Showing posts with label Kubrick. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Kubrick. Show all posts

Tuesday, 2 May 2017


Yes, because in 1963, they saw "Lolita" and thought THIS IS THE GUY WE NEED..!!

This is the guy for The Job!!

Well, the chronology in the song presents it as "We gotta get the President out of the way and hire Stanley Kubrick".

You know - the Spartacus guy...!

All of which Kubrick/Apollo nonsense is, for me, a MASSIVE distraction from the REAL question :

 Why is Stanley so afraid of Saturn...?

The God who ate all his own children and castrated his own father with a scythe in his sleep to steal his power and his throne -

Well - Wouldn't You Be...?


 15 - Discovery

 The ship was still only thirty days from Earth, yet David Bowman sometimes found it hard to believe that be had ever known any other existence than the closed little world of Discovery. All his years of training, all his earlier missions to the Moon and Mars, seemed to belong to another man, in another life.

 Frank Poole admitted to the same feelings, and had sometimes jokingly regretted that the nearest psychiatrist was the better part of a hundred million miles away. But this sense of isolation and estrangement was easy enough to understand, and certainly indicated no abnormality.

 In the fifty years since men had ventured into space, there had never been a mission quite like this.

 It had begun, five years ago, as Project Jupiter - the first manned round trip to the greatest of the planets. The ship was nearly ready for the two-year voyage when, somewhat abruptly, the mission profile had been changed.

 Discovery would still go to Jupiter; but she would not stop there. She would not even slacken speed as she raced through the far-ranging Jovian satellite system. On the contrary - she would use the gravitational field of the giant world us a sling to cast her even farther from the Sun.

 Like a comet, she would streak on across the outer reaches of the solar system to her ultimate goal, the ringed glory of Saturn. And she would never return.

 For Discovery, it would be a one-way trip - yet her crew had no intention of committing suicide. If all went  well, they would be back on Earth within seven years - five of which would pass like a flash in the dreamless sleep of hibernation, while they awaited rescue by the still unbuilt Discovery II.

 The word "rescue" was carefully avoided in all the Astronautics Agency's statements and documents; it implied some failure of planning, and the approved jargon was "re-acquisition." If anything went really wrong, there would certainly be no hope of rescue, almost a billion miles from Earth.

 It was a calculated risk, like all voyages into the unknown. But half a century of research had proved that artificially induced human hibernation was perfectly safe, and it had opened up new possibilities in space travel. Not until this mission, however, had they been exploited to the utmost.

 The three members of the survey team, who would not be needed until the ship entered her final orbit around Saturn, would sleep through the entire outward flight. Tons of food and other expendables would thus be saved; almost as important, the team would be fresh and alert, and not fatigued by the ten-month voyage, when they went into action.

 Discovery would enter a parking orbit around Saturn, becoming a new moon of the giant planet.

 She would swing back and forth along a two-million-mile ellipse that took her close to Saturn, and then across the orbits of all its major moons. They would have a hundred days in which to map and study a world with eighty times the area of Earth, and surrounded by a retinue of at least fifteen known satellites - one of them as large as the planet Mercury.

19 - Transit of Jupiter

 Even front twenty million miles away, Jupiter was already the most conspicuous object in the sky ahead. The planet was now a pale, salmon-hued disk, about half the size of the Moon as seen from Earth, with the dark, parallel bands of its cloud belts clearly visible.

 Shuttling back and forth in the equatorial plane were the brilliant stars of Io, Europa, Ganymede, and Callisto - worlds that elsewhere would have counted as planets in their own right, but which here were merely satellites of a giant master.

Through the telescope, Jupiter was a glorious sight - a mottled, multicolored globe that seemed to fill the sky. It was impossible to grasp its real size; Bowman kept reminding himself that it was eleven times the diameter of Earth, but for a long time this was a statistic with no real meaning.

 Then, while he was briefing himself from the tapes in Hal's memory units, he found something that suddenly brought the appalling scale of the planet into focus. It was an illustration that showed the Earth's entire surface peeled off and then pegged, like the skin of an animal, on the disk of Jupiter. Against this background, all the continents and oceans of Earth appeared no larger than India on the terrestrial globe.

 When Bowman used the highest magnification of Discovery's telescopes, he appeared to be hanging above a slightly flattened globe, looking down upon a vista of racing clouds that had been smeared into bands by the giant world's swift rotation. Sometimes those bands congealed into wisps and knots and continent-sized masses of colored vapor; sometimes they were linked by transient bridges thousands of miles in length. Hidden beneath those clouds was enough material to outweigh all the other planets in the Solar System. And what else, Bowman wondered, was also hidden there?

 Over this shifting, turbulent roof of clouds, forever hiding the real surface of the planet, circular patterns of darkness sometimes glided. One of the inner moons was transiting the distant sun, its shadow marching beneath it over the restless Jovian cloudscape.

 There were other, and far smaller, moons even out here - twenty million miles from Jupiter.

 But they were only flying mountains, a few dozen miles in diameter, and the ship would pass nowhere near any of them. Every few minutes the radar transmitter would gather its strength and send out a silent thunderclap of power; no echoes of new satellites came pulsing back from the emptiness.

 What did come, with ever growing intensity, was the roar of Jupiter's own radio voice. In 1955, just before the dawn of the space age, astronomers had been astonished to find that Jupiter was blasting out millions of horsepower on the ten-meter band. It was merely raw noise, associated with haloes of charged particles circling the planet like the Van Allen belts of Earth, but on a far greater scale.

 Sometimes, during lonely hours on the control deck, Bowman would listen to this radiation. He would turn up the gain until the room filled with a crackling, hissing roar; out of this background, at irregular intervals, emerged brief whistles and peeps like the cries of demented birds. It was an eerie sound, for it had nothing to do with Man; it was as lonely and as meaningless as the murmur of waves on a beach, or the distant crash of thunder beyond the horizon.

 Even at her present speed of over a hundred thousand miles an hour, it would take Discovery almost two weeks to cross the orbits of all the Jovian satellites. More moons circled Jupiter than planets orbited the Sun; the Lunar Observatory was discovering new ones every year, and the tally had now reached thirty-six. The outermost - Jupiter XXVII - moved backwards in an unstable path nineteen million miles from its temporary master. It was the prize in a perpetual tug-of-war between Jupiter and the Sun, for the planet was constantly capturing short-lived moons from the asteroid belt, and losing them again after a few million years. Only the inner satellites were its permanent property; the Sun could never wrest them from its grasp.

 Now there was new prey for the clashing gravitation at fields, Discovery was accelerating toward Jupiter along a complex orbit computed months ago by the astronomers on Earth, and constantly checked by Hal. From time to time there would be minute, automatic nudges from the control jets, scarcely perceptible aboard the ship, as they made fine adjustments to the trajectory.

 Over the radio link with Earth, information was flowing back in a constant stream. They were now so far from home that, even traveling at the speed of light, their signals were taking fifty minutes for the journey. Though the whole world was looking over their shoulder, watching through their eyes and their instruments as Jupiter approached, it would be almost an hour before the news of their discoveries reached home.

The telescopic cameras were operating constantly as the ship cut across the orbit of the giant inner satellites - every one of them larger than the Moon, every one of them unknown territory.

 Three hours before transit, Discovery passed only twenty thousand miles from Europa, and all instruments were aimed at the approaching world, as it grew steadily in size, changed from globe to crescent, and swept swiftly sunward.

 Here were fourteen million square miles of land which, until this moment, had never been more than a pinhead in the mightiest telescope. They would race past it in minutes, and must make the most of the encounter, recording all the information they could. There would be months in which they could play it back at leisure.

 From a distance, Europa had seemed like a giant snowball, reflecting the light of the far-off sun with remarkable efficiency. Closer observations confirmed this; unlike the dusty Moon, Europa was a brilliant white, and much of its surface was covered with glittering hunks that looked like stranded icebergs. Almost certainly, these were formed from ammonia and water that Jupiter's gravitational field had somehow failed to capture.

 Only along the equator was bare rock visible; here was an incredibly jagged no-man's-land of canyons and jumbled boulders, forming a darker band that completely surrounded the little world.
 There were a few impact craters, but no sign of vulcanism; Europa had obviously never possessed any internal sources of heat. There was, as had long been known, a trace of atmosphere. When the dark edge of the satellite passed across a star, it dimmed briefly before the moment of eclipse.

 And in somr areas there was a hint of cloud - perhaps a mist of ammonia droplets, borne on tenuous methane winds.

 As swiftly as it had rushed out of the sky ahead, Europa dropped astern; and now Jupiter itself was only two hours away. Hal had checked and rechecked the ship's orbit with infinite care, and there was no need for further speed corrections until the moment of closest approach. Yet, even knowing this, it was a strain on the nerves to watch that giant globe ballooning minute by minute. It was difficult to believe that Discovery was not plunging directly into it, and that the planet's immense gravitational field was not dragging them down to destruction. Now was the time to drop the atmospheric probes - which, it was hoped, would survive long enough to send back some information from below the Jovian cloud deck. Two stubby, bomb-shaped capsules, enclosed in ablative heat-shields, were gently nudged into orbits which for the first few thousand miles deviated scarcely at all from that of Discovery.

 But they slowly drifted away; and now, at last, even the unaided eye could see what Hal had been asserting. The ship was in a near-grazing orbit, not a collision one; she would miss the atmosphere. True, the difference was only a few hundred miles - a mere nothing when one was dealing with a planet ninety thousand miles in diameter - but that was enough.

 Jupiter now filled the entire sky; it was so huge that neither mind nor eye could grasp it any longer, and both had abandoned the attempt. If it had not been for the extraordinary variety of color - the reds and pinks and yellows and salmons and even scarlets - of the atmosphere beneath them, Bowman could have believed that he was flying low over a cloudscape on Earth.

 And now, for the first time in all their journeying, they were about to lose the Sun. Pale and shrunken though it was, it had been Discovery's constant companion since her departure from Earth, five months ago. But now her orbit was diving into the shadow of Jupiter; she would soon pass over the night side of the planet.

 A thousand miles ahead, the band of twilight was hurtling toward them; behind, the Sun was sinking swiftly into the Jovian clouds, its rays spread out along the horizon like two flaming, down-turned horns, then contracted and died in a brief blaze of chromatic glory. The night had come.

 And yet - the great world below was not wholly dark. It was awash with phosphorescence, which grew brighter minute by minute as their eyes grew accustomed to the scene. Dim rivers of light were flowing from horizon to horizon, like the luminous wakes of ships on some tropical sea. Here and there they gathered into pools of liquid fire, trembling with vast, submarine disturbances welling up from the hidden heart of Jupiter. It was a sight so awe-inspiring that Poole and Bowman could have stared for hours; was this, they wondered, merely the result of chemical and electrical forces down there in that seething caldron - or was it the by-product of some fantastic form of life? 

These were questions which scientists might still be debating when the newborn century drew to its close.

 As they drove deeper and deeper into the Jovian night, the glow beneath them grew steadily brighter.
 Once Bowman had flown over northern Canada during the height of an auroral display; the snowcovered landscape had been as bleak and brilliant as this. And that arctic wilderness, he reminded himself, was more than a hundred degrees warmer than the regions over which they were hurtling now.

 "Earth signal is fading rapidly," announced Hal. "We are entering the first diffraction zone."

 They had expected this - indeed, it was one of the mission's objectives, as the absorption of radio waves would give valuable information about the Jovian atmosphere. But now that they had actually passed behind the planet, and it was cutting off communication with Earth, they felt a sudden overwhelming loneliness. The radio blackout would last only an hour; then they would emerge from Jupiter's eclipsing screen, and could resume contact with the human race. That hour, however, would be one of the longest of their lives.

 Despite their relative youth, Poole and Bowman were veterans of a dozen space voyages, but now they felt like novices. They were attempting something for the first lime; never before had any ship traveled at such speeds, or braved so intense a gravitational field. The slightest error in navigation at this critical point and Discovery would go speeding on toward the far limits of the Solar System, beyond any hope of rescue.
 The slow minutes dragged by. Jupiter was now a vertical wall of phosphorescence stretching to infinity above them - and the ship was climbing straight up its glowing face. Though they knew that they were moving far too swiftly for even Jupiter's gravity to capture them, it was hard to believe that Discovery had not become a satellite of this monstrous world.

 At last, far ahead, there was a blaze of light along the horizon. They were emerging from shadow, heading out into the Sun. And at almost the same moment Hal announced: "I am in radio contact with Earth. I am also happy to say that the perturbation maneuver has been successfully completed. Our time to Saturn is one hundred and sixty-seven days, five hours, eleven minutes."

 That was within a minute of the estimate; the fly-by had been carried out with impeccable precision. Like a ball on a cosmic pool table, Discovery had bounced off the moving gravitational field of Jupiter, and had gained momentum from the impact. Without using any fuel, she had increased her speed by several thousand miles an hour.

 Yet there was no violation of the laws of mechanics; Nature always balances her books, and Jupiter had lost exactly as much momentum as Discovery had gained. The planet had been slowed down - but as its mass was a sextillion times greater than the ship's, the change in its orbit was far too small to be detectable. The time had not yet come when Man could leave his mark upon the Solar System.

As the light grew swiftly around them, and the shrunken Sun lifted once more into the Jovian sky, Poole and Bowman reached out silently and shook each other's hands.

 Though they could hardly believe it, the first part of the mission was safely over.

Monday, 5 December 2016


35 - The Eye of Japetus

 When Bowman had first observed Japetus, that curious elliptical patch, of brilliance had been partly in shadow, illuminated only by the light of Saturn. Now, as the Moon moved slowly along its seventy-nine-day orbit, it was emerging into the full light of day.

 As he watched it grow, and Discovery rose more and more sluggishly toward her inevitable appointment, Bowman became aware of a disturbing obsession. He never mentioned it in his conversations - or, rather, his running commentaries - with Mission Control, because it might have seemed that he was already suffering from delusions.

 Perhaps, indeed, he was; for he had half convinced himself that the bright ellipse set against the dark background of the satellite was a huge, empty eye, staring at him as he approached. It was an eye without a pupil, for nowhere could he see anything to mar its perfect blankness.

 Not until the ship was only fifty thousand miles out, and Japetus was twice as large as Earth's familiar Moon, did he notice the tiny black dot at the exact center of the ellipse. But there was no time, then, for any detailed examination; the terminal maneuvers were already upon him.

 For the last time, Discovery's main drive released its energies. For the last time, the incandescent fury of dying atoms blazed among the moons of Saturn. To David Bowman, the far-off whisper and rising thrust of the jets brought a sense of pride - and of sadness. The superb engines had done their duty with flawless efficiency. They had brought the ship from Earth to Jupiter to Saturn; now this was the very last time that they would ever operate. When Discovery had emptied her propellant tanks, she would be as helpless and inert as any comet or asteroid, a powerless prisoner of gravitation. Even when the rescue ship arrived a few years hence, it would not be an economical proposition to refuel her, so that she could fight her way back to Earth. She would be an eternally orbiting monument to the early days of planetary exploration.

 The thousands of miles shrank to hundreds, and as they did so, the fuel gauges dropped swiftly toward zero. At the control panel, Bowman's eyes flickered anxiously back and forth over the situation display, and the improvised charts which he now had to consult for any real-time decisions. It would be an appalling anticlimax if, having survived so much, he failed to make rendezvous through lack of a few pounds of fuel.

The whistle of the jets faded, as the main thrust died and only the verniers continued to nudge Discovery gently into orbit. Japetus was now a giant crescent that filled the sky; until this moment, Bowman had always thought of it as a tiny, insignificant object - as indeed it was compared with the world around which it circled. Now, as it loomed menacingly above him, it seemed enormous - a cosmic hammer poised to crush Discovery like a nutshell.

 Japetus was approaching so slowly that it scarcely seemed to move, and it was impossible to tell the exact moment when it made the subtle change from an astronomical body to a landscape, only fifty miles below. The faithful verniers gave their last spurts of thrust, then closed down forever. The ship was in its final orbit, completing one revolution every three hours at a mere eight hundred miles an hour - all the speed that was required in this feeble gravitational field.

 Discovery has become a satellite of a satellite.

A Moon with a View - Part One

Moon with a View:

Or, What Did Arthur Know … and When Did He Know it?

Part 1

By Richard C. Hoagland
© 2005 The Enterprise Mission
"The only way of discovering the limits of the possible is to venture a little way past them … into the impossible."
-- Clarke’s Second Law

 … the ship had long since passed the boundary set by outermost Phoebe, moving backward in a wildly eccentric orbit eight million miles from its primary.  Ahead of it now lay Iapetus, Hyperion, Titan, Rhea, Dione, Tethys, Enceladus, Mimas, Janus – and the rings themselves.  All the satellites showed a maze of surface detail …  Titan alone – three thousand miles in diameter, and as large as Mercury – would occupy … months …  
There was more; already he was certain that Iapetus was his goal.
… One hemisphere of the satellite, which, like its companions, turned the same face always toward Saturn, was extremely dark, and showed very little surface detail.  In complete contrast, the other was dominated by a brilliant white oval, about four hundred miles long and two hundred wide.  At the moment, only part of this striking formation was in daylight, but the reason for Iapetus’s extraordinary variations in brilliance was now quite obvious …. 

