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Comet 103P/Hartley 2 (right) and NGC 281, the PacMan Nebula. Credit: Mike Broussard


The EPOXI Mission
Apr 26, 2011

NASA scientists hope this new mission will help them learn more about what comets are but admit that they might find "more puzzles."

The Stardust mission collected dust particles from the coma of comet Wild 2 and then sent them to Earth. The system worked perfectly, scooping up fine bits of rock and trapping them for their return journey on January 15, 2006.

Mission specialists were shocked to discover minerals in the sample that form only at extremely high temperatures. Since conventional theories describe comets as "dirty snowballs," how could an object that was supposed to be a denizen of the Solar System's most remote region, a "leftover" from the primal nebular cloud, exhibit a crystalline structure that could only be forged in a furnace of fire?

Other comets have demonstrated anomalies in their characteristics and behavior. Years after Hale-Bopp made its appearance in Earth's night sky, when it was far past Jupiter's orbit, it displayed an ion tail, bright jets, and a glowing coma. The "dirty snowball" theory cannot account for such activity at distances where radiant emissions from the Sun will not melt ice.

Logically, if the Sun caused Hale-Bopp to discharge at that distance, all of Jupiter's moons would be bone dry and appear more like our own moon than like the frozen bodies that they are. If the Sun was not responsible for Hale-Bopp's display, then what provided the energy for its explosive eruptions?

Comet Linear actually blew apart when it was over 100 million kilometers from the Sun and not when it passed by during perihelion. The strange fact is that the majority of cometary disruptions take place when they are far from the Sun. Sun-grazer comets do not break apart despite sometimes coming within 50,000 kilometers of the Sun's photosphere.

In 2001, Deep Space 1 found that comet Borrelly was hot and dry instead of cold and wet. Tempel 1 was also thought to conform to conventional comet theory, but it looked more like an asteroid, with a large crater and cliffs, than a snowball venting steam. Shoemaker-Levy 9 blew up when it crossed Jupiter's powerful magnetosphere, but the broken pieces did not expel any water vapor.

The Tempel 1 impact mission has been renamed EPOXI (Extrasolar Planet Observation and Characterization combined with Deep Impact eXtended Investigation) and is set to explore comet 103P/Hartley 2. The green color of Hartley 2 is said to come from the release of cyanogen, but another possibility is that it is due to diatomic carbon. Since cometary phenomena are primarily electrical in nature, the presence of diatomic carbon would not be a surprise to Electric Universe proponents.

It can be surmised that when water or hydroxyl compounds are found in cometary comas, they are created there. Ionized oxygen from the comet nucleus reacts with hydrogen ions streaming out from the Sun. No "jets" of water vapor spew from comets, and no icy plains have ever been observed. It is electric effects that are seenódischarges and arcs form the comet phenomena.

Electric arcs could easily form the diatomic carbon seen in Hartley 2's coma, since it is most readily created when a powerful electric current is passed through a gap between two carbon rods. Diatomic carbon does not last long, however. It quickly stabilizes into graphite, diamond, or other more exotic forms. While in its ground state, it may combine with hydrogen to form acetylene, with nitrogen to form cyanogen, or with oxygen to form carbon dioxide. It is the emission spectra of diatomic carbon that is most often seen in faint comets.

Comets have nothing to do with a primordial nebular cloud of cold gas and dust that is said to have collapsed into our Solar System. Rather, comets and their asteroid sisters are most likely newcomers to the Sun's family, and might have been blasted out of larger bodies by powerful electric discharges in the recent past. They are not "snowballs" or blobs of muddy slush, they are solid, rocky, cratered, electrically charged objects.

Stephen Smith

Editor's note: For a more extensive review of the EPOXI mission encounter with 103P/Hartley 2, see Wal Thornhill's article Deep Impact 2.

The Lightning-Scarred Planet Mars

A video documentary that could change everything you thought you knew about ancient times and symbols. In this second episode of Symbols of an Alien Sky, David Talbott takes the viewer on an odyssey across the surface of Mars. Exploring feature after feature of the planet, he finds that only electric arcs could produce the observed patterns. The high resolution images reveal massive channels and gouges, great mounds, and crater chains, none finding an explanation in traditional geology, but all matching the scars from electric discharge experiments in the laboratory. (Approximately 85 minutes)

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"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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  Thunderbolts of the Gods

  Follow the stunning success of the Electric Universe in predicting the 'surprises' of the space age.  
  Our multimedia page explores many diverse topics, including a few not covered by the Thunderbolts Project.  

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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The opinions expressed in the Thunderbolts Picture Of the Day are those of the authors of
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EXECUTIVE EDITORS: David Talbott, Wallace Thornhill
CONTRIBUTING EDITORS: Mel Acheson, Michael Armstrong,
Dwardu Cardona, Ev Cochrane, C.J. Ransom,
Don Scott, Rens van der Sluijs,
Ian Tresman
WEBMASTER: Brian Talbott
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