Cracked: walnut-shaped Iapetus moon mystery

By | December 14, 2010

Iapetus, walnut-shaped moon of Saturn. Credit: NASA/JPL/SSIThe equatorial ridge of Iapetus, imaged by the Cassini probe. Credit: NASA/JPL/SSI… The mighty ridge at some places stands 12 miles above the surface average — more than twice as high as Mount Everest’s summit is above sea level.

According to William McKinnon and Andrew Dombard, space-sciences profs in America, the curious ridge results from the long-ago breakup of a satellite body in orbit about Iapetus — a moon of a moon.

“Some people have proposed that the ridge might have been caused by a string of volcanic eruptions, or maybe it’s a set of faults,” says McKinnon. “But to align it all perfectly like that — there is just no similar example in the solar system to point to such a thing.”

Dombard adds: “There are three critical observations that any model for the formation of the ridge has to satisfy. They are: Why the feature is sitting on the equator; why only on the equator, and why only on Iapetus. I think we have something here that explains all those observations.”

According to the calculations of the two profs and their colleagues, the ancient satellite-satellite would have gradually descended towards the surface of Iapetus as its orbit decayed. At a given point, tidal stress would finally have torn it apart, generating a ring of debris whose pieces would continue to descend until they crashed into the moon’s equator, eventually creating the ridge we see today and so giving Iapetus its curious festive-nut-esque shape.

“When you have a debris ring around a body, the collisional interactions steal energy out of the orbit,” explains Dombard. “And the lowest energy state that a body can be in is right over the rotational bulge of a planetary body — the equator. That’s why the rings of Jupiter, Saturn, Uranus and Neptune are over the equator.”€  …

via€  The Register.

Some related strangeness from Hoagland. 1) Death Star. 2) Iapetus. 4)

One of the most remarkable examples of potential ancient artifacts published by Cremo and Thompson were hundreds of "small, grooved spheres mined in South Africa.€  According to Roelf Marx, curator of the Museum of Klerksdorp, South Africa, where some of the spheres are housed: "The spheres are a complete mystery. They look man-made, yet at the time in Earth’s history when they came to rest in this rock no intelligent life existed. They’re nothing like I have ever seen before (Jimison 1982). One of the most compelling arguments for artificiality of these perplexing spheres is a set of three (!) parallel grooves around their "equators (above); that — and the equally remarkable hardness of the (currently unknown) material from which they are made… Again, Roelf Marx:

"‚Ķ they are found in pyrophyllite, which is mined near the little town of Ottosdal in the Western Transvaal. This pyrophyllite (Al2Si4O10(OH)2) is a quite soft secondary mineral with a count of only 3 on the Mohs’ scale and was formed by sedimentation about 2.8 billion years ago. On the other hand the globes, which have a fibrous structure on the inside with a shell around it, are very hard and cannot be scratched, even by steel [emphasis added] …

Whatever formed them (and then left them for two thirds of the history of planet Earth, in this extremely ancient metamorphic rock deposit!), occurred when the highest forms of life on Earth were only red and blue-green algae!€  So — how did hundreds of precisely crafted, apparently intelligently-designed metallic artifacts, harder than steel, find their way into such a deep rock layer literally miles below South Africa?! But, that isn't the most remarkable part of this story.

Other images of these mysterious "metallic spheres in the Klerksdorp Museum … reveal an even more astonishing, precise resemblance to none other than the Cassini close-ups of the anomalous eighth satellite of Saturn…

via Enterprise Mission



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