*     *     *

Those words -- written over forty years ago by my long-time friend, Arthur C. Clarke -- describe the voyage of a lone, surviving astronaut – David Bowman – to the ringed wonder of the solar system, the planet Saturn, aboard a 21stCentury spacecraft named “Discovery.”  

What Bowman discovers in the Saturn system – on an enigmatic moon called “Iapetus” -- will forever change the Destiny of Humans ….

But, Arthur’s prophetic words could just as easily be describing the current, equally astonishing 21stCentury revelations of an unmanned spacecraft called “Cassini,” exploring the latest baffling mysteries Saturn ….   In particular -- NOT the much ballyhooed, though recently successful descent of Cassini’s Huygens probe to the surface of Titan … Saturn’s largest satellite (whose results will be involved later in our extraordinary tale …)—

But Cassini’s far lesser known, far more haunting … (and to me) far more significant—

Close-ups of Iapetus!

*     *     *

In 1965, when Arthur began collaborating with the brilliant film director, Stanley Kubrick, it was to bring their unique view of Mankind’s most enduring mystery – “Where do we really come from …?” – to the silver screen, in a way never seen before.  They succeeded ... brilliantly.

The result was the immortal “2001: A Space Odyssey.

Simultaneously, Arthur penned the “Saturn approach” scene we began with (above), his own independent version of the same story -- a novel– which, to some at least, has made portions of Stanley’s very enigmatic “2001” perhaps a little more accessible (at least, certain “transcendental” aspects of the film …).

In Kubrick’s extravaganza, the climax comes when David Bowman -- the lone surviving astronaut of the deep space expedition, sent by a future “NASA” in search of the Force which, “godlike,” has somehow repeatedly intervened in “the million plus year evolution of Mankind …” – finally encounters the “Monolith” … a black enigmatic “door,” in orbit around the giant planet Jupiter.  

The Monolith turns out to be (among its other wonders) a “star gate” – a literal doorway (which, of course, is why Kubrick cinematically made it a door …) to other dimensions of space and time … and, ultimately, the mysterious “Progenitors” of the Human Race itself.  

When Bowman eventually falls through it, he enters the Star Gate’s vast Hyperdimensional transport system, culminating in his own ambiguous meeting with “the Progenitors” (or, at least as much of them as they allow him to experience …), which results in his final “transformation” and return to Earth … the latest agent in Humanities continuing “managed evolution.”

In Arthur’s novel (removed from the pre-CGI, 1960’s limitations on film “special effects” that even Stanley Kubrick had to live with …), the Monolith is waiting much farther from the Sun … on one of Saturn’s distant moons—

The same moon -- forty years afterArthur’s novel – I would contend, which has now been revealed in Cassini’s latest images as—


*     *     *

Iapetus [eye-AP-i-tus] is the seventeenth of Saturn's thirty three currently known moons, and the third largest.  It was named after a Titan -- the son of Uranus and the father of Prometheus and Atlas (the latter said to be the “fathers of Mankind”).  Thus, in Greek myth, Iapetus was also an ancestor … a progenitor… of “Homo Sapiens Sapiens” …. 

Iapetus was first seen via telescopeby Jean-Dominique Cassini, in 1671.   

Iapetus’ actual name, however, was only given to it a hundred and seventy six years after it was first seen by Cassini (who merely referred to it, and the other three star-like objects he also discovered circling Saturn, as “Lodicea Sidera” --“the stars of Louis” -- in honor of France’s King Louis XIV, who had appointed him France’s “chief astronomer”).  

The current names of Saturn’s major moons, taken from a group of “superbeings” in Greek myth called “Titans,” were given them by Sir John Herschel, in 1847.  Herschel’s nomenclature for Iapetus and the other six (then) known moons, was based on the logical association of Saturn (“Cronus” in Greek) with the Titans; Herschel, continuing the ritual, named the largest Saturnian moon “Titan” itself – in honor of the entire pantheon. 

Speaking of names: Cassini would go on to eventually discover the largest “gap” in Saturn’s splendid, bewilderingly complex rings, five years after discovering Iapteus … in 1676.  This was later appropriately named after its own discoverer – the “Cassini Division” (below, under spacecraft).  It is, of course, because of Cassini’s record of several major astronomical discoveries at Saturn, that the current unmanned Saturn mission is so-named ….

*     *     *

Iapetus’ most singular characteristic is the fact that, in Cassini’s small, 17th century refracting telescope (it only had an objective lens two inches in diameter!), the faint Saturnian moon (about 100 times dimmer than the faintest object visible to the unaided naked eye) seemed to literally disappear about every 40 days … for half its 79-day orbit!  

As Cassini watched, Iapetus would be visible during its so-called “western elongation” (when it was west of Saturn in the sky), but would then progressively get dimmer as it curved around and passed behind the planet, until it completely vanished as it approached “eastern elongation.”  Then, a few days later, it would “magically” reappear … as an extremely faint “star” … growing steadily in brightness, until it reached its farthest distance westof Saturn once again and its greatest brightness!  

This puzzling behavior would then mysteriously repeat -- like the newly invented mechanical clockwork -- every 79 days; a mysterious “winking” moon … orbiting Saturn … for as long as Cassini observed.

Although he was only capable of observing Iapetus in his small telescope as a “dimensionless point of light,” Cassini correctly theorized that this “winking moon” phenomenon had to be due to the fact that one entire hemisphere of Iapetus must be vastly brighter than the other half – and that the moon was synchronously rotating (with one hemisphere continuously facing Saturn – like Earth’s Moon always faces Earth) as Iapetus revolved around the distant ringed planet in its 79-day orbit (below).  If the leading hemisphere of Iapetus was “very dark” Cassini theorized, and the trailing hemisphere “remarkably bright,” this simple geometry would result in the distant moon periodically falling below detectability in his “modest glass …” 

Three hundred ten years later – on November 14, 1980 -- the NASA Voyager 1 unmanned spacecraft transmitted, from only a few hundred thousand miles away, the first clear image back to Earth showing that Cassini had been right!  Remarkably, the entire “front half” of Iapetus was fully ten times darker than the “back half” – the former reflecting only about as much light as a piece of charcoal … or (as Arthur put it in “2001”) burnt toast!

The geometry of this inexplicable dichotomy also proved unique (below): for obvious reasons, Iapetus forever earned the title that evening, after Voyager’s historic first fully resolved images were sent home, of—

“The Yin/Yang Moon” ….

*     *     *

      … At last, the pale dawn lay ahead; the ship, moving more and more slowly now, was emerging into day.  It could no longer escape from the Sun, or even from Saturn – but it was still moving swiftly enough to rise away from the planet until it grazed the orbit of Iapetus, two million miles out.
It would take Discovery fourteen days to make that climb, as she coasted once more, though in reverse order, across the paths of all the inner moons.  One by one she would cut through the orbits of Janus, Mimas, Enceladus, Tethys, Dione, Rhea, Titan, Hyperion … worlds bearing the names of gods and goddesses who had vanished only yesterday, as time was counted here.
Then she would meet Iapetus, and must make her rendezvous ….

*     *     *

Voyager acquired many images as it approached Iapetus for the first time.  On some of them (below - left), a large (~ 150 mile diameter), dark, ring-shaped feature appeared on the side of the moon facing Saturn.  In the center of the ring -- almost exactly as Arthur had described it before anyone could have seen it -- was an “ellipticalwhite region … with a blackcenter!”  

Arthur later reported that our mutual friend and colleague, the late Carl Sagan -- who was one of the Voyager imaging team members – some time after the first Iapetus encounter, sent him one of these remarkable photos (above) … along with a note:

“Thinking of you ….”

In these first fascinating images, tangent to this giant ring (above) – in fact, appearing to emanate from it in some kind of “directed spray pattern!” -- was the far larger, extremely dark, elliptical feature which appeared to cover the entire “front” of this exotic moon.  This was strikingly confirmed by a somewhat closer shot, taken in approximate natural color by the follow-on Voyager 2 spacecraft (and, of the opposite side of the moon -- the one facing away from Saturn) … in August, 1981 (below).

Another, closer shot -- this time, of the Saturn side of Iapetus again, from the current Cassini mission (below).  Imaged by Cassini’s much superior solid-state cameras, in July, 2004, the view confirms Voyager’s remarkable first impressions ….

Mercator projection maps (below), created from images secured during both Voyager fly-bys (the black regions are areas not covered by either spacecraft), confirm this remarkable geometric aspect of “the dark side of Iapetus”: the extraordinarily dark region traces an almost exact elliptical pattern on the “front” of this increasingly bizarre moon ….
But the cause if this unique, geometric “two-toned” surface was still as mysterious after the two historic Voyager encounters … as before.

*     *     *

Thus, it was with some anticipation that those of us who were lucky enough to be at JPL the night of the first Voyager Iapetus images twenty five years ago, looked forward a few weeks ago to the closest fly-by of Iapetus to date – to be accomplished by the Cassini spacecraft, on New Year’s Eve, 2004.  

Passing as close at 40,000 miles, and with cameras orders of magnitude superior to Voyagers’, the results of the December 31, 2004 Cassini imaging did not disappoint: not only do the details surpass all prior expectations … they reveal even deeper mysteries surrounding this increasingly exotic moon ….

The distant images immediately confirmed one curious impression left from the Voyager encounters of a quarter century before: in addition to its other unique characteristics, Iapetus does notseem to be a perfectly round moon!  

A comparison with a real sphere (below-right) reveals that, from this angle, Iapetus is visibly “squashed” -- by something like 50 miles out of its 900, or about 5%.  For solid rocky bodies larger than a few hundred miles across, the relentless force of gravity alwaysovercomes the innate tensile strength of such materials, and forces them to assume a spherical geometry.  For solid icy bodies (those possessing less tensile strength), the limiting size before a sphere is formed is even smaller. 

The key to defining this upper “roundness” limit lies in remotely determining a moon’s “specific gravity,” which will in turn reveal its average composition.  

The means of doing this via an orbiting or passing spacecraft, is by optically measuring the object’s diameter (from images), then comparing that to its overall mass (derived from observing the effect of its gravitational field on the spacecraft’s trajectory).  This mass determination, divided into the optical diameter, then gives the average density of the object – which, in turn, can narrow down its potential composition.

Earth’s Moon, for example, has an average density of “3.34” (3.34 times a similar-sized sphere composed of water) – revealing it to be composed primarily of much denser “silicates” … a rockyobject.  Thus, at 2160 miles across, despite the significant tensile strength of “rocks,” the Moon’s own gravity has crushed it down to almost a perfect sphere, as seen from Earth.

For Iapetus, Voyager’s measured density (via the techniques described above) is about 1.21 – clearly only slightly denser than an equal sized body made of water (there were obviously a few rocky “impurities” incorporated into Iapteus during in its formation, slightly increasing its average density …).  Because this solid, mostly icy body measures almost 900 miles across, yet rotates only once every 79 days, any equatorial “centrifugal force” is clearly insignificant.  Thus, this cannot be the source of Iapetus’ major “out of roundness.”  

Coupled with the density observations of Voyager (and now Cassini), these simple calculations assure that Iapetus’ basic shape (not counting pieces blown off by external comet impacts …)  should be essentially a perfect sphere.  Several of Saturn’s significantly smaller moons -- like Mimas and Enceladus -- although also icy objects, are spheres ….

Clearly, for some important reason Iapteus is not.

Now, look again at the left-hand image of Iapetus (above).  What’s that “thing” ... sticking up twelve miles above the left-hand limb?  According to NASA’s official description of this image, it reveals in 3-D--

 … a long narrow ridge that lies almost exactly on the equator of Iapetus ….

The release then goes on to say, with serious understatement:

 … no other moon in the solar system has such a striking geological feature ….

On color versions of the same image (below) -- created by compositing three Cassini viewstaken through ultraviolet, green and infrared filters – the contrast between the bizarre “chocolate brown” of the leading hemisphere, and the brilliant white “polar caps”  north and south -- is particularly striking.  

As is the presence of that baffling, arrow-straight, 12-mile-high(~60,000 foot!) “wall”  -- which precisely bisects the leading hemisphere, and apparently crosses the entire width of this strangely darkened “Cassini Regio” … over 800 miles in length.

*     *     *

    … for weeks, as it stared forever Sunward with its strange senses, the Star Gate had watched the approaching ship.  Its makers had prepared it for many things, and this was one of them.  It recognized what was climbing up toward it from the warm heart of the Solar System.
If it had been alive, it would have felt excitement, but such an emotion was wholly beyond its powers.  Even if the ship had passed it by, it would not have known the slightest trace of disappointment.  It had waited three million years; it was prepared to wait for eternity ….

There has hardly been an observer, viewing these astonishing new Cassini images of Saturn’s strangest moon, who has not also thought of Arthur Clarke … and “2001.”  

But some, after seeing the staggering equatorial feature now girdling Iapetus, reached back even further into Arthur’s past, to recall an earlier, equally prescient short story, called eerily—

“The Wall of Darkness.” 

 … In a universe consisting of one star and one planet, here is a mysterious impenetrable wall surrounding the entire planet in the deep freezing southlands. Two men,one with money, the other with building skills, engage in a long-term program to scale the wall and find out what's on the other side.  The answer turns out to be … rather upsetting ….

In our opinion, Cassini’s discovery of “the Great Wall of Iapetus” now forces serious reconsideration of a range of staggering possibilities … that some will most certainly find … upsetting: 

 That, it could really be a “wall” … a vast, planet spanning, artificial construct!!

This is not the first time that startling new data has prompted scientific consideration of “intelligence” at Saturn.  

In addition to Arthur’s well-known musings, the extreme albedo range displayed by Iapetus prompted a sober suggestion in the 1980’s, that “the brightness variations might be artificial.”  Donald Goldsmith and Tobias Owen (the latter, the NASA discoverer of “the face on Mars!”) wrote of Iapetus in The Search for Life in the Universe(1980):

This unusual moon is the only object in the Solar System which we might seriously regard as an alien signpost - a natural object deliberately modified by an advanced civilization to attract our attention [emphasis added] ….

However, now that Cassini has revealed to us unquestionably the greatest linear feature in the solar system (below), such scientific speculations take on added urgency – if, for no other reason -- because—

There is no viable geological model to explain a sixty thousand-foot-high, sixty thousand-foot-wide, four million-foot-long “wall” … spanning an entire planetary hemisphere … let alone, located in the precise plane of its equator!  

It is a well-known cliché that “Nature doesn’t usually create straight lines.”  If that is true, then it certainly doesn’t create three of them (close-up-below) – all running parallel, not only to each other, butto the literal equator of the planet.  

“Nature” also doesn’t create a veritable “Maginot Line” of the geometric complexity and regularity seen here … certainly not one stretching horizontally, across this one small section of Iapetus, for over sixty miles ….

Therefore, ignoring for the moment “who” might have constructed such an astounding edifice, and for “what reason,” the most important question at this stage is simply:

“Is it feasible?  Could a literal wall -- 12 miles high … and 12 miles wide -- be technologically constructed on Iapetus?!”

The short answer is: yes. 

The largest skyscraper currently planned for Earth is soon to be completed in the oil-rich kingdom of Dubai.  The massive structure (below), assembled with conventional concrete and steel but in a “buttressed core configuration,” will reach an unprecedented height of 2312 feetwhen completed, projected for sometime in 2008!

Scaled according to the surface gravity of Iapetus – which is only 1/40th the strength of the surface gravity of Earth! – a similar skyscraper on the 900-mile-wide moon of Saturn could reach up 15 miles.  

A “wall-like” structure -- as wide as it is tall – because of strong lateral support, could reach far higher in such a weak gravity field.

So, even with “conventional” building materials common in the early 21st Century on Earth, constructing the “Great Wall of Iapetus” poses no significant theoretical problems (except for the money, of course!).  And, for any advanced “extraterrestrial materials” (nanotubes, carbon fibers, zero-gravity crystalline titanium and steel, etc. …) the practical problems in constructing even such a structure as the “Great Wall” … would be trivial.  Especially--

If armies of computer-controlled, robotic construction “workers” (or even more advanced versions,  billions of nanobots) were involved ….

*     *     *

Once this shocking idea (and the even more astounding Cassini evidence …) has been properly assimilated – that this extraordinary feature on Iapetus could be a manufactured artifact -- other, equally geometric, non-natural anomalies begin to emerge across the moon’s exotic two-toned surface (inset, below)! 

