leader stroke. It is probable, based on that analysis, that rays around craters are not ejected material that flew outward from an impact event, but are the mark of charged particles rushing inward toward the center, dragging fine dust along with them because of attractive forces.

Rays, central peaks and flat floors are not the only peculiar aspects to craters observed on Mercury, Earth's Moon, and other smaller moons circling the gas giant planets. Concentric rings like bulls-eye targets are another. In Picture of the Day articles about Jupiter's moon Callisto, Saturn's moon Tethys, and Mercury itself, multi-ringed basins have been shown to be a signature of electric discharge machining (EDM). The latest images from MESSENGER display other concentric craters, such as Vivaldi, in addition to the more well-known Caloris Basin.

Regarding EDM effects on planetary bodies, especially Mercury, Electric Universe theorist and author Wal Thornhill wrote:

"In the case of the interplanetary thunderbolt, we are talking about billions of amperes (giga-amperes). Such a powerful current will magnetically ‘pinch’ down to produce circular ringed craters and features like Caloris. Current flows radially between the current cylinders through the surface layers causing melting and etching of the crater floor or basin. So, paradoxically, a more sustained but widespread (and therefore lesser current density) discharge was probably responsible for the huge Caloris basin. The pattern of ‘fractures’ on the floor of Caloris basin is similar to the radial and concentric discharge patterns seen in the dense plasma focus device where the discharge current is forced to flow radially between two concentric conductors."

Taken together, it is more likely that Mercury's strange terrain is not so strange after all. What appears unusual to the consensus scientific community is readily explicable if electricity is considered to be one of the forces involved. Whenever conventional scientists admit to being puzzled, or whenever "unexpected" results are returned by space probes, it is a sure bet that they are not taking into account the power of the force that steers the stars.

By Stephen Smith


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The Electric Sky and The Electric Universe available now!


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

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