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Titan's south polar region (bottom left). Credit: NASA/JPL/Space Science Institute



Cassini Equinox Titan Update
Dec 31, 2009

Almost a year into its extended mission, Cassini continues to reveal Titan's chaotic, enigmatic surface.

On October 15, 1997 NASA launched the Cassini-Huygens spacecraft on a mission to explore Saturn and its family of moons, particularly Titan. It was the largest payload ever sent out to deep space, weighing almost six tons. It needed most of the seven year journey to Saturn for gravity boosts from Venus, Earth, and Jupiter because it could not carry enough onboard fuel to blast straight out to its target. As it was, the proposed decade-long flight, with engine burns, instrument usage, and radio transmissions to Earth, required that it carry several kilograms of plutonium as its primary power source.

On January 14, 2005 the Huygens probe separated from its mothership and successfully landed on the frigid moon. In June of 2008, the official mission timeline came to an end. It was renamed Cassini Equinox to commemorate the change of seasons on Saturn as the Sun passed through Saturn's equinox and began to illuminate the giant planet from the North. For the four year term of its original mission, Saturn was lit from the South, so NASA engineers are taking advantage of this rare opportunity.

Cassini recently flew close by Titan, and on June 6, 2009 its cameras will once again trace out a swath of radar images as it skims past the planet-sized moon at a distance of 965 kilometers from the surface. It is expected that the same low-lying regions NASA scientists refer to as "lakes," as well as the dendritic channels referred to as "river valleys," will dominate the conversation once the images are analyzed.

For years NASA has maintained that Titan's predominantly methane atmosphere has to be constantly replenished somehow, because so much of it is destroyed by sunlight. If the moon is as old as current theories propose, with that much leakage the atmosphere should have entirely evaporated long ago. The only mechanism that astrophysicists could imagine as a source was oceans of liquid methane beneath the dense cloud cover.

The Huygens lander quickly dispersed that idea when it touched down on what appeared to be a flat, rock-strewn plain. No methane droplets were detected falling from the sky, or precipitation of any kind for that matter, and no pools of methane were seen anywhere within its field of view. Instead, orbital images confirmed a dry surface when vast areas covered with dunes several meters high were seen. The dune fields, along with evidence for deeply carved channels over several hundred square kilometers, demonstrated that forces other than flowing liquids had been at work on Titan.

One of the principle tenets of Electric Universe theory is that the Solar System has been the scene of catastrophic encounters between charged planetary bodies at sometime in the recent past. Electric fields interacting with gigantic clouds of plasma caused major disruptions both in orbital arrangements and geological stability among the planets and moons. Indeed, many new objects may have been added to the mix in the form of cometary bodies scaling down in size from something as big as Venus to particles small enough to make up Saturn's rings.

If it can be suggested, based on the presupposition that Electric Universe proposals are correct, that Venus is a new member of the Solar System, then why not apply the same theory to Titan? If Titan is a relatively new addition to Saturn's system of some 60 moons, then the fact of its methane atmosphere does not indicate replenishment, but youth. There simply hasn't been enough time for Titan to lose its atmosphere—its atmosphere has only recently been created.

Titan is second only to Venus in its atmospheric density. However, what also prompted planetary scientists to come up with the "replenishment" theory to account for it is that Titan is too small, with too little gravity to hold an atmosphere so dense. Assumptions from conventional theories of Solar System evolution are invalid when it comes to Titan if it is billions of years old.

If, like Venus, Titan is not an ancient member of an even more ancient system of planets, but is a new member of an entirely remodeled system that has come about recently, then new ways of describing its structure and behavior must be considered.

A principle advocate of Electric Universe concepts, Wal Thornhill, has written several articles and offered many opinions about Titan and its place in an electrically charged Solar System:

"We must therefore allow that Venus and Titan may both have new surfaces if planets and moons are not formed through accretion by impacts billions of years ago. The 'befuddlement' and 'mystery' may prove to be the result of an unquestioned belief in that [billions-of-years-ago] hypothesis. Predictions based on that story have had no success in the space age. So we may be confident that planets did not accrete from a solar nebula."

Electrical activity on a scale sufficient to carve out craters and mountain ranges is something that is never reported in the conventional press. When it comes up at all, in a comments section or a blog, the idea is often mocked or banned more than it is given any consideration.

When there is room in the thoughts of reasonable people to apply easily understood elements of electrical theory to observations that otherwise elicit confusion when plugged into standard models, there will be more clarity of perception. Observations do not create new theories, observations are inserted into parameters that are previously established according to a hypothesis.

The Electric Universe hypothesis provides a more complete picture when the images and data from probes and telescopes are inserted into it. The primary reason it is not considered a viable model is the time element involved. It is a foregone conclusion among its opponents that the Solar System is much as it was since its initial formation billions of years ago. To consider a 10,000 year time frame is tantamount to blasphemy.

As has been publicized in these pages many times, though, a change in thought often occurs when it is least expected. When the time for change comes to pass, change is inevitable. The growing number of adherents to the Electric Universe conception of how the cosmos operates means that further changes to human thought are coming soon.


Stephen Smith



"The Cosmic Thunderbolt"

YouTube video, first glimpses of Episode Two in the "Symbols of an Alien Sky" series.


And don't forget: "The Universe Electric"

Three ebooks in the Universe Electric series are now available. Consistently praised for easily understandable text and exquisite graphics.

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  Follow the stunning success of the Electric Universe in predicting the 'surprises' of the space age.  
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Authors David Talbott and Wallace Thornhill introduce the reader to an age of planetary instability and earthshaking electrical events in ancient times. If their hypothesis is correct, it could not fail to alter many paths of scientific investigation.
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Professor of engineering Donald Scott systematically unravels the myths of the "Big Bang" cosmology, and he does so without resorting to black holes, dark matter, dark energy, neutron stars, magnetic "reconnection", or any other fictions needed to prop up a failed theory.
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In language designed for scientists and non-scientists alike, authors Wallace Thornhill and David Talbott show that even the greatest surprises of the space age are predictable patterns in an electric universe.
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