In this inset (below) is a striking set of clearly defined, astonishing, repeating, three-dimensionalrectilinear surface patterns -- imaged in color and located several hundred miles north of the Wall … near the boundary between the “brown stuff” and the “white stuff” on the leading hemisphere of Iapetus (sunlight from bottom left).  

The rectilinearities run precisely north/south, east/west ….

Clearly these are NOT random, “square craters” -- but remarkable, highly ordered evidence of sophisticated, aligned, repeating architectural relief!

A close-up (below) amply confirms this first impression.  Note the “standard-width,” right-angle walls, and the dozens of “box-like” rooms and buildings contained within those walls ….

Close-ups from other sections of this “transitional terrain” (just west of this image - below) reveal more of this astonishing, three-D “honeycombing.”   Note the aligned edges of the hundreds of “square” holes in this image … and, again, more repeating, right-angle, uniform-width “walls.”   Here, the repeating, rectilinear geometry appears to be “mantled” with a heavy “snowfall” ….

Here (below), are two close-up sections of the previous image.  

The enlargement on the left features a square opening, apparently looking deep below the surface … into a rectangular underground tunnel with multiple, geometric “levels.”  

The close-up on the right shows an equally obvious, multi-storied, rectangular structure -- flanked on three 90-degree sides by concave “stadium-like” features … with a, roofless, lattice-like “building” on the right of the central rectangle.  

Smaller, equally geometric and carefully aligned “box-like openings” appear farther away ….

The impression of a vast set of extremely ancient ruins – most now without roofs, but with ample surviving walls – covered both by “snow” … and whatever the “brown stuff” is … is unavoidable.

*     *     *

If the idea of a massive, artificial “wall” girdling this satellite is difficult to swallow, the existence of thousands of square miles of clearly rectilinear ruins on the same airless, icy satellite is definitely “over the top.”  

So, let’s examine some more evidence ….

Here (below) is a wide angle Cassini color image, taken of the northern “polar ice” and terminator.  At top center (red outline) is an area where the spacecraft is looking almost horizontal to the local surface. 

In close-up (below), the intensely angular -- and repetitive -- vertical architectural geometry, and rectilinear design extending across this entire region, is unmistakable … and totally “unnatural.”

Confirmation that “something” (besides the astonishing equatorial “wall”) is extending miles into space – here, above the polar regions of this 900-mile-wide moon (below) -- can be seen in this equatorial low-res approach color image -- taken by Cassini at approximately 500,000 miles, on December 26, 2004.  

Note (close-up, below) the string of bright, reflecting objects -- hanging (somehow …) well abovethe satellite’s limb …. 

Then, if we look along the southern horizon, we see the same type of anomaly … this time a “tower-like structure,” rising more than a mile above the surrounding terrain (below)

Above it lies a remarkably geometric “waffle pattern” – moreevidence that all on Iapetus is not quite “natural.”

All pointing toward an equally “unnatural,” if not extraordinaryexplanation for this “moon” ….

What the hell did Arthur know … and “how?!”


Epilogue: After 2001

 The novel 2001: A Space Odyssey was written during the years 1964-1968 and was published in July 1968, shortly after release of the movie. As I have described in The Lost Worlds of 2001, both projects proceeded simultaneously, with feedback in each direction.

 Thus I often had the strange experience of revising the manuscript after viewing rushes based upon an earlier version of the story - a stimulating but rather expensive way of writing a novel.

 As a result, there is a much closer parallel between book and movie than is usually the case, but there are also major differences. In the novel, the destination of the spaceship Discovery was Iapetus (or Japetus), most enigmatic of Saturn's many moons. The Saturnian system was reached via Jupiter: Discovery made a close approach to the giant planet, using its enormous gravitational field to produce a "slingshot" effect and to accelerate it along the second lap of its journey.

 Exactly the same maneuver was used by the Voyager space-probes in 1979, when they made the first detailed 
reconnaissance of the outer giants.
 In the movie, however, Stanley Kubrick wisely avoided confusion by setting the third confrontation between Man and Monolith among the moons of Jupiter. Saturn was dropped from the script entirely, though Douglas Trumbull later used the expertise he had acquired filming the ringed planet in his own production, Silent Running.

 No one could have imagined, back in the mid-sixties, that the exploration of the moons of Jupiter lay not in the next century but only fifteen years ahead. Nor had anyone dreamed of the wonders that would be found there - although we can be quite certain that the discoveries of the twin Voyagers will one day be surpassed by even more unexpected finds. When 2001 was written, Io, Europa, Ganymede, and Callisto were mere pinpoints of light in even the most powerful telescope; now they are worlds, each unique, and one of them - Io - the most volcanically active body in the Solar System.

 Yet all things considered, both movie and book stand up quite well in the light of these discoveries. There are no major changes I would wish to make to the text, and it is fascinating to compare the Jupiter sequences in the film with the actual movies from the Voyager cameras.
 It must also be remembered that 2001 was written in an age that now lies beyond one of the Great Divides in human history; we are sundered from it forever by the moment when Neil Armstrong set foot upon the Moon. July 20, 1969, was still half a decade in the future when Stanley Kubrick and I started thinking about the "proverbial good science fiction movie" (his phrase). Now history and fiction have become inextricably intertwined.

 The Apollo astronauts had already seen the film when they left for the Moon. The crew of Apollo 8, who at Christmas 1968 became the first men ever to set eyes upon the lunar Farside, told me that they had been tempted to radio back the discovery of a large, black monolith: alas 


Moon with a View:

Or, What Did Arthur Know … and When Did He Know it?

Part 2

By Richard C. Hoagland
© 2005 The Enterprise Mission

"The only way of discovering the limits of the possible is to venture a little way past them … into the impossible."
-- Clarke’s Second Law

It should be obvious by now that we’ve stumbled onto something WAY more interesting in the Saturn system than just “organic smog” … or even “liquid methane oceans.”  For what could possibly explain the existence of extremely ancient (judging from the abundance of real craters scattered in between …) ruins – and on such a distant, frozen object ... a tiny satellite of Saturn with only 1/40th the gravity of Earth– 

But an extremely advanced, ancient, extraterrestrial civilization!  

Surely, because of this almost non-existent surface gravity, combined with surface temperatures which turn water into a mineral with the strength of steel, no innate biosphere could ever have developed here, no evolution into living – let alone intelligent – organisms, could ever have occurred.  No breathable air ever gently enveloped the surface of this moon, or blew as gusts of wind down these amazing streets … or, washed the vast, surviving structures that still tower majestically above them with a morning rain ….

So, how can there be actualbuildings on the surface of Iapetus!?  How can any of this be real?!

What if the air, which had to exist (to support the countless living beings who must have built and occupied these thousands of square miles of obviously designed architecture -- who … for some amazing reason … also built “the Wall” -- was not on the outside of Iapetus … but on the inside?

In other words -- what if Iapetus is not a natural satellite at all ... but a 900-mile wide spacecraft … an artificial“moon?!”

*     *    *

Before everyone starts giggling, let’s look at the mounting evidence.

The dark, enigmatic “stain” covering fully two-thirds of Iapetus, not only has a very “geometric” aspect (it’s a precise ellipse) … it begins and ends in two matching “ring-shaped” features (below).  

In traditional planetology, these circular “impact basins” are attributed to explosive asteroid or cometary collisions (sometimes the resulting excavation later partially refilling with upwelling internal lava, producing “ring basins” around the central impact uplift).  Such features have been photographed over the years on a variety of solar system objects, and come in a variety of sizes -- all attributed to these celestial objects – even ones only a few miles across -- striking at hypersonic velocities, releasing their devastating kinetic energy on impact.  

The problem with this random, external explanation for Iapetus is that both ring-features are the same size … both lie on the Iapetus’ equator … and both are located (the shortest distance) ~120 degrees apart (see map, below) -- precisely one third of the satellite’s circumference from each other … one “tetrahedral” angle!

(I can hear some of you now saying -- like President Reagan did to President Carter years ago -- “There you go again ….”) 

But their tetrahedral “positioning” is a measurable fact -- and another striking argument for deliberate design.  As the odds of two similar-sized objects randomly striking such a satellite twice, on the equator, and precisely 120 degrees apart -- thus producing two “coincidental” matching “ring basins” -- are infinitesimal.  

These extraordinary odds are compounded, of course, by the fact that the mysterious “dark ellipse” across the leading hemisphere stretches 240 degrees the other way around the “planet” -- which is, of course, two“tetrahedral angles” ….  The ellipse now begins and ends neatly at the two “rings” (see map - above) – indicating that they are somehow “involved” with its creation.  

This all argues persuasively for an internal source for both the dark ellipse … and the rings themselves.

However, that this geometry is notsome new form of internal geological control -- modulated by the planetary Hyperdimensional Physics we’ve found operating on other planets – also seems clear; neither “ring” lies anywhere near the infamous 19.5-degree “upwelling latitude” controlled by internal  “tetrahedral” forces we see operating on other planets and their satellites.  Yet, the placement of both “ring features,” 120 degrees apart, is obviously conveying the same “tetrahedral message” left behind in other artificial ruins we’ve explored across the solar system ….

Finally, it can be no accident that the Great Wall neatly bisects this ellipse … and, straight as an arrow, runs for 240 degrees … connecting both strange “rings!”

On the side of the moon facing away from Saturn (below), after crossing the dark elliptical expanse as a faint light line (right) … the Wall turns into a series of brilliant (snow-covered?), mysterious 12-mile high “mountains” (at least, that’s what NASA’s calling them for now …) – strung out in a precise line passing directly through (and above) the ring-shaped feature on that end of the ellipse.

Conclusion: this remarkable string of increasingly improbable “coincidences” is not coincidence.  It is strongly arguing design.  And a “tetrahedral” design at that ….

*     *     *

Additional evidence supporting this (admittedly) extraordinary hypothesis comes from examination of other regions of the surface of Iapetus.  

Here (below) is another remarkable comparison. 

The image on the left is an additional wide-angle shot from the Cassini fly-by of December 31st.  The image in the right reveals the remarkable distribution of same-size “craters” newly imaged on Iapetus – “coincidentally” arrayed at roughly equal distances from each other, and … all on the same “latitude” … parallel to the Great Equatorial Wall! 

Needless to say, the idea that an array of same-size comets or asteroids somehow randomly “chose” to all fall (over billions of years) on exactly the same line, separated by almost equal distances (!) – and … exactly parallel to the Iapetus’ equator -- is just silly.  

A close-up of one of these “craters” (below) -- located on the western rim of the large impact basin in the center of the disc (above) -- reveals that the “crater” is, in fact, another major architectural form.  It is part of an array of equally incredible geometric architecture ... and, other than being approximately “round” … with its uniform-width, “castle-like walls” and geometric interior, does not morphologically resemble actual impact craters imaged anywhere else in the solar system!  In addition, if you look closely toward its “top” (as seen in this close-up image - below), the line of geometric patterns proceeding toward it from the right passes uninterrupted right through the “crater” floor – indicating that, in fact, the “crater” is part of a set of pre-existing structures.

If I am correct, what we are seeing as “geometrically arranged craters” on Iapetus are, in fact, structurally-defined surface collapse features – revealing key weak points in the basic sub-modules of this “artificial moon.”  It stands to engineering reason that such a huge “world structure” would be assembled fractally – by building it up from multitudes of identical, smaller units – using the fundamental principal of the “tetrahedral truss.”  

This, of course, was the secret of Buckminster Fuller’s famed “Geodesic Domes” (below).

The “latitudes” along which these major sub-units are arranged on Iapetus seems to be determined by the structural strength each one contributes to the integrity of the overall “spherical moon.”  And the basic geometry of each major sub-unit (how they collapse …) is revealing the geometric nature of the sub-modules themselves ….

If you look again at many of the “craters,” you can see that they are, in fact, deformed hexagons (below). 

This strongly indicates that, as the surface of Iapetus has been eroding (from the incessant onslaught of micrometeorites, over untold millions of years …), the larger structural geometry literally holding it together – on a variety of scales – is repeatedly revealed … exposing the fact that this fundamental structure is essentially the same geometry that defines a geodesic dome – a replicating tetrahedral pattern (below)!

The largest visible example of this intrinsically tetrahedral form is the ~240 mile-diameter basin in the center of the image (below).  It too has a basic hexagonal geometry – more supporting evidence for the “two-dimensional, six-sided, sub-module assembly model” for the surface of this entire “moon.”  As can be seen, smaller collapse features within it (and beside it) are also eroding according to this basic tetrahedral form ….

A close-up of the vertical, 12-mile drop -- from the rim to the floor of the major basin (below) -- reveals a series of serrated, evenly-spaced “teeth” (similar sized fragments of former structural walls ...) sticking at right angles outward into space from this eroding feature ... creating a series of parallel, ~60,000 foot cliffs.  On the basin floor itself, a series of aligned, 90-degree eroded features is also clearly visible (running from lower left to upper right – below) ….

These are all redundant indications that the smaller structural sub-units are, indeed, being fractally eroded backward from the basin center … along each of the six, hundred-mile-long, hexagonal “rim walls.”

By contrast, on the northwest cliff of this ~240-mile-wide basin, the ancient blast wave has revealed a very different array of impossibly massive, engineering-looking structures (marked below).

In close-up, the strikingly geometric -- but very different nature -- of this “mega-engineering” is exposed …. 

These appear to be some of the incredibly imposing, main structural elements of this small “moon” – a “keel” as it were -- apparently uncovered by whatever impact destroyed the surface here – still aligned over literally hundreds of miles north/south -- exactly 90-degrees to Iapetus’ equator (out of frame – left).  Other forms (below) are eerily twisted into massive, but still “geometric,” wreckage … mute testimony to the inconceivable energies released against this almost “god-like” technology … a long, long time ago.

All of which confirms what the two giant “rings” – carefully positioned 240 degrees apart at opposite ends of the mysterious dark ellipse -- were obviously trying to communicate--

That Iapetus is not one of the normal “moons” of Saturn -- but is actually a 900-mile-wide, manufactured, ancient world-sized spaceship ... created under 1/40th terrestrial gravity according to a fractally apparent, “tetrahedral”pattern!

*     *     *

Nothing else makes sense.

Once you realize, from these extraordinary images, even the possibility that what we’re seeing is not natural, that we aren’t dealing with a “world” at all -- but with a world-sized ship! -- the supporting evidence is everywhere ….

At low incidence lighting over other regions (for instance, near the major impact basin on the right – below) one cannot help but look again at that remarkable, rectilinear “waffle” pattern.   The explosive formation of that basin to the north would have also totally destroyed any former “surface covering” here as well -- exposing massive inner structural supports.  

In fact, if you look carefully along the terminator in this region (to the right – below) -- that seems to be exactly what we’re seeing!

Close examination reveals a definite “grid” crisscrossing this region … apparently composed of several angled layers of overlying structural “rebar” -- but on an incomparably massive scale ….

Because the human eye/brain combination recognizes linear patterns far better at some angles than at others, when we rotate the image 90 degrees counterclockwise (below) -- the obvious exposed and layered nature of this “moon” really stands out … as a series of long, linear features which seem to be major structural support in this region for the (now destroyed), overlying “terrain” (below) ….  

A closer view …. 

The unique and obviously layerednature of Iapetus -- a “shell … within a shell … within a shell” is truly revealed here (below): the “cookie cutter” geometry of this eastern “impact basin” (seen here from a different angle to the previous image) is totally unlike that of any other impact features known  ... on any other planet, or satellite across the solar system!  

The essentially vertical, ~12-mile cliffs (curiously similar to the “12-mile elevation” of Iapetus’ “Great Wall”), plunging down in discrete steps – as if whatever gargantuan explosion ripped thorough the surface, exposed successive shellsof now heavily eroded, layered Bucky Fuller architecture – says it all. 

As does the repeating pattern of underlying liniments and right-angle geometry … across each successive shell.

These are the shattered, blasted remnants of an ancient, almost incomprehensible science and technology … stark, surviving evidence of a “super-engineering” that once held together an entire world … and for some reason, placed it in the Saturn system.

*     *     *

At the top of Part I you might have noticed one of the first Cassini images of Iapetus, taken last October.  This was done deliberately … to see if anyone would, early on, pick up on the most blatant, most startling piece of planetary evidence we’ve found supporting “artificiality” for Iapetus.  The most “in your face” view (sorry …) that NASA ever has released (below)--

This image.

To properly begin the analysis, there are several additional things you need to know -- starting withhow the image was acquired.   

The Cassini spacecraft took this time-exposure by the light of “Saturn shine” – via the reflected glow of the Ringed Planet, shining on the hemisphere of Iapetus that always faces it, from across more than two million miles ….

In this view, acquired by Cassini from just under half that distance, in October 2004, the eastern side of our familiar “dark ellipse” is toward the left – terminating in one of the two remarkable “ring-shaped” features discussed earlier.  This eastern “ring” – and an extremely provocative, aligned “rectilinear geometry” completely surrounding it – is located near the center of the hemisphere we’re looking at.  

