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Electric Cosmos

The Universe

Plasma Cosmology

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Aug 19, 2005

Unquestioned assumptions obscure new phenomena with old visions and inappropriate explanations. To understand features on Mars, we need to engage an active skepticism that asks, “What else could explain them?”

The caption to this image from the Medusae Sulci region of Mars explains it this way: “Wind eroded the bedrock in this region, and then, later, windblown dust covered much of the terrain.” What is meant by “wind” is taken for granted, which means that the assumptions underlying it derive from past human experience on Earth. These unquestioned geocentric and anthropocentric assumptions have repeatedly generated problems for space explorers trying to explain features off Earth. In an unfamiliar environment, familiar assumptions need to be questioned. One needs to ask, “What else could it be?” One needs to try out different assumptions. (See the essay at titled “Error Probes, Truth Probes, and Space Probes.”)

The Electric Universe begins with different assumptions and therewith raises further questions. It may agree with conventional theory that wind is the agent of erosion, but with more than one explanation for wind, the further question is, “What is the agent of wind?” Conventional theory explains wind solely as the result of convection and gas kinetics. The Electric Universe recognizes that electric discharges also generate wind. Electromagnetic forces in plasma move and accelerate charged particles—ions and dust—and collisions between charged and neutral particles carry the neutrals—air molecules—along .

This “e-wind" can be seen in dust devils and tornadoes, where the strong electromagnetic forces in the plasma vortex lift and spin not only the few ions and charged dust grains but large volumes of air and neutral dust—and roofs, vegetation, and even vehicles. On Mars, we have seen the much larger dust devils and the many trails they have swept and burned into the surface.

In the image above, the marks of erosion show no tendency to curve. If the e-wind was a vortex, the entire region must have been engulfed in a planet-sized tornado. The Electric Universe suggests an appropriately sized agent: Comparative mythology has reconstructed the existence of an interplanetary plasma discharge in the pre-historical Age of Myth. The discharge channel appeared as a column that enveloped several planets. As is typical of plasma discharges, the column would have spiraled, constituting an interplanetary tornado. Mars’ atmosphere—perhaps denser then than now—would have been whipped around with the tornado, eroding the Martian surface in a short time. If the Martian atmosphere was sufficiently coupled with the interplanetary tornado, the tornado could be the reason Mars has such little atmosphere left.


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

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