Artist’s conception of asteroid Psyche. Credit: Peter Rubin and Arizona State University.

August 12, 2020

A new mission to the Asteroid Belt.

It is a commonly held belief that a large object caused the extinction of the dinosaurs when it impacted during the Jurassic Period. Earth has supposedly been hit many times by asteroids and comets, so astronomers are tracking as many objects as they can find.

Most asteroids are presumed to be “rubble piles”—loosely consolidated conglomerations of rocks and dust. That theory is used to explain various mass anomalies in asteroid crater studies, along with observations of “regolith migration” on asteroids Itokawa and Eros. Since gravitational acceleration on asteroids is minute, banding, landslides, and layering is thought to be due to micro-meteor impacts shaking the asteroids. Over long periods of time, the shaking sorts the materials by size and density in the same way that a jar of sand and pebbles will sort itself when it is shaken.

According to a recent press release, a new mission will encounter the asteroid 16 Psyche. It is named after the nymph Psyche, who married Cupid, but was put to death by Venus. Psyche is thought to be a “metal asteroid”, about 226 kilometers in diameter. Planetary scientists believe that 16 Psyche is made up of metallic iron and nickel.

Psyche shares characteristics common to many asteroids, such as Vesta. They, too, exhibit craters that should have shattered them into fragments when they were hit. Psyche is only 226 kilometers wide, but possesses large craters. The only suitable explanation, according to gravity-based models of asteroid behavior, is that they are like big sand piles, absorbing impacts without shattering.

In an Electric Universe, asteroid formation does not require one body to crash into another one for there to be craters. Electric arcs can cut surfaces, scoop out material, and then accelerate it into space, leaving clean cuts, deep pits and chaotic topography. The effect is commonly called electric discharge machining (EDM). Comets also exhibit surface features that are the same as what has been seen on asteroids.

Conventional viewpoints think asteroids accumulate electric charge from the solar wind. It is the magnetic fields accompanying the charged particles from the Sun that “… warp, twist, and snap as they slam into the magnetic fields around other objects…” Shadowed areas accumulate negative charge, since electrons “fly ahead” of heavier positive ions, accumulating in regions where positive charge has increased.

As Electric Universe advocate Wal Thornhill wrote:

“The flaw in the conventional approach is that only gas-phase chemical reactions and reactions induced by solar radiation (photolysis) are considered. The far more energetic molecular and atomic reactions due to plasma discharge sputtering of an electrically charged comet [or asteroid] nucleus are not even contemplated…”

This leads to the conclusion that comet-like behavior could also take place on an asteroid. As mentioned in a previous Picture of the Day, there are several “Centaur objects” orbiting near the asteroid belt that demonstrate an indeterminate state between comet and asteroid. 2060 Chiron is classified as both comet and asteroid. Chiron manifests a coma whenever it reaches its closest approach to the Sun, although it does not grow a tail. 174P Echeclus displayed a coma in 2005, so it too is now classified as a cometary asteroid. At least ten Centaurs are known to have cometary activity at great heliocentric distance.

Proponents of mainstream viewpoints are slowly beginning to realize that asteroids and comets exist in a continuum. It is electric effects that are seen. Discharges and arcs form the comet phenomena, so exposing an asteroid to an intense electric field over time will most likely turn it into a comet.

Stephen Smith

The Thunderbolts Picture of the Day is generously supported by the Mainwaring Archive Foundation.

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