What’s most interesting about this “ring-feature” is how the ~220 mile diameter “array” – and everything surrounding it -- seems oriented … east/west, north/south.

But the most startling feature of this unique, nighttime record is the overexposed, sunlit portion of Iapetus’ surface – to the right.  Look very carefully.  Do you see what is blatantly apparent -- an aspect of this exotic “moon” which simply should NOT exist … unless we’re right?

Here is a comparison graphic to assist you (below).

This Cassini image (above-left) is of another Saturnian moon -- also first seen as a mere dot of light in Cassini’s small refracting telescope over three hundred years ago – another of the “Titans” … the moon Dione.  Taken by the spacecraft narrow-angle camera from about 800,000 miles away, this image is a “normally” exposed view.  

Dione is about 200 miles smaller than Iapetus, at only 695 miles across.  Its icy surface is also covered with a variety of craters, from untold years of random impacts.  Dione, like Iapetus, also revolves and rotates around Saturn synchronously -- one hemisphere always facing the primary planet, the other die forever turned away.  Note how the sunlit hemisphere in this image is well-illuminated, with a few of the larger craters showing deep shadows, while the opposite (Saturn-facing) hemisphere is currently in total darkness.  

The second image (above-right) is a “time exposure” of the same view, taken a few seconds later.  It was produced by integrating the faint light reflecting off Dione’s nightside hemisphere, utilizing the “Saturn shine” time-exposure technique described above.  The result is a faintly-illuminated view of the previously invisible, Saturn-facing hemisphere.  

As with the Iapteus shot, the (totally overexposed) sunlit landscape is on the right ….

What is critical for properly completing this analysis is to take careful note of the shape of Dione’s overexposed sunlit surface.  Even under its low surface gravity (approximately that of Iapetus’ – about 1/50th that of Earth), the mass of ice and rock making up Dione (with a density of about 1.5 times that of pure water) has obviously crushed this mass into essentially a perfect sphere. 

Then, there’s tiny Mimas (below) – another Saturnian moon, this one only 247 miles across ... less than the size of some of the major impact basins on Iapetus (note the Saturn shine on the left of the enlarged inset image …)!  Mimas' surface gravity is only 1/150th that of Earth (a little under 1/4th that of Iapetus) … yet it too is almost spherical; the difference being a slight “egg-shaped” distortion in the direction of Saturn (below – inset) – created by “solid-body tides” raised in Mimas’ surface, caused by Saturn’s immense gravitational attraction a mere ~115,000 miles away.

Which is the obvious point here: something is radically “wrong” with Iapteus … compared to Mimas or Dione ….  

Despite having a larger gravity field and much more mass …  and being over 2 million miles from Saturn (so “tides” are totally eliminated) …its overall shape isn’t close to being spherical!

Look again at the “Saturn shine” image of Iapetus (below-left).  In the overexposed sunlit portion, the limb of the moon – rather than being round (like Mimas or Dione) – is plainly composed of a set of sharply slanted planes (below-right) ….  The exact number is difficult to reconstruct (because of the overexposure and the viewing angle), but the outlined areas appear to mark at least six (tetrahedral?) amazingly flat “sides” – each measuring hundreds of miles in length!

Needless to say -- natural planets or satellites do NOT come with sharply-defined “straight edges!”

And before anyone says, “Oh, that’s just a smeared photo,” I would remind them of the official NASA press release that came with it, which plainly states:

… The image shows mainly the night side of Iapetus; part of the far brighter sunlit side appears at the right and is overexposed due to the long integration time of 180 seconds. Despite this long exposure time, almost no blurring due to the spacecraft’s motion is apparent [emphasis added].

What this means, of course, is that the stark, “impossible” straight-edged geometry we’re seeing on Iapteus’ limb … is real!

In October, following the just-discussed testing of this technique on Dione, Cassini was commanded to take a much more extensive series of similar long-exposure images of Iapetus … over a period of several days (below).   

Since one or two images would have sufficed to show the surface features under “Saturn shine,” the fact that Cassini took over a hundred distant images (below) --as both the spacecraft and the “moon” moved inexorably further around Saturn -- indicates to me that NASA also strongly suspected -- in October -- what we’ve just discovered: that Iapetus, for somereason, is NOT a “spherical” moon ….  

In fact … that it’s not a “moon” at all!

If you take one of the first images in this curious sequence (October 20th), and one of the last (October 22nd) -- and compare them (below) -- you instantly see that the angle of perspective (due to the relative orbital motions of the “moon” and Cassini) significantly changes in this two-day period.  A careful comparison of these perspective changes unequivocally shows that – whatever is causing the “flat” geometry on this bizarre “moon” – is changing in a three-dimensional manner totally consistent with the changing viewing geometry ….

In other words, this is a completely independent check (beyond NASA’s own official statements) – on whether the over-exposed, “straight-edged geometry” we’re seeing on the sun side of Iapetus is simply an imaging “artifact” -- due to “blurring.”  

It is NOT.

As I gazed at this astounding image, something about it was eerily familiar ….

Then it hit me: this was the same geometric shape (below) that H.G. Wells – that famed Victorian science fiction writer, who also left us immortal classics like “The Time Machine,” and “The War of the Worlds” -- had proposed for his own spaceship … in “First Men In the Moon” (1901)!

(Which brings up the nagging question: what did Wells know … and how did he get wind of it ..!?)

Such a shape, of course -- in two dimensions (as a silhouette or projection) -- is structurally derived from one of the more complex three-dimensional “Platonic Solids” (below) – the only regular polyhedral (“many sided”) geometric forms which will fit perfectly within a sphere ….

In this case, apparently an irregularpolyhedron based on the … dodecahedron (below).   

The appearance of this startlingly regular geometry on a Saturnian moon – but only (at least, at this angle) on the sunlit side, and only with sufficient overexposure of the image – was a crucial clue to the physics of this whole “impossibility.”  

If this one-time “spaceship moon” was originally constructed along the geometric lines of a higher Platonic Solid (icosahedron … dodecahedron … some variant thereof …), eons of micrometeorites (according to the apparent ancient age of this astonishing object …) would have preferentially eroded the exposed vertices of such a polyhedron … inexorably whittling away at the highly angular structure, until what remained (under normal lighting) resembles more or less a sphere!

Only sufficient camera overexposure, at the immense distance of Saturn from the Sun, can reveal Iapetus’ originalgeometry -- by enhancing the faint scattering of sunlight still reflecting from those parts of the Iapetus’ former structure still “hanging in the sky” … above the long-eroded surface of this ancient “moon” ….  In other words, more of what we have already seen above Iapetus’ polar regions (below).

This was why the over-exposed, sunlit limb of Iapetus in the “Saturn shine” Cassini image – as a two-dimensional projection of a three-dimensional Platonic Form – mustreveal in silhouette the original three dimensional geometry of this “artificial moon” (below).

This is compelling evidence – and on a planetary scale (below) – that Iapetus was, in fact, constructed … as a geodesic moon.

Additional confirmation of this astonishing geometry – and the entire “tetrahedral moon hypothesis” -- is visible in other images as well ….  

A set of mosaiced, narrow-angle Cassini images of Iapetus -- taken as the spacecraft passed muchcloser to this extraordinary satellite (within 80,000 miles, during the December 31 encounter) – revealed a magnified straight-edged aspect to the moon’s horizon (enlargement-below, top).  Appearing as if the image was actually taken on a Hollywood soundstage! – with the sharp, angled horizon (enlargement-below, bottom) the result of “forced perspective” on a set – in fact, the Iapetus image turned out to be a much higher-resolution example of the same, impossible “geometric planes” seen in the distant “Saturn shine” October images!  

Again … natural satellites do NOT come with hundred-mile-long “facets!”

The fact that this startling “straight edge” geometry is clearly evident on a normally-exposed image of the dark, leading hemisphere, seems to be trying to tell us something quite significant … particularly, about external erosiontaking place on the two different hemispheres of this increasingly perplexing “moon.”

One of the prevailing models for the Saturn system proposes that micrometeorite erosion is enhanced on the leading hemisphere of the synchronously rotating satellites – due to the simple fact that the moons’ orbital velocities around Saturn (and, at certain times, around the Sun) add to the speed (and thus destructive energy …) of any impacting objects “on the front.”

The fact that we’re seeing stark evidence of Iapetus’ original ground-level plane geometry in this leading hemisphere (while such remains have almost disappeared in the trailing hemisphere – and are only visible now in lengthy time-exposures), would at first seem to be a major contradiction – both for the meteorite theory … and the age of the original geometry itself.  In fact, the visibility of such remains should be exactly the other way around: they should much better-preserved in the one place shielded from such constant micrometeorite abrasion … on the trailinghemisphere.

However, if Iapetus has not always kept its darkened hemisphere aligned with its orbital motion around Saturn -- as seems the case with several other of Saturn’s moons (they’ve apparently reversed their orientation over the lifetime of the solar system, several times -- due to large, external impacts …), then perhaps Iapetus’ now leading hemisphere … was once facing in the opposite direction (below)!

If that’s the case, then the discovery of surviving straight-edged geometry at ground level in the current leading hemisphere could be another means of unraveling the deepening mystery of the “dark ellipse” itself. 

Another mystery that the discovery of Iapetus’s bizarre Platonic Geometry could solve, is the reason for the precise placement of the two “ring basins” -- 240 degrees apart, at the east and west ends of the front hemisphere “ellipse.”  If Iapetus is in fact an artificial, now anciently eroded, dodecahedron (or a higher order “geodesic sphere”) – then, the “tetrahedral” siting of these two strange “rings” suddenly makes perfect sense!  

As can be seen (below), if a tetrahedron is placed inside a dodecahedron, its vertices can also be precisely placed on select vertices of the dodecahedron itself.  This, in turn, generates a “lowest order solution” to the puzzle of why the two “impact basins” marking the Iapetus ellipse would be located on the surface according to a tetrahedralgeometry.  

The answer: they aren’t “natural impact basins” after all -- but more ancient, geometric evidence that Iapetus was once a Platonically-designed … world-sized … spaceship “moon” ….   



Page 2 of 5

Moon with a View:

Or, What Did Arthur Know … and When Did He Know it?

Part 3

By Richard C. Hoagland
© 2005 The Enterprise Mission

"The only way of discovering the limits of the possible is to venture a little way past them … into the impossible."
-- Clarke’s Second Law

So, apropos of this “impossible image” (above) … what have we got?

What we’ve “got” is a unique, extraordinary object orbiting Saturn … again, the singularly most important object (I would argue -- the “Face on Mars” now notwithstanding) that NASA has found in its almost half a century of looking!   

The “Holy Grail” of all our Hopes and Dreams … the culmination of centuries of planetary observation/expectations ….

A “moon” -- but a moon like no other known, one which has intrigued and mystified Earthbound astronomers for centuries … which now, it turns out, is quite possibly a very ancient spaceship … placed in orbit around Saturn for “some reason” … a long, long time ago.  

When it was new, it may have even looked a bit like this (below) -- complete with “equatorial ring.”

(Which means, of course, we now have to add George Lucas to our growing list – and ask where he got such an extraordinary concept ….)

But what’s most amazing about all this is that none of the extraordinary information or analysis supporting this tentative conclusion has come to you via “an official NASA press release” -- despite this data having been on Earth for months!  

If we are right in this “Iapetus Proposal,” the most staggering discovery of NASA’s last 30 or so years is coming to you (once again …) via a group of independentscientists.  And now that we have brought world-wide attention to this extraordinary find … whether we even get to see the more extraordinary details of the nextCassini fly-by of Iapetus (which is supposed to be ~100 times closer than last December’s!) is quite debatable ….  

For, it’s hard to believe that we’re the first to recognize what we are seeing!  Or, that we’re the only investigators – either inside or outside NASA -- to comprehend the incredible implications of such a potentially overwhelming find—

An entire spaceship world … trapped in orbit … around Saturn.

But, because of the deafening silence coming out of NASA on what it already knows but won’t release (let alone suspects!), about the glaring anomalies we’ve now identified about this “moon” … we are left with only one sad but inevitable conclusion:

NASA, again, has decided to “tough it out” … to officially say nothing -- like it has treated all its other discoveries of “extraterrestrial ruins” in the solar system … over the last 30 or so years ….

Such a policy, of course, is directly due to “Brookings” -- the official NASA report of almost 50 years ago (1959) -- which warned the U. S. Government that any scientific evidence of extraterrestrial intelligence “could be destabilizing to terrestrial governmental institutions … if not the future of civilization ….”  

The Space Agency, therefore, obviously plans to pretend (certainly, in public …) -- in full consonance with “Brookings” -- that what exists in these extraordinary Iapetus photographs … simply isn’t there.  

(And then some folks wonder why I’ve been saying for a long, long time … we need new leadership at NASA ….)

But, suppose that we as taxpayers (who are actually paying for this Mission …) could determine “what comes next?”  What should we insist occur now?

The true test of any scientific hypothesis is successful “prediction.”  The well-known astrophysicist, the late Sir Fred Hoyle, once said: “I don't see the logic of rejecting data just because they seem incredible.”  Later (in Part 4), we will make a number of highly specific predictions regarding our “incredible” hypothesis: that Iapetus is, in fact, an artificial “moon.”  

Such an idea -- while perhaps outrageous to some -- is scientifically confirmable, and with this spacecraft … but only if we now go back to Iapetus and acquire key new data, to test the predictable aspects of this amazing possibility.  

Now, when should we do this?  Well, that’s obvious--

As soon as possible -- while Cassini’s still a working spacecraft!

*     *     *

The Cassini/Huygens spacecraft is as big as a small school bus (note the size relative to the technicians - below), measuring over 22 feet long, 13 feet wide -- and weighing more than 6 tons (with fuel).  It is equipped with a complement of 12 state-of-the-art scientific instruments, many with multiple functions – making it uniquely qualified now to return to Iapetus … and carry out the first thorough scientific investigation of a high probability extraterrestrial “artifact” … an entire artificial “moon!”

But, getting back to Iapetus will not be as easy as it sounds – both for technical and political reasons.

Of all the moons of Saturn (except for tiny, distant Phoebe), Iapetus has the most inclined orbit.  All the other major moons lie essentially in the plane of Saturn’s equator and its rings, and are relatively close to Saturn.  Iapetus’ orbit is tilted 15 degrees to these other orbits … and lies more than 2 million miles away (below) ….

This makes Iapetus very difficult to get to.

After entering orbit on July 1, 2004, the original plan was for Cassini to observe Iapetus mainly from a distance … as the spacecraft was enroute to observing the bewildering but scientifically rich cornucopia of other phenomena in the Saturn system.  This was how the recent, even more spectacular images and data of Iapetus than originally planned, were -- almost as an “afterthought” -- acquired on December 31, 2004: because the initially designed spacecraft trajectory was significantly altered a few years ago … to allow for the so-called “Doppler problem” discovered on-board Cassini after launch.  Without this major orbit alteration – which coincidentally allowed Cassini to come within 80,000 miles of Iapetus (as opposed to the original ~400,000 on the recent fly-by) -- the subsequent encounter geometry at Titan would have prevented clear data transmissions to Cassini during the critical Huygens' Titan landing (polar orbital view - below).

Thus, our best look at Iapetus to date was actually due to a series of “beneficial accidents!” 

Because of this great difficulty in reaching Iapetus’ orbit directly, in the nominal Cassini Plan the intent was (and still is!) to carry out the next (extremely close) fly-by of Ipateus (~600 miles) only once in the entire four-year Mission – on September 10, 2007 (below) – as the base-line Cassini science mission is winding down.  

The outer circle (below-left) depicts Iapetus ~2 million-mile orbit as seen from above Saturn’s north pole; the next inner ring is Titan’s orbit.  The second view (below-right) depicts the Saturn system edge-on – showing the major orbital plane change required to reach Iapetus.  And, orbital plane changes are VERY expensive (in terms of on-board fuel) ... which is why (ostensibly) there is only one“targeted” close fly-by of Iapetus in Cassini’s first four years …. 

This restriction only applies, however, if Iapetus is not near one of its two nodes -- two opposing points (see red line - below) along its orbit, where it must cross the plane of all the other satellites, twice every 79 days; if you time a spacecraft rendezvous for there ... then there’s no “expensive” plane change involved at all!  And, the number of times you can visit Iapetus (within Cassini’s current fuel margin) opens up enormously.

This, in fact, is how the December 31, 2004 “coincidental far encounter” was accomplished; Iapetus was near the node on the left (above), when Cassini (because of the forced change in the celestial mechanics previously described for Titan) swung out to within 80,000 miles of Iapetus’ 2 million mile orbit -- on its way back in toward Titan and the Huygen’s landing, January 14th. 

Courtesy of JPL’s “Solar System Simulator (below), this will be the view from Cassini as the spacecraft nears this one specially-planned close-encounter with Iapetus – on September 10, 2007.

