back to article Boffins crack walnut-shaped Iapetus moon mystery

Space boffins studying the puzzling mystery of Iapetus, the walnut-shaped moon of Saturn, believe they may have discovered how the strange body's unique equatorial ridge was formed. 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. …

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May I be thie first to welcome

our new moon-splattering Saturnian walnut overlords

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Pint

Hear, hear!

Considering the way the world's going, Saturnian overlords should be most welcome.

Although what this has to do with the moon of a moon, I don't know.

(Hint: http://www.websters-online-dictionary.net/definitions/Saturnianly)

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Boffin

"if they are further out than geosynchronous orbit"

not exactly right but close enough.. It is possible for a rotating body to impart momentum into an orbiting moon via tidal surge rotation gravity, and fling it away even if it is closer than a standard geosyncronous orbit. ie the moon creates a tidal bulge on the primary body which rotates the bulge forward, moving the center of gravitaion forward, and hence pulling the moon forward faster, where faster = a higher orbit. ie flinging it away.

Of course in this case the debris that fell from the sky could also have been put up into the sky by ejection from the body, say by impact (any large crators?), it does not have to have been another moon!!

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Let me be the first to say...

... that's no moon.

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Thumb Up

Science IS the title

Yay!

I love science.

Walnut moons and all.

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Happy

Does this also explain....

..the other odd things to be found on Iapetus, like the mile-high tower (also close to the equator), and the strange infra-red readings?

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I always thought...

...that it was just poor injection moulding.

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Boffin

Who cares?

The big NASA story is that the microbiology scientific community is all up in arms over NASA's claim of finding arsenic based life,saying "This Paper Should Not Have Been Published". Apparently the people doing that "work" are so ignorant of proper microbiology experimentation, that they didn't even know their experiment was not just sloppy, it's fundamental design can't measure what they thought it was measuring.

http://www.slate.com/id/2276919/pagenum/all/

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WTF?

Not a walnut

It looks way more like a pistachio to me. If you're going to use a nut-based toxonomy at least visit a more upmarket supermarket than Lidl.

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FAIL

Nothing like the blind ignorance of snobbery.

Lidl sell pistachio nuts, so that screws up your world view, doesn't it?

I guess you'll have to look for something else to beat the Jones' with now.

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Bah!

Obviously a mould line. God simply couldn't be arsed to file off the flash properly before drybrushing the thing in shades of grey.

Sloppy work, that deity.

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Re: Bah!

Either that or the two halves didn't line up* and he's just chucked a load of pudding over the join....

Sloppy either way.

*That's what you get for using patttern moon halves rather than OEM ones....

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Iapetus just bait...

... left by the mice for the enormous mutant star goat. Cheap way of protecting their investment. Also rather hoping it has a strong nut allergy.

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WTF?

Extremely unlikely

There are at least two problems with that theory:

1. So this other moonlet was in an orbit aligned perfectly with the rotation axis of Iapetus?

That would be a one-in-a-billion coincidence. This alone moves it to the fringe of likelyhood.

2. The ridge is 20 km wide, and up to 20 km high in places. In some parts, you can clearly see three parallel ridges. Since when do impacts pile up nicely like that?

If you look at it closely, does it look even remotely like something that was made by impacts?

http://www.projectrho.com/rocket/images/appringraiders/iapetus01.jpg

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Extremely unlikely indeed

1. Nowhere in the article is it said that the moonlet was "perfectly aligned" with anything. It is, apparently, the equatorial ridge that is perfectly aligned. The moonlet didn't just appear above the moon in the perfect spot, it had an orbit that decayed and it "gradually descended towards the surface" before breaking up.

The article specifically indicates that the lowest-energy orbit is equatorial and gives the example of the rings of Jupiter, Saturn, Uranus and Neptune. With so many examples and with the knowledge that energy naturally tends towards entropy, it is not surprising that the debris ended up over the equator since it would seem that that is the natural place for it to be.

2. Since you are such a prominent figure in exogeology, would you care to reference the articles that you have written on the subject and that have been accepted in such publications as Nature ?

You have none ?

Then just how are you qualified to doubt what "looks like" an impact ?

Especially since the article, which you seem to have skimmed over rather than read, explains clearly that "Particles would impact one by one, over and over again on the equatorial line. At first the debris would have made holes to form a groove that eventually filled up."

Thank goodness that there are actual scientists working on the subject, people who do not have preconceived notions about things and actually think all the way about a problem before offering a conclusion.

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Alien

Haven't they read the "2001" book?

It's clearly another side-effect of aliens making making the Star Gate.

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