As can be seen, the timing is impeccable for imaging in unprecedented detail (and at a perfect lighting angle) not only the western end of “The Great Wall of Iapetus” … stretching across the dark expanse of “the Ellipse” … but one end of The Wall’s apparent “beginnings” – over the second “ring-basin” (below), two thirds of the way around Iapetus.   On the JPL simulation (above), one can even see the line of “12-mile-high-mountains” ... which seem to mark the western boundary of The Wall.  

The 2007 Cassini fly-by should send us close-ups of these extraordinary features that are literally 1000 times better than this image (below) ….

Courtesy of Tilmann Denk (one of the Cassini Imaging Team members), these (below) are the currently planned, actual 2007 narrow angle camera imaging sequences -- designed to gain additional insights into “The Great Iapetus Wall” ….

But all this won’t occur for almost two more years ….

In the meantime, Cassini will be maneuvered into a variety of other orbits around Saturn --  via those repeated “slingshot maneuvers” utilizing the gravity field of Titan – all designed to bring it breathtakingly close to several of the inner moons, the rings, and to place it in position to examine extended regions of Saturn’s far-flung magnetosphere (below).  

And, of course, Cassini will relentlessly pursue its planned 44 close observations of Titan itself, on each repeated close approach … on every “slingshot.”

During all this time, however, as we wait patiently for two more years – particularly, as Cassini repeatedly approaches the dangerous rings themselves – anything could happen to the spacecraft ... and we could without warning lose a priceless opportunity to fully explore and resolve the now immense scientific and cultural “SETI opportunity” presented by the deepening mysteries of Iapetus ….

That must not be allowed to happen.

*     *     *

So, if we could sweepingly redefine the priorities of the Cassini Mission (based on the startling information presented here, and its non-trivial scientific and social implications …), what vital information could we learn from even one or two more dedicated fly-bys of Iapetus … and much sooner than two years?

Let’s start with the “moon’s” overall geometry.

The most obvious, most blatant evidence of artificiality for Iapetus comes from its overall, totally bizarre geometric form (below).

Even in a recent paper (2000), whose authors included some Cassini team members, it was admitted:

… limb fitting of Voyager data shows that the shape of Iapetus can be described by an ellipsoid with half-axes 750 km X 715 km ….  However, note that Iapetus’ shape is irregular rather than ellipsoidal … measured radii vary between 700 km and 780 km.  An irregularly shaped, Iapetus-sized body is something quite unusual in the solar system [emphasis added] …. 

As these measurements were conducted on “conventional” Voyager images, and did not utilize the long-exposure “Saturn shine” Cassini techniques described in Part 2, they are in fact serious underestimates for how truly “unusual” and geometric Iapetus’ limb turns out to be (though, they seem to have been one of the key incentives for the long-exposure Cassini observations which confirmed this extraordinary information …).  

What’s needed now is an extended series of similar, over-exposed “silhouette views” of the rest of the sunlit limb of Iapetus … all the way around … taken from manydifferent angles and points along its orbit -- which can then be combined into a 3-D computer model to derive the actual “non-spherical” geometry of this bizarre “moon.”

Fortunately, this does not require particularly close fly-bys to accomplish, merely the targeting of multiple, distant narrow-angle images of Iapetus with different exposure settings … as Cassini is simultaneously pursuing other studies of the Saturn system ….

What does require a series of closeencounters to truly be effective, is a comprehensive surface survey of the composition of Iapetus – particularly, the “dark ellipse.” 

Here (below) is some of the early composition data NASA’s published, acquired by Cassini’s Visual and Infrared Mapping Spectrometer (VIMS) during the December 31 Iapetus encounter.  As can be seen, the results are very preliminary – mainly at this stage identifying the “light stuff” around the brightly reflective north polar regions as “water ice” ... and the “dark ellipse stuff” as being composed of “a mixture of organics ….”  But, “organic” what?!

Before Cassini, another paper -- addressing this same several-hundred-year-old problem -- was published in 2001:

We present new [Earth based] spectra of the leading and trailing hemispheres of Iapetus from 2.4 to 3.8 small mu, Greekm.  We have combined the leading hemisphere spectra with previous observations by others to construct a composite spectrum of the dark side (leading) hemisphere from 0.3 to 3.8 small mu, Greekm.  We review attempts to deduce the composition of the dark material from previously available [ground-based] spectrophotometry.  None of them (numbering more than 20 million!) leads to a synthetic spectrum that matches the new data.  An intimate mixture of water ice, amorphous carbon, and a nitrogen-rich organic compound (modeled here as Triton tholin) can fit the entire composite dark side spectrum.  Observations in this spectral region have not revealed this mix of material on any other object observed thus far [emphasis added] ….

This potentially key relationship of the Iapetus “dark stuff” to the other significant anomalies we have presented will be discussed in greater detail later. 

To ultimately understand where these mysterious surface materials have come from – whether the “dark stuff” is internal, and has (for some reason) welled up from Iapetus only on one side, or if it is external … and has rained down over time on the “front” of Iapetus as it orbits Saturn (to say nothing of the question: “Which came first?  Is the dark stuff on top of the light stuff? ... or, is the light stuff drapedover the dark stuff ?”) – will ultimately be determined only by the details of much higher-resolution VIMS composition maps.  

And that (if you look at the size of the ~ 40-mile pixels in the VIMS multi-spectral image - above) will require getting a lot closer ….      

In fact, it will require optical-scale resolution for VIMS, to resolve details on Iapetus sufficient to determine regional differences in the distribution and the composition of the “dark stuff.”  Which, in turn (for global coverage) – will require repeated, close-up fly-bys … at differing distances, geometries and lighting.

Which brings us to the critical, much higher-resolution newimagery required now (from Cassini’s Imaging Science Subsystem – ISS) of this extraordinary “moon” ….

Now that we have identified several striking areas on Iapetus from the previous imaging -- each exhibiting large-scale, unquestionably geometric surface features, which, together, present a highly provocative case for intelligent construction -- we obviously need much higher resolution imagery to literally resolve what we are seeing.  Unfortunately, if you look again at the currently planned Cassini close approach to Iapetus in September, 2007 (below), the hemisphere which will receive the highest resolution imagery of the current Cassini mission during that one planned fly-by … is NOT the hemisphere that was imaged in December, 2004!   It’s the otherhemisphere ….

Thus, we will NOT have much (if any!) “overlapping, confirmatory, high-resolution imagery” of the remarkable anomalies that we have now identified on the lower-resolution pictures from December, 2004.  

It’s somewhat difficult to test a hypothesis ... with a different data set! 

The remedy for this is very simple: schedule at least one more,similarly close fly-by of Iapetus (in addition to September 10, 2007) ... when the lighting and viewing angles are similar to the December 31st encounter.  

By good fortune (for that pesky “plane change problem” …), this additional encounter would also have to occur near the western node of Iapetus’ orbit -- when the “moon” is cutting down through the plane of the other inner moons, the rings … and Cassini’s current trajectory around Saturn (below).  If an additional fly-by were to be  planned for that brief window (we’ll describe “how” this can occur, with your help, in Part 4), this additional reconnaissance (together with the 2007 encounter data) would give us, at minimum, adequate imagery of most of Iapetus’ surface … at a level of detail at least 100 times the current imaging.  

Only this type of synoptic, comparative, high-resolution coverage will allow truly scientific conclusions regarding the mind-boggling, potential artificial natureof the amazing Iapetus’ geometry we’ve found …. 

But, the importance of ultra-close-up imaging notwithstanding, themost important new observations Cassini could carry out at Iapetus – but only during really close fly-bys -- would be a series of side-lookingradar observations … 3-D radar images of all that amazing “stuff” that’s down there! 

Cassini is equipped (the first time for any outer planets mission) with instrumentation capable of active and passive radar observations.  Its well-advertised mission priority is “radar imaging” the surface of the perpetually haze-shrouded largest moon of Saturn, Titan (in this false-color IR composite by Gerry Geist – below).  But, “if time permits” (according to the official NASA press release …) other targets also can be examined – including some of the icy moons … and the rings.    

During the first close-up Cassini Titan fly-by, in October, 2004, the spacecraft’s side-looking radar returned a fascinating  strip of imagery -- about 150 miles wide by almost 300 miles long (below) – showing the alien Titan landscape for the first time in a radar view, this one taken from only 750 miles above its surface.

From JPL (below), here’s a brief technical explanation regarding how side-looking radar “sees” a planetary surface ... and what it can detect:

 … a useful rule-of-thumb in analyzing radar images is that the higher or brighter the backscatter on the image, the rougher the surface being imaged.  Flat surfaces that reflect little or no microwave energy back towards the radar will always appear dark in radar images.  Vegetation is usually moderately rough on the scale of most radar wavelengths and appears as grey or light grey in a radar image.  Surfaces inclined towards the radar will have a stronger backscatter than surfaces which slope away from the radar and will tend to appear brighter in a radar image. 
Some areas not illuminated by the radar, like the back slope of mountains, are in shadow, and will appear dark.  When city streets or buildings are lined up in such a way that the incoming radar pulses are able to bounce off the streets and then bounce again off the buildings (called a double-bounce) and directly back towards the radar they appear very bright (white) in radar images.  Roads and freeways are flat surfaces so appear dark.  Buildings which do not line up so that the radar pulses are reflected straight back will appear light grey, like very rough surfaces [emphasis added] ….

Imagine what this technique – which could easily confirm the “impossible” geometric forms littering the surface of Iapetus, much as it would see a terrestrial city filled with similar geometry(above - right) – could see in a close fly-by of Iapetus.  And, what it could see inside Iapetus – if the short wavelength radar beams (2.2 cm) penetrated several miles into the interior, though the many apparent gaping “holes” (those pitch black features …) seen in the visible light images?

If used to electronically scan thisunique Saturnian “moon,” the on-board Cassini radar transmitter and receiver -- utilizing the 13-foot-wide high-gain communications antenna on the end of the spacecraft (below) -- could create unbelievable high-resolution radar “imaging strips” across some of the most striking, large-scale geometric structures we’ve now discovered on Iapetus. 

A prime target of such observations, now, would be the mysterious “Great Wall.”   

Imagine (depending on what it’s really made of …) being able to see details inside this astonishing structure with the Cassini radar, using this unique capability already at Saturn to gain crucial new scientific insights into its potential artificiality … not possible from any other scientific instrument on board (below).

It has only been in the last few years that Earth-bound radars – like the upgraded Arecibo Radio Telescope (below) – have been able to send a 900 kilowatt signal all the way to Saturn (~770 million miles from Earth) … and get an echo back from its (compared to Saturn, or the rings) relatively tiny icy moons.  In analyzing the first radar echoes from Iapetus, in 2002, several new surprises were discovered.

According to Gregory Black, team leader from the University of Virginia:

It is known that the bright [trailing] side is mostly water ice, but we find it does not reflect the radar like other icy satellites that we've studied with the radar before.  The ice on Iapetus appears much less reflective.
Another surprise is that the radar system sees Iapetus as a uniform object [red line - below], meaning no difference between the light and dark sides [emphasis added]…. 

Black’s et al. 2004 Science paperalso put forth a plausible explanation for this anomalously low radar reflectivity of the “bright” (icy) side of Iapetus: 

… the addition of 10 to 30% by weight of ammonia to water icecan increase its microwave absorption. Ammonia may have been an abundant constituent. In the saturnian protonebula thatwould have been incorporated into its satellites. The absence of spectral evidence for ammonia and ammonia products on the surface may be the result of selective depletion by ion sputtering, leaving an ammonia-poor crust over an ammonia-rich ice that would affect the radar reflectivity yet remain undetected at optical and infrared wavelengths ….

The authors extended this speculation re some kind of “Iapetus radar absorber” to the equally puzzling lack of a significant difference in the radar returns … between the leading and trailing hemispheres:

… a less likely absorber candidate is the dark material that covers the leading hemisphere.  Although it appears to have a minorpresence on the brighter, trailing hemisphere, an admixture of material in the ice below the surface could still attenuate the radar signal.  To match the optical and infrared surface, this scenario would require a mechanism to deposit clean ice over the dark material on the trailing side [emphasis added] ….

Given what we’ve discovered about Iapetus from the new Cassini images however, we are now in a unique position to suggest a very different explanation for this remarkably low radar return ….

*     *     *

Beginning in the 1960’s, based on new radar and electromagnetic interaction theories developed by Russian physicist, Pyotr Ufimtsev, including his classic “Physical Theory of Diffraction,” a way to make aircraft far less vulnerable to World War II-developed radar began to be explored.  But, it is only in the last 20 or so years that this formerly super secret “black” technology – popularized as “stealth” – has finally come to light.  

The full story behind the decades-long development (ironically, not by the former Soviet Union but by the United States) of this highly advanced military “countermeasures” radar technology is truly fascinating – finally culminating in the public revelation (by the U.S. Air Force, in the 1980’s) of a radical new fighter bomber called the “F-117” (below).

The technology beyond how “stealth” works – how an aircraft can be made to almost disappearfrom modern radar – relies on two, in principle, very simple properties: what the aircraft’s made of (and/or, what it’s coated with) ...  and what geometry it has assumed.  

Some materials (like the “ammonia/ice combination” discussed in the preceding Sciencepaper), absorb short wavelength radar signals quite effectively.  If an aircraft were coated with such a mixture, it’s so-called “radar cross-section” could be significantly reduced.  In practicality, these radar-absorbing technological materials are not composed of impossible, frozen ammonia mixtures (!), but of special, internal “re-entrant triangle geometries” -- coated with a unique compound called a “carbonyl iron ferrite” … one of several metallic paints.

The result is a combination which effectively absorbs almost all microwave energy … across a major portion of the electromagnetic spectrum … resulting in true “stealth.”

The companion method of making such a “stealthy” aircraft involves aerodynamically designing the airframe this “radar-absorbent coating” will be applied to, in such a way that incoming radar beams are NOT directly reflected back toward the radar’s source.  This involves incorporating highly unusual planar geometry in the aerodynamic design … then applying the radar-absorbent coatings to this geometricairframe. 

The result is what gave the F-117 its unique, almost “alien” (and threatening) appearance when it was finally publicly unveiled (below): a plane that’s truly more like a collection of flying pyramids… than a late 20th Century aircraft! 

The reason for the pyramid-like appearance of the F-117 is directly related to this fundamental principle of stealth technology: a shape that geometrically redirects -- by simple reflection -- incoming radar energy away from returning to the transmitting antenna (below)!

Applied to what we have just measured -- regarding Iapetus’ astonishing faceted geometry -- it seems equally likely that another, remarkable reason for Iapetus’ “anomalously low radar reflectivity” could now be seriously proposed—

That, like the F-117’s fundamental stealth design, the “moon’s” Platonic geometry is redirecting incoming radar energy away from any radar source (below)!  

The implications of this are far reaching ….

A major optical confirmation that this is what’s occurring is provided once again by the new Cassini imaging.

Here (below), we display two of the “Saturn shine” exposures of Iapetus, acquired one day apart – on October 21st and 22nd, 2004.  Look carefully at those long “diffraction spikes” that emerge in opposite directions in both images.  Those are caused by the way the Cassini CCD camera system is oversaturated by a brilliant reflection from apparently one small, sunlit region on the trailing side of the “moon.”

Now, if you measure the distance of this bright reflection from the sunlit limb, using the “diffraction spikes” as reference -- from one image to the next you’ll see that it is changing … the reflection getting significantly closer to the visible “moon’s” edge as the orbital viewing angle between the spacecraft, Iapetus and the Sun narrows over roughly a 24-hour period.  

This progressive movement, relative to the “moon’s” edge as the viewing angle changes, is the central hallmark of a mirror-like reflection – a so-called “specular reflection” (from the Latin specula,“mirror”) – but in this case, not by a normal spherical surface (simulation, below – left) … but created by one of those huge, flatIapetus surface areas (simulation, below – right), bouncing the scattered image of the Sun itself,from thousands of square miles, directly into the Cassini camera … an enormous flash of sunlight from one of the same flat areas seen profiled on the limb (below – bottom) as “a hundred-mile-longstraight edge!

An identical “mirror-like phenomenon” – but coherently reflecting radar signals away from any transmitters -- could in principle now explain the curiously “stealthy” Arecibo echoes recorded from Iapetus in 2002/2003.  This startling new possibility – and its even more startling implications – only strengthens the idea that Iapetus could, in fact, be “an ancient spaceship moon ….”

It also heightens the stakes for why this entire, extraordinary hypothesis must now be tested -- by going back to Iapetus as soon as possible … this time, also utilizing the full capabilities of Cassini’s on-board radar.

*     *     *


During the December 31, 2004 fly-by, according to a published pre-encounter timeline just discovered, the on-board Cassini RADAR experiment—

Should have already acquired such critical new data on Iapetus!  

But, remarkably – out of all the many experiments and observations carried out by Cassini during its Iapetus encounter last December -- JPL has not published any results from these first, new radar observations of Iapetus!  The echoes were to be acquired in several time windows, spaced throughout the two-day encounter -- from “about 14 hours before … to 20 hours after, Closest Approach” (see timeline, below).  

In terms of how these and other Cassini radar observations were to be carried out, here is what another official JPL release has stated:

… At altitudes between 22,500 and 9,000 kilometers (about 14,000 to 5,600 miles), the radar will switch between scatterometry and radiometry to obtain low-resolution global maps of … surface roughness, backscatter intensity and thermal emissions.  At altitudes between 9,000 and 4,000 kilometers (about 5,600 to 2,500 miles), the instrument will switch between altimetry and radiometry, collecting surface altitude and thermal emission measurements.  Below 4,000 kilometers (about 2,500 miles), the radar will switch between imaging and radiometry ….

Since Cassini never came closer to Iapetus in this encounter than about 80,000 miles, there could be no meaningful radar imaging during this particular opportunity (Cassini was too far away to receive adequate signal strength, and the geometry was wrong …).  But, according to this published pre-encounter timeline (above), there was expected to be enough signal for simple “scatterometry” scans (echoing efforts …) -- to compare Cassini’s recorded return signals directly with the puzzling 2002/2003 much more distant Arecibo’s radar returns ….  

Yet, despite the simplicity of the experiment and the obvious high scientific interest—

As previously noted, as of this writing there have been NO published results – not even abstracts -- concerning last December’s Cassini radar echoes of Iapetus!  

In striking contrast, NASA has presented reams of close-up images, preliminary composition measurements and estimated surface temperatures on Iapetus, a wide variety of data acquired by the cameras and spectrometers during the same December 31 encounter – much of it released within just days.  It has even offered “wall to wall” raw imagingresults on its Cassini website -- from not only all the Iapetus encounters so far, but of the fly-bys of ALL the other moons since it arrived at Saturn on June 30th.

During the first Cassini satellite encounter – the ~1200 mile historic fly-by of the 136-mile diameter, retrograde Saturnian moon, Phoebe – the Cassini RADAR experiment “pinged” a variety of signals off tiny Phoebe, as the spacecraft flew by on June 11, 2004, during its final few-million-mile approach to Saturn, after its seven year journey out from Earth ….   

Official acknowledgement of preliminary results from these historic Phoebe radar scans was made almost immediately … on June 18th … within a week of the encounter.   And a more detailed scientific paper on the Phoebe radar data was presented to the American Astronomical Society’s annual Division of Planetary Sciences Meeting, in November, 2004.  In that paper, anticipation of the up-coming December Iapetus radar observations was specifically cited (as a means of further, crucial calibration of the entire Cassini RADAR system) ….  

But, after these “key observations” in December were successfully carried out, on the small matter of how Iapetus – a much more important target than Phoebe, one with far-reaching implications for the origin of the entire Saturn system (and, remember, key to “successful calibration of the entire Cassini radar system …”) -- actually reacted to these first-time Cassini radar scans ….


This, despite the fact that Dr. Charles Elachi, Principal Investigator for the Cassini RADAR Experiment, also happens to be—

The Director of JPL itself!

In fact, it gets stranger. 

Unlike the DPS meeting following the Cassini Phoebe encounter, at which Elachi’s team couldn’t wait to report its first results, the JPL RADAR team seems almost to be hiding … following the first radar close-up of Iapetus ….  

In the next few weeks (March 14-18, 2005), a world-class, annual scientific meeting will once again take place in Houston, Texas -- the 36th annual Lunar and Planetary Science Conference (below).  This is the yearly get together where all the latest NASA and other global space agency solar system discoveries are presented from the preceding year.  This year, three historic planetary missions and their results are taking center stage: the amazing NASA Mars Rovers ... because of their historic year-long surface explorations of the Red Planet; the European Space Agency’s equally important Mars Express orbital Mars Mission …; and, of course, NASA’s Cassini Saturn Mission ….

A survey of the accepted scientific papers, already listed in the official program on the LPSC 2005 website, reveals the usual wide spectrum of solar system physics and discoveries to be presented at this year’s Conference – including, three Special Sessions devoted exclusively to the latest Cassini Saturn results.   In fact, there are seven papers in the Third Session alone, totally devoted to the first Cassini RADAR observations of Titan (below).  


Out of a total of 39 Cassini papers at this Conference (not counting poster sessions …) -- NOT ONE is going to address the first Cassini Iapetus radar results!

Not one ….

And that yawning, official silence -- given the literally hundreds of years that this Saturnian moon has puzzled generations of Earthbound astronomers, and after the first application of a radical new technology which might finally solve those centuries-old puzzles -- is just very, very strange ….

*     *     *

So -- what did Cassini actually hearon December 31 … that would make JPL and NASA now treat the first, highly anticipated Cassini RADAR observations of Iapetus as if they never even happened?

During the 2002 and 2003 Arecibo radar efforts, Black’s et al. observations of the trailing side only spanned three days – from January 8th to January 10th; their 2003 radar data on the mysteriously dark, leadinghemisphere only two ….  This meant that, because of its long, 79-day orbit around Saturn, Iapetus only rotated synchronously on its axis – relative to the incoming Arecibo radar signal – by a maximum of just under ~14 degrees during the 2002 observations.  And only about 9 degrees during the observations in 2003 ….  

Given a minimum of 14 straight-edged facets completely around Iapetus from the October Cassini imaging data (count the outer edges - below), this implies about a 26-degree angle between each facet.  Thus, the odds are that during the Arecibo observations in 2002/2003, the radar reflections – even over a three-day rotation of the moon -- were not directed “normal” (90 degrees) to any individual facet’s surface.  This, as we noted earlier, would elegantly explain why the signal seemed to be so “anomalously” weak: most of the signal [apart from that reflected (“scattered”) by random craters on this ancient, battered surface …] was actually being geometrically, “stealthily,” reflected away from Arecibo  … into deep space.

But, what about the recent, much closer (less than ~ 200,000-mile) Iapetus’ radar echoes from Cassini?  

Let’s begin (again, courtesy of JPL’s Solar System Simulator) by looking at the polar geometry of that encounter.  

Here (below) is a simulated view, seen from above the north pole of Saturn (as well as the orbits of all the regular Saturnian moons, including Iapetus -- the outer, grey semi-circle).  Cassini’s trajectory around Saturn since it arrived in mid-2004, ending January 1, 2005, is marked in green.  (On this scale, the Sun and Earth are about 150 feet beyond the image, top).

As you can now see in this closer view (below), the spacecraft started out “ahead” of Iapetus the night of December 31 (the “moon” moving along its own orbit, counterclockwise, upward), as the first Cassini radar sequence in the timeline was to begin: 04:29 UTC.  This meant, of course, that the first Cassini radar ever from the mysterious object called “Iapetus” … would be of the leading, almost coal-black hemisphere ….

This first Cassini “scatterometry” radar sequence was supposed to last 3.5 hours.  

In that time, as you can see in these two new close-up Simulator views (below), Iapetus was overtaking Cassini as they both orbited Saturn, the two bodies almost approaching each other, head on.  So, the transmission angle between the spacecraft and the mysterious, dark hemisphere of Iapetus – but, in fact, the one with the amazing “Wall” -- changed very little during these first planned radar echoes -- only by about 2 degrees in that entire three and one half hours – far less than the 2002/2003 Arecibo radar observations.

The second Cassini opportunity for dedicated radar observations of Iapetus (again, according to the published timeline cited earlier), was to occur on January 1, 2005 – some ~20 hours after spacecraft Closest Approach – at 15:00 UTC (below).  This scatterometry sequence was to be of the far brighter (visually) trailinghemisphere, and to last much longer than the first … ending at 23:45 UTC – for a total second radar observation period of almost 9 consecutive hours.  

In that time (below), the changing spacecraft angle with respect to Iapetus’ far brighter hemisphere (visually), the one with the now known “facets” (!), was considerably larger – some 15 degrees – comparable with the earlier Arecibo observations.  At the same time, Iapetus’ own sidereal rotation (relative to the stars) amounted to about one additional degree of angle change ….

So, what am I getting at? 

Because of its MUCH closer encounter distance (thus, significantly greater signal strength and much lower noise than Arecibo …), coupled with a long period of continuous radar observations, andthe relatively large angle-change during this second radar acquisition, it’s possible (in fact, more than likely …) that Cassini observed a dramatic, sudden INCREASE in received signal strength … as this first radar program on Iapetus was being automatically executed by the spacecraft.  

This would have occurred as one of Iapetus’ “flat panels” -- because of the “moon’s” rotation, coupled with the spacecraft’s motion -- approached ~ 90 degrees … relative to the receding NASA spacecraft radar.  

If that happened, Iapetus’ surface would have suddenly “lit up” with an enormous burst of energy from Cassini’s outgoing radar signal -- reflected directly back toward the receding spacecraft, making it appear as if the moon’s “cross section” had suddenly expanded by a hundred (or more) times!   

This “faceted return” (simulation – below) would certainly not have been consistent with ANY naturalplanetary radar explanation ….

Given that the folks at JPL are fully as capable as we are of putting this together, is it possible that this Cassini close-in Iapetus radar return was SO anomalous, that it was correctly analyzed … for what it was … within the first few hours of being received at JPL: the radar detection of an entire, artificial moon -- explicitly designedaccording to Professor Ufimtsev’s cutting-edge electromagnetic theories?! 

And that soon, “someone” – much higher up in government than JPL (or even NASA) – after seeing this definitive, highly anomalous radar data … on a place with “hundred-mile-long-edges!” quietly issued a “gag order” on this entire “Iapetus intelligence experiment”  … in consonance with “Brookings?!

Because they too were beginning to suspect that this--

Is now much more than “mere coincidence?”

Stay tuned.


Page 3 of 5

Moon with a View:

Or, What Did Arthur Know … and When Did He Know it?

Part 4

By Richard C. Hoagland
© 2005 The Enterprise Mission

"The only way of discovering the limits of the possible is to venture a little way past them … into the impossible."
-- Clarke’s Second Law

Ok, this is the part the critics hate the most—

Where we freely speculate about what all of this might mean ….

As noted earlier, the late cosmologist Sir Fred Hoyle once remarked “I don't see the logic of rejecting data just because they seem incredible.”  So, despite what you might have heard, speculation to sort out which data is“incredible” has to be at the heart of the true scientific method.  All scientific hypotheses are really nothing more than “dressed up speculations.”

Without venturing a hypothesis, even an “outrageous one” -- attempting to knit together all the various assembled facts into some kind of a coherent storyline (the speculative part) -- “science” would simply be an exercise in making lists ….  

In truth, astronomers have engaged in many, many speculations over the mysterious nature of Iapetus for literally hundreds of years: starting with the source and origin of “the Dark Side of Iapetus.”  Here (below - courtesy of Tilmann Denk, from the Cassini Team) are just a few of the most recent speculations on Iapetus, offered by professionalastronomers (including, some other current members of the Cassini Team …) to explain this “oldest riddle in planetology.”

Then (thanks again to Denk - below), there’s Cassini’s newest, literally “off the wall” Iapetus discovery … and its associated “scientific speculations.”

… its origin is a puzzle so far, and no similar geologic feature has been observed elsewhere in the solar system [emphasis added] ….”  

Even so, the usual geological speculations by the Cassini team to “explain” their suddenly “unique solar system feature” (translation: “we have no previous experiencewith whatever this thing is … from any prior planetary mission … but here’s what we think it might be anyway …”), have not been long in coming:

… it is not yet clear whether the ridge is a mountain belt that has folded upward, or an extensional crack in the surface through which material from inside Iapetus erupted onto the surface and accumulated locally, forming the ridge ….”

Translation: “It has to be a mountain range … right?”

But all too soon this official, isolated speculation about the origin of the “Iapetus Wall” has evolved … into using this“unknown” in an effort to “explain” – via additional speculation -- another, centuries-old “unknown” …

… thus, Cassini Regio [the dark ellipse] may have had its origin in plume-style eruptions in which dark particulate materials accumulated on the surface as fallout, perhaps in conjunction with the creation of the equatorial ridge [emphasis added] ....

So, when critics look with derision on “speculation in science” – keep in mind that ALL true science begins precisely in such speculation ... even NASA’s.  There are no exceptions.  The political truth is, certain “speculations” re Iapetus are simply on the “approved list” at this point … and the rest are carefully “forbidden”—

So, here (below) are some of our own “scientific speculations” on Iapetus – mixed with some startling new facts.


*     *     *

OK, let’s begin with the big one: what the hell is Iapetus!?  

Actually, it’s easier to begin with what it’s not: apparently, a natural untouched moon ….

The best evidence for this extremely controversial assertion is NASA’s own imagery and measurements.  Natural planetary objects do not come with “edges and facets’ – as is indirectly admitted even by quotes from the Cassini’s team’s own published papers (below).

 … However, as in Voyager data [8], a good reference ellipsoid cannot be found because of the unusual irregular shape of Iapetus.  A preliminary, triaxial limb fit result from these and earlier data is 732, 726, and 722 km for three radii [emphasis added] ….

As stated earlier, natural solar system objects larger than about 250 miles across are round!  The physics behind this is very simple: unless they’re made of high-strength metals (like iron), the self-gravity of any object composed of ordinary “silicates” (rock) above a certain size will crush all the “edges” down into a ball.  So, how do we know that Iapetus is not made of such “sterner stuff” (I mean, some meteorites are iron …), which could then support much higher, “hundred-mile-long edges” -- even against the 1/40th Earth’s gravity calculated for its surface?  

Simple: spacecraft measurements.

Beginning with the Voyager fly-bys in the 1980’s, and now with Cassini’s own much closer encounter in December, 2004, the radio tracking of the spacecraft yielded very accurate measurements of Iapetus’ gravitational attraction … and hence its mass.  This, divided into the measured volume of the “triaxial ellipsoid” cited earlier (above), gives us an overall densityfor Iapetus.  And the density of a natural planetary object is directly related to that object’s average composition.

Since the density comes out to only about 1.1 grams per cubic centimeter, Iapetus’ average density is far below that of pure iron (7.87g/cc).  In fact, it’s nowhere close to being even as dense as stony meteorites (“rocks” -- ~3.5 g/cc) … but is close to pure water ice (0.91 g/cc) ... with just “a dash of rock” thrown in.  

And such a natural “icy object” simply could not sustain (against its own gravity) the miles-high, angular geometry that NASA itself has measured for Iapetus!

Ergo: something MAJOR about Iapetus cannot be natural ….

The next question has to be: exactly what?

The aligned, repeating, rectilinear 3-D geometry we’ve discovered all across Iapetus’ surface (below) is also foreign to any natural process … especially on this scale.  It also argues forcefully in favor of some kind of “outside, artificial agency” – which has heavily modified this “moon.” 

The easiest explanation for all this – after you throw away “geology” -- is that someone visited Iapetus a long, long time ago (according to the count of impact craters …), and left some remarkable structures on its surface.  Then, after literally eons, Cassini finally arrived … to photograph the ruins.

There are several problems with this theory, beginning with equating the great number of craters visible within Iapetus’ “dark ellipse” (below) with an actual “great age.”

Traditional dating of planetary surfaces relies on “crater counts” to determine relative regional ages; the more craters a given surface manifests in spacecraft images (above), the older it is assumed that surface has to be ….

This results in a set of graphs (below), counting impact craters of ascending diameters, on a variety of surfaces across the solar system – beginning with the Moon – and deriving provisional ages of those surfaces based on the planets’ mass, their position in the solar system, and the estimated populations of potential impactors in that region of the solar system. 

The only actually calibratedcratering data comes from those > 30-year-old Apollo landings on the Moon -- and the astronaut retrieval and return to Earth of the priceless lunar samples (augmented by several Soviet robotic Luna sample return missions).  Careful radiometric measurements of radioactive isotopes (and their “daughter products”) in the various rocks returned from those Apollo and Soviet Missions have allowed provisional “real’ ages to be attached to key lunar crater populations – establishing the closest thing to an “absolute chronology” for solar system cratering events we currently possess.  

All other “surface ages” in the solar system – from Mercury to the airless moons of Neptune -- given that we have no “ground truth samples” from any other body – are ultimately derived from thatcalibrated cratering chronology … first established for the Moon.  Obviously, given that the distant environment of Saturn is a vastly different region of the solar system than the space surrounding Earth -- almost a billion miles further from the Sun, and with moons of different composition -- this “calibration” can at best only be approximate.  

But, worse, it has operated under a defining assumption for over thirty years – that this wide-spread evidence of extensive cratering -- from the planet Mercury to the moons of the outer solar system -- is due to a single episode of “late heavy bombardment,” from a then newly-formed population of asteroids and comets “in the beginning” – debris literally left over from the solar system’s nebula formation, 4.5 billion years ago ....   

And that this impacting population -- after initially, steeply, declining -- has been almost constant (or very gradually waning …) over the ensuing billions of years (below) ….

Thus, if a given planetary surface exhibits a “shoulder-to-shoulder” crater population (like the center of Iapetus’s “dark ellipse” - below), if it hasn’t been “resurfaced” by obvious internal lava flows (which Iapetus hasn’t) -- it is automatically assumed that particular planetary surface must be very, very old … potentially dating back literally billions of years … to that “late heavy bombardment” period at the tail end of the actual formation of the solar system.

That overriding NASA assumption, of that last thirty or so years, is now quite likely to be very, very wrong ….  Because--

A remarkable alternative to this idea was proposed -- over those same thirty years -- by a scientific “renegade,” a world-class expert in solar system celestial mechanics: former Head of the Celestial Mechanics Branch of the U.S. Naval Observatory in Washington, D.C., Dr. Tom Van Flandern.  

Van Flandern found – and published in peer-reviewed scientific journals over those same three decades – compelling evidence of a very different solar system.  One filled with a history of the semi-periodic, catastrophic destruction of whole worlds ... and the creation of vast clouds of orbiting debris … which ultimately wind up hitting all the other planets (and their moons).  

If Van Flandern’s theory is correct, then the carefully calibrated official cratering graph (above) -- featuring one, intensive, initial period of nebular debris bombardment … followed by a vastly reduced number of ever smaller collisions over the ensuing aeons—

Is completely wrong!  

Instead, in Van Flandern’s reconstructions, as several successive planets (of a significantly more populated former solar system) literally explode (!) and spread their shrapnel far and wide – separated by hundreds of millions of  years between explosions – successive “waves” of impacting debris repeatedly collide with all the remaining planets and their satellites, to leave a highly intermittent record of overlappingdestruction and catastrophe … which is still on-going.  

In the mode that “all true science begins with successful predictions,” Van Flandern made one particularly intriguing forecast several years ago in support of the “exploded planet hypothesis [EPH].”  In Van Flandern’s paper(2000), he makes the following statement vis a vis Iapetus:

As can be seen in this “gridded” Cassini image from December 8, 2004 (below), Tom’s predictions in the case of the EPH and Iapetus were NOT specifically fulfilled; the distinctly elliptical geometry of “Cassini Regio” does NOT conform to his simplified “dark half moon” model (above – left).  

Some may view this as a major failure of Van Flandern’s model.  I don’t – for detailed reasons I’ll go into in a bit.  For now, based on our own subsequent discovery of completely independent evidencefor EPH (subsequent to Van Flandern’s published “Iapetus test” in 2000), this apparent “EPH failure at Iapetus” is actually due to an oversimplified model for the interaction of such explosion debris from Planet V with Iapetus itself…rather than an intrinsic failure of the EPH.  

(Incidentally, this is the key reason why there can be no single “up or down” test for any scientific model … not even the possibility that Iapetus could be a “spaceship moon” ….  Decisions on whether or not a given hypothesis represents “reality” must be based on the outcome of a range of careful observations and predictions ... as we all, at some point, suffer a “failure of imagination” regarding just how subtle Nature can appear.  As someone noted, “the devil is in the details” ….)

That being said, how does the EPH model impact (sorry …) our previously stated puzzle: ascertaining the true age of Iapetus, by counting the number of craters on its surface …?  Obviously, if the EPH is true -- then the “wall-to-wall” cratering observed in the Cassini imaging (below) – contrary to many recent comments on the Internet – CANNOT reflect the true “NASA age” of this amazing “moon.”

One thing is very obvious: regardless of “when” it happened, something repeatedly battered the hell out of this unique Saturnian “moon!” 

*     *     *

Which brings us back to the question we posed earlier: if major aspects of this object – its shape, the “wall,” the astonishing surface geometry, etc. -- are increasingly difficult to explain away “geologically” … then just what isIapetus: a modified natural satellite of Saturn … or even, a completely artificial “moon?” 

The prime reason I cannot believe that the geometry we now see all across the surface of Iapetus represents mere “surface installations” comes down to essentially one word: gravity.  

Iapetus, with a gravitational attraction 1/40th that of Earth (1/7thour own Moon), simply cannot hold any reasonable atmosphere for any length of time.  That would make the extensive geometry (“surface constructions”) as we see on Iapetus totally impractical … as former surface habitations.

This concept of “retainable atmospheres” is not new in astrophysics; Sir James Jeans was calculating and writing about planetary and satellite atmospheric escape rates in the early 20th Century, using the newly-discovered atmosphere of distant, low-mass Titan (in 1908) as theoretical confirmation of his calculations regarding how a planet’s/moon’s atmospheric temperature (which determines the average speed of gaseous molecules and atoms – below – depending on their mass), coupled with its escape velocity (related to surface gravity), determine how long such atmospheres can be retained.  His classic work, augmented by more recent calculations and observations regarding how the energetic magnetospheres of the giant planets (like Saturn) can sweep atmospheres from their low-mass satellites away into space, made it quite clear that no one would have ever created extensive habitations on Iapetus’ surface

However, if the geometry we see on Iapetus’ was part of the remains of former underground installations … revealed through either catastrophic bombardment, or a much longer age of meteor erosion of overlying surface layering ... then the whole idea of Ipaetus as some kind of “space base” -- or even a designed “moon-sized space station” -- began to make more sense.  

It was after analyzing these atmospheric rates, and the startling new images presented by Cassini – especially, Iapetus’ bizarre geometric shape – that I came to the provisional conclusion that Iapetus had not been “built upon” … so much as it had to be carefully designed!   

And, a lot has happened to “the neighborhood” since that occurred ….

The second major clue in favor of this radical idea was the orbit of Iapetus.

All the other “regular” moons – from little Mimas (~250 mile diameter) to Titan (~3200 miles across) – orbit in the plane of Saturn’s equator, along with the trillions of particles making up the rings (below).

Iapetus is different.  Though the third largest satellite (after Titan) -- at slightly over 900 miles across -- as noted earlier, Iapetus orbits significantly inclined to the rest of Saturn’s moons (below) – at some ~15 degrees … and over 2 million miles (~ 60 Saturn radii) away.

Flattened “nebular models” for both the swirling condensation of the solar system from an original cloud of interstellar gas and dust -- as well as the condensation of the major planets within that flattened nebula (below) -- have difficulty with high inclination orbits; frictional forces and mutual gravitational encounters should “warp” the orbits of forming planets and/or satellites down into the general plane of all the other forming objects, even before they’re fully formed ….

The high orbital inclination of the third largest moon in the Saturn system … and in the outer regions of its proto-nebula … presents a fundamental “problem” for this simple picture.  One way around this problem is to explain the “anomaly” as due to “a catastrophic collision/interaction with another proto-moon” as Iapetus was forming.  However, this is an “ad hoc” solution -- born of a lack (in the strictly natural paradigm) of any viable alternative ….

Once the (amazing) possibility is admitted that Iapetus could be an artificial “moon” – and may have been deliberately inserted into such an odd orbit – the “coincidental” nature of its unique, steep inclination (relative to the other similar-sized Saturnian moons --  Dione, Rhea, etc.) goes away.

But, equally “coincidental” is the shape of Iapetus’ inclined orbit … and its precise distance from Saturn.

Iapetus’ orbit is extremely close to being circular -- with an eccentricity of only 0.0283 – departing from a perfect circle by slightly less than 3%.  (By comparison, our Moon’s orbital eccentricity – a body that mainstream planetologists now propose was born from a similar theorized “collision” – is 0.0549 or ~ 6% … essentially twice as eccentric as Iapetus!)  

For an almost circular, very high inclination orbit to have formed through “random chance” is really pushing coincidence -- if the agent for achieving that low eccentricity and the high inclination is supposed to be the same “random” collisional event, back when Iapetus was forming.

And, there’s more.  

The sharp reader will have noticed, from the preceding  references, that Iapetus currently orbits slightly less than 60 radii away from Saturn (59.091 radii, to be exact - below).  This discrepancy, 0.15% -- in the artificial model that precisely 60 radii was originally intended -- would represent how much Iapetus has drifted since it was “parked” (as a designed “station”) in Saturn orbit.  That rate of drift, either due to Saturnian/sun tides, or other forces (to be discussed in detail later), could give another way to estimate – other than by counting craters – roughly “when” this entire scenario in fact occurred ….

That “ideal” Iapetus distance from Saturn just “happens” to also be base 60 -- another tetrahedralnumber -- suddenly appearing in the first Sumerian civilization on Earth some ~ 6000 years ago ….  A number that fits perfectly into the redundant, equally mysterious tetrahedral placement of the two major “ring basins” we’ve previously discussed on Iapetus … 120/240 degrees apart.  

And, the same number that is also redundantly communicated via Iapetus’ own baffling Platonic shape!

Which leads us to another startling “coincidence.”  

If you take the inclination of Iapetus’ orbit (~ 15 degrees) and multiply by its distance in Saturn radii (60), the result is the averageof the current Cassini “triaxial measurements” of Iapetus’ diameter (below)—

 ~ 900 miles!  

The measured Iapetus’ diameter!!

(The slight discrepancies between the “ideal numbers,” and those currently observed, can easily be explained as slight changes – occurring over a literally geological period of time – in the evolvingorbital elements of Iapetus … again, due to external solar system forces.)

All these numbers – Iapetus’ size, distance from Saturn, and orbital inclination -- are “independent variables.”  Meaning – none of them are automatically interrelated, or mandated by any current theory of satellite formation.  Yet, for some reason, they have all come together in Iapetus … this one bizarre “moon” … orbiting Saturn.  This simply makes no sense, and the odds of it happening coincidentally – especially, resulting in the actual diameter of Iapetus expressed in miles! -- are (really!) “astronomical”—

Unless this was designed!

Now, if Iapetus was created(literally, “from the ground up”) -- to memorialize “something” extremely valuable and historically  important -- both its size andorbital elements could easily have been precisely engineered … as recurring aspects of the same “tetrahedral message” embodied in other aspects of this satellite … a much vaster variant on our previously discovered (and deciphered) tetrahedral “Message of Cydonia.” 

Curiously, if you again take that orbital inclination of Iapetus in degrees (~ 15), and divide it into the ~ 60 Saturn radii of its orbit, the result is 4 … the number of the very planet where we found our first extraterrestrial “tetrahedral” design.  

In other words, is Iapetus actually atime capsule -- with its own haunting, multi-leveled Message?  A message ultimately ending with (below): 

Mars is where our solar-system-wide civilization was centered … and where its shattering demise began …?”

Regardless of the details, the point of such an elaborate, redundantly encoded communication – if it is “communication” -- could only be to signal the presence of vital information on/in Iapetus regarding its strange presence in the Saturn system … to whoever discovered this unique “moon” when they finally developed (redeveloped?) the technology able to reach Saturn once again!  

But, a signal that would only be successful if those reaching it this time understood the crucial, ancient “code key” of hyperdimensional physics: base 60.  Which, among other essentials, includes the non-arbitrary, elemental reason for a “360-degree circle” … and the size of the British mile … based on sexagesimal “tetrahedral geometry” itself.

Ok, you now see where I’m going ….

In the “spaceship moon model” for Iapetus -- leaving aside for the moment the non-trivial reasons for building such a stupendous “craft” -- there are only two possible points of origin:  

1) A “vehicle” from somewhere, far beyond the solar system … some kind of “interstellar ark”– which came to this system a long, long time ago … and ended up at Saturn.  Or, 2) a spaceship “moon” built within this solar system, for equally obscure reasons … which also ended up at Saturn -- but with a visible signature, the baffling “light/dark dichotomy” -- which would flag it across the entire system and future millennia as “anomalous” … for the returning descendents of whoever originally left it circling eternally in orbit ….

What was it Goldsmith and Owensaidback in 1980 …?

… the only object in the Solar System which we might seriously regard as an alien signpost – a natural object deliberately modified by an advanced civilization to attract our attention[emphasis added] ….

Or, as I noted the other night on “Coast,” it overwhelmingly reminds me now of that great line from Kirk, in Star Trek IV:

“Ok, everybody … remember where we parked!

We’ll consider in some detail the “interstellar option” later on.  But for now, what about the “solar system explanation”: if Iapetus istruly a derelict “spaceship moon” -- who built it, and where could they have come from … in this system?

In keeping with years of previous research published here on Enterprise, would it surprise anyone to learn that the answer to those questions could lead us all the way back across the solar system … from the distant, icy realm of Saturn … back to—


*     *     *

What if (we’re speculating, remember?) … the inconceivable, increasingly confirmed catastrophewhich overtook Planet V – the last major solar system planet to explode in the Van Flandern model, and the one Mars used to orbit as a moon – was anticipated?!   What if the real science of planetology was able then – utilizing a sophisticated hyperdimensional model – to be aware of a developing instability in Planet V’s core … centuries or even millenia before it was destined to explode?

Faced with such an overwhelming but certain, planet-wide catastrophe -- what would thatincredibly advanced society (judging by the awesome scale of the ruins still present on its surface) have done?

If it was discovered that nothingcould be accomplished technologically to prevent such a catastrophic core explosion, the only reasonable alternative would have been a mass migration of the Martian population (or, a reasonable fraction thereof …) to another planet.  And one definitely well away from the inner solar system ... as the effects of the explosion would be felt even billions of miles away ….

And that would have called for either an interstellar migration to another solar system, or the terraforming of another planet … in the outer reaches of this one.  Or—

The creation of a totally new “planet!”

So, was Iapetus part of all threeoptions …?

In other words, was Iapetus a specifically designed “interstellar ark” -- created on a crash basis in the Saturn system (see below) to transport a significant population from a doomed Mars (if not from other worlds in the entire imperiled inner solar system!) … to the stars?  

Is that what the “number 4” – indelibly encoded in the very orbitof Iapetus – is telling us ... across the millions of miles and the literally millions of years since that inconceivable explosion: that it all goes back to … Mars!?

Did mass interstellar migration with such a large population turn out to be impossible, in time … so Iapetus was built as the “replacement planet” in this system -- for some small percentage of the teeming populations of those soon to be destroyed inner system worlds (the Earth, the Moon, Mars …) whose peoples would literally have no place else to go …?   

Was this “ark” (Noah anyone …?) then left in orbit around Saturn … because – like in the interstellar scenario above -- the Saturn system was an abundant source of raw materials for its construction, if not the vital resources needed to sustain a long-term biosphere for those who would be “saved?”  Was Saturn also chosen because it was far enough from the impending cataclysm to insure survival … yet still close enough to the warm center of the solar system to allow the next phase in this extraordinary Plan to be initiated--

The increasingly fascinating enigma of Titan -- as a literal “Saturn system terraforming project?”  A valiant attempt to recreate a whole new world for the rescued populations of the soon-to-be-destroyed entire inner solar system … but on an even grander scale …?

Stay tuned ….


Page 4 of 5

Moon with a View:

Or, What Did Arthur Know … and When Did He Know it?

Part 5

By Richard C. Hoagland
© 2005 The Enterprise Mission

"The only way of discovering the limits of the possible is to venture a little way past them … into the impossible."
-- Clarke’s Second Law

Since “Moon with a View” was originally posted, reaction has been varied – to say the least! 

Some, on reading, have become intrigued.  Others are repelled.  And some, typified by this truly wondrous comment on “Coast to Coast AM” a few nights ago – “This time Hoagland has really walked off the cliff!” – are simply, as the phrase goes, “out to lunch.”

Fundamental to many criticisms of this theory is the scale of the construction we’re proposing.  These critics see the entire idea of an “artificial moon” – and one almost a thousand miles across -- as totally preposterous, mainly because of the size of such an undertaking.  What they forget is that some of these (artificial world) ideas are actually quite old … and increasingly achievable – even (as you will see) within the constraints of current technology and physics! 

Their most famous incarnation is, in major part, due to Princeton University’s Institute for Advanced Studies’ professor, Dr. Freeman Dyson.  Almost half a century ago, Dyson published a remarkable idea in the prestigious mainstream journal, Science [Dyson, F. J. "Search for Artificial Sources of Infrared Radiation," Science, 131, 1667 (1959)] – which described something termed a “Dyson Sphere.”  Dyson ended his Sciencepaper with the following conclusion:

“I think I have shown that there are good scientific reasons for taking seriously the possibility that life and intelligence can succeed in molding this universe of ours to their own purposes[emphasis added] ….”

In Dyson’s 1950’s calculations, he envisioned huge, artificial planets -- built from the “disassembly” of a star’s natural planetary system, and its subsequent reassembly into a vast number of smaller, precisely engineered artificial worlds.  The resulting “Dyson Sphere,” in Dyson’s speculations, seemed the largest artificial structures that an advanced civilization could probably ever technologically create.  And as such, he believed, they might even be observable light years away, with our “primitive” technology from Earth …. 

In this classic Science paper, Dyson was suggesting that such extraordinary objects – by literally englobing an entire solar system in a swarm of artificial “worlds,” thereby trapping almost all the parent sun’s emitted light and converting it to heat -- would glow brilliantly in the infrared region of the spectrum ... thus giving themselves away even in Earth’s 20th/21st Century telescopes, as “artificially modified star systems” (below).   

Dyson’s inspiration for this extraordinary idea (as was Arthur C. Clarke’s for many of his …) ultimately derived from famed science fiction writer, Olaf Stapledon – in particular, his 1937 classic, “Star Maker”: 

… As the eons advanced, hundreds of thousands of worlds were constructed, all of this type, but gradually increasing in size and complexity. Many a star without natural planets came to be surrounded by concentric rings of artificial worlds. In some cases the inner rings contained scores, the outer rings thousands of globes adapted to life at some particular distance from the Sun ….

Since Dyson’s pioneering publication of his “outrageous” speculation some 50 years ago, other workers have followed up with a variety of additional scenarios.  All agree that, given enough time and current technological advancement, even our own terrestrial civilization could construct the beginnings of a “baby” Dyson sphere (see schematic - below), perhaps in the next hundred or so years.  The key is in those terms: “time” … and “technological development.” 

What we’re discussing in this series – Iapetus as a potential “artificial moon” – is NOT a “Dyson Sphere” by any stretch of the imagination, but is in fact orders of magnitude easier to engineeringly achieve.  I know it will surprise many of our critics that some of the necessary materials -- and even construction technologies for such an astonishing assembly -- are already here … and at least one U.S. consortium has been formed specifically to create a similar-scale project -- to be completed in the next 13 years … by 2018!-- 

Here’s the basic concept: 

To build “an elevator to the stars,” you start building from a location on the Earth’s equator ... rising vertically until you reach “geosynchronous orbit” -- some 22,300 miles out.  Then, you send payloads up and down this structure via “climber cars” -- which would be electricallypowered and, on their ascent, being also accelerated by the increasing centrifugal forces of rotation of the planet with increasing height, would ultimately achieve tangential velocities above 22,300 miles capable of launching payloads directly into orbit (below) ….  

Or, as science fiction writer Robert Heinlein once remarked, “Once you’re in Earth orbit … you're half way to anywhere!

Compared to current, highly primitive methods of getting off this planet – expendable rockets, the Space Shuttle, etc., which can cost up to $10,000 per pound of payload launched! – Arthur Clarke once calculated that one could send a fully grown man to geosynchronous orbit (and his “22 pounds of carry-on luggage …”) via such an elevator, for about “a dollars’ worth of electricity …” -- a saving of ten thousand fold over current rocket-based propulsion systems (not counting the ~ $10 billion-dollar development costs …)!  

The original incarnation of this idea for a “tower into space” (below) can be traced back to the great Russian space pioneer, Konstantin Tsiolkovsky, in 1895:  

… on the tower, as one climbed higher and higher up it, gravity would decrease gradually; and if it were constructed on the Earth's equator and, therefore, rapidly rotated together with the earth, the gravitation would disappear not only because of the distance from the centre of the planet, but also from the centrifugal force that is increasing proportionately to that distance. The gravitational force drops. . . but the centrifugal force operating in the reverse direction increases. On the earth the gravity is finally eliminated at the top of the tower, at an elevation of 5.5 radii of the earth [22,300 miles] ….

Because of the stupendous mass of such a “tower,” the strength of existing materials -- even alloyed steels – would soon crush under their own weight, making it impossible to envision actually building such a structure above a height of about 4 miles (but even so, that’s a helluva skyscraper ..!).  

Even if composed of 100%diamond (if one could afford it …), calculation proves that the strongest naturally known material is far too weak to support itself above about 10 miles ….

Then, in 1960, another Russian – an engineer in Leningrad, Yuri N. Artsutanov -- published in Pravda a radical “innovation on the innovation” (below).  

Artsutanov suggested constructing Tsiolkovsky’s space tower not as a “tower” at all … but as a literal “skyhook”: starting it in space -- at a “geosynchronous” satellite distance of 22,300 miles out (the distance whereby a satellite circles the world in exactly the time it takes the Earth to rotate once on its own axis underneath), and then lowering the supporting structure (this time, a cable …) the 22,300 miles down to Earth … to an anchor point located on the equator, directly underneath the orbiting satellite.  Another cable, extended in the opposite direction (beyondgeosynchronous orbit) would support the necessary “counterweight mass” via centrifugal force … required to hold up the lower cable’s mass against the Earth’s gravitational attraction.

And, Artsutanov calculated, if the cables were tapered – starting out quite thick at the geosynchronous height (where the tension forces would be the greatest), narrowing in both directions as they approached the Earth and extended in the opposite direction -- suddenly even ordinary materials (if you could lift enough tonnage into space via other means, like rockets! ...) became strong enough for use … even in this extraordinary context!

Or, to quote from Arthur Clarke’sown views on this revolutionary concept, presented to the ThirtiethInternational Astronautical Congress back in 1979:

… with a stepped, or tapered, cable it would be theoretically possible to construct the space elevator from any material,however weak. You could build it [out] of chewing gum [!], though the total mass required would probably be larger than that of the entire universe. For the scheme to be practical we need materials with a breaking length a very substantial fraction of escape length. Even Kevlar 29's 200 km is a mere 25th of the 5000 km goal; to use that would be like fuelling the Apollo mission with damp gun powder, and would require the same sort of astronomical ratio [emphasis added] ….

This startlingly simple series ofArtsutanov innovations – building the “elevator” in space, making it a tapered cable … then, lowering it to the ground from orbit -- suddenly made the whole, “impossible” Tsiolkovsky’ idea … make sense.

Naturally, space engineers really wanted something a bit stronger than “Arthur’s chewing gum” to work with.  And, in the quarter century since his address, they’ve finally found it—

In one of the Universe’s greatest “irony of ironies” -- considering what we now believe the three-dimensional shape of Iapetus to be (below) – the material that will allow the construction of the world’s first practical Space Elevator … and a host of other “impossible” things … turns out to be based on a simple tetrahedral molecule … composed of carbon: the “carbon nanotube.”

Carbon nanotubes are extremely tiny (the prefix “nano” comes from their dimensions, about a billionthof a meter -- one nanometer -- wide), rolled-up, three dimensional carbon tubes, made of a hexagonalgraphite lattice -- first cousin to two other forms (“allotropes”) of carbon (below): the well-known diamond … and something relatively new, called a “Buckminsterfullerene.” 

The latter -- also known as “buckyballs” – are C60 molecules discovered serendipitously by a team at Rice University, led by Dr. Richard Smalley (Nature 318, 162)in 1985 (below).  Named after R. Buckminster Fuller, inventor of the geodesic dome (discussed in “Moon with a View” - Part 2), the “fullerene’s” 60 carbon atoms (!) are arranged spherically, as 12 pentagons and 20 hexagons (below), in the most symmetrical molecular form known. 

Then, six years after fullerenes were first synthesized in Smalley’s Texas laboratory, the “nanotube” version of this fascinating molecule was independently discovered -- by Sumio Iijima, in Japan in 1991

Extensive laboratory work around the world since these serendipitous discoveries, exploring the physical parameters of these newest forms of carbon, has confirmed truly extraordinary properties.  According to a 1999 report from the University of Michigan

… nanotubes, though very much still in the infant research phase, show many promising, world changing applications. Nanotubes have shown to be very strong materials. The Young’s modulus, a representation of a material’s strength, has been computed to be on the order of 1.2 Terra Pascals, 6.25 times that of steel [3].  Based on this, Professor Richard Smalley, a leader in the nanotube field and Nobel laureate for his buckyball research, has stated that nanotubes are at least 1000 times stronger than steel rods of the same size. [below].  Coupled with the fact that nanotubes are one-sixth the weight of steel, some fantastic structural, mechanical, and materials applications are currently being researched. These ideas include composite structures, super strong cables,small nanogears or nanomachinary, and a possible storage medium for chemicals [emphasis added] ….

So, after “only” a century of looking, the engineers had indeed found a material “somewhat better than chewing gum” … that would finally make a real “elevator to the stars” (below) ….

What’s truly extraordinary about all this is that a host of teams, worldwide – including, as noted earlier, one U.S. association of high tech companies and architectural firms -- are now in a feverish competition to actually be the first to build this astonishing contraption.  The pacing item at this point seeming only to be convincing someone to invest a “measly” $10 billion dollars to get in on the (sorry…) literal “ground floor.” 

(Later, here on Enterprise, we’ll consider separately these audacious, rapidly accelerating Space Elevator plans – which, if successful, could revolutionize human access to the solar system – and thus future history itself.  And, we’ll share a remarkable “hyperdimensional surprise” we have discovered … which will both assist – and challenge -- these Space Elevator engineers when they begin actual construction ….)

*     *     *

So … what does all this have to do with Iapetus?  


Obviously, if current materials science has developed a technology capable of constructing a single space structure, raised against Earth’s gravity … and over 60,000 miles in length (a 22,300 mile-high cable, stretching from Earth to geosynchronous orbit, plus the additional length for the required counterweight …), that same technology could someday easily create other “large space structures.”  It’s only a matter of developing the appropriate techniques for “spinning” the high-strength nanocables or “nanorebar,” out of nanotubes and buckyballs -- coupled with development of the necessary computer-controlled, robotic assembly techniques for remote manufacturing/construction in high orbit ... or … in orbit around a distant source of the critical raw material … carbon.  

Which, is far more available in the outer solar system than close to home ….

And, as stated, one U.S. consortium – the Liftport Group -- even has a “countdown clock” now posted on their website … literally counting down the days, hours, minutes and seconds, until the first terrestrial Space Elevator is successfully created … and opened for delivery of customers and cargo to high orbit!

If a handful of individuals on thisplanet -- at the very beginning of the 21st Century -- can realistically envision building such a revolutionary system by 2018, what could an ancient space-faring civilization such as we’ve proposed for Mars … countless millenniaahead of us -- scientifically and technologically -- have been able to achieve?  

In other words: the biggest impediment to taking our Iapetus proposal seriously – the scale of a thousand-mile-diameter “moon” – pales into insignificance (with even slightly more space expertise), compared to current plans aimed at creating a literal, “60,000 mile-high skyhook to geosynchronous orbit” … and in less than 20 years!!

*     *     *

In addition to being an elegant solution to the technology of howIapetus was formed, the choice of carbon nanotubes and buckyballsfor its construction would immediately address (and answer!) a variety of classic problems that have baffled the astronomical community regarding Iapetus’ appearance for the last three hundred years – starting with the unique “light/dark dichotomy” of those opposing hemispheres (below).   

In addition, the use of such ultra-high-strength carbon would forthrightly address the startling and baffling new questions raised by Cassini’s recent fly-by, beginning with–

The “moon’s” amazing geometricform. 

If Iapetus is a “tetrahedral message” – a message redundantly communicated by the specific placement of key features on its surface (the “ring basins,” etc.), compounded by its very strange orbit around Saturn, at ~ 60 radiiaway and 15-degree inclination to the rest of the Saturnian moons (which, as George Haas reminded me, when divided into 60, is another numerical code for the fourvertices of a tetrahedron!) -- then what better means to underscore that message, once again ... than to create the “moon” in the very shape of the carbon molecule used in its construction—

In actuality, one of the 13 Archimedian Solids: a “truncated icosahedron (below)!”

In other words -- a 900-mile-wide, C60 “fullerene?!”

Looked at in a larger context, creating a moon-sized “truncated icosahedron” would simply be the ultimate means of saying “five-sided/six-sided symmetry iscrucially important in the Universe ….”  

As Erol Torun discovered and decoded at Cydonia in 1988, the major artificial structure on thatlandscape – the so-called “D&M Pyramid” (below) – also neatly communicates this identical mathematical “message”: the key relationship between five-sided and six-sided geometry in the “real” world.  The loose “translation” of such a “message” (in Cydonia’s tetrahedral/hyperdimensional context): 

“The ‘relatedness’ of the physics of six-sided symmetry in the natural world (crystals, energy flow, etc.) to the biology of five-sided forms, is crucial to understanding life itself ….” 

And life, as we currently see it, is solely based on carbon ... the quintessential “tetrahedral” molecular form. 

In other words, the real message is … “Life (five-sided symmetry) cannot exist … without a hyperdimensional (six-symmetry) connection ….” 

The combination of this same “message” in Iapetus – in one, much larger solar system object -- could be another shorthand way of saying: “Here, in this object, is embodied both – the biology of a living, artificial world … created and maintained via tetrahedral(hyperdimensional) physics.  Come find out what else it means …”

This commonality, of course, is yet another indicator that the source of this “repeating solar system message,” somehow, is connected with what we’ve already found and decoded … back on “Mars.”

But, besides being uniquely supportive of the other “tetrahedral clues” embodied in Iapetus -- the entire “moon,” as a gigantic fullerene(!) – this recursive statement could also be seen as redundant communication of the unique materials making up this “moon.”  In other words, a back-up message: to underscore to any materials scientist, even viewing from a distance (below) -- “This place is obviously artificial!”   

If whoever left this increasingly remarkable object “parked” in orbit around Saturn wanted such a set of signatures to be recognizable -- even after the erosion of literally millions of years -- they would have needed precisely this degree of “redundancy and convergent clues,” potentially linked to other “messages” left in other places in the solar system … to make the “message” real.  

Culminating with this astonishing result—

Take the specific geometry that now seems to shape Iapetus – a truncated icosahedron, a duplicate of the “C60 fullerene.”  Multiply it by the number of radii Iapetus is orbiting away from Saturn (60 …).  And  discover—

360 -- the exact number of degrees in a full circle/orbit of this extraordinary “moon!”

The odds against these precise, interrelated “tetrahedral” numbers constantly recurring in one “moon” -- each neatly “encoded” in the very size, shape, distance and orbital inclination of Iapetus by “sheer coincidence” -- are literally now overwhelming!!  

The clincher is the recursive relationship between Iapetus’ measurable, remarkable macro-fullerene appearance ... and the extraordinary physical properties of the microscopic carbon nanotubes that, in our model, someone had to use to build it! 

According to Nobel Laureate Dr. Richard Smalley, writing for the American Scientist online:

… nanotubes are [nothing more than]giant linear fullerenes.A fullerene, by definition, is a closed, convex cage molecule containing only hexagonal and  pentagonal faces. (This definition intentionally leaves out possible heptagons, which are responsible for the concave parts and are treated as defects.) Like any simple polyhedron, a fullerene cage or a nanotube satisfies Euler's theorem (earlier proved by Descartes) relating the number of vertices (here, carbon atoms), edges (covalent bonds), and faces: v - e + f = 2. If the number of pentagons is p, and the other (f - p) faces are all hexagonal, then the doubled number of edges (each edge belongs to two faces) is 5p + 6(f - p), which also equals the tripled number of vertices (each trivalent carbon is shared by three adjacent faces). 
A simple accounting then yields p = 12, and therefore a nice, defectless nanotube must have exactly 12 pentagons, the same dozen as in the buckyball! The strict rules of topology impose this family trait on all fullerenes.  An even more obvious trait the nanotubes inherit from another ancestor, graphite, is a hexagonal pattern on their walls. Figure 4 illustrates this by showing two possible ways of constructing a nanotube from a precursor form of carbon [emphasis added] ….  

With this identity established, it is a reasonable speculation/hypothesis that the prime reason why the current surface of Iapetus is repeatedly collapsing, and on a variety of scales in repeating hexagonal and pentagonal patterns(below), is specifically because of this fractal, meteor battered, underlying hexagona/pentagonal carbon nanotube construction!

So, how does the presence of this “buckytube” material (the other name by which carbon nanotubes are known …) address the major three-hundred-year-old mystery of Iapetus’ “light/dark dichotomy?” 

Pure carbon is dark … very dark.  In fact, in certain forms, it’s the darkest substance known.  

For decades, via telescopic “spectrophotometry” (and now via Cassini’s own VIMS), the dark substance on the front of Iapetus has been attributed to “some form of hydrocarbon.”  Which is just another way of saying “carbon … with something else mixed in.”

In their 1985 experiment, which accidentally discovered fullerenes, Smalley and company were using a high-power laser, fired at a rotating disc of pure graphite (below), in an effort to blast off “long-chain hydrocarbons ….”  Instead, they discovered a new, pure allotrope of carbon – the buckyball.

The operative agency was “heat.” 

The heat from the focused laser beam broke the graphite bonds (above), and allowed the most stable form of carbon – C60 fullerenes – to form.   The problem: the process was extremely inefficient; the amount of C60produced in the 1985 experiments was very small.  Smalley calculated that, even if the set-up was run ten years non-stop, it wouldn’t produce enough fullerenes to coat the bottom of a test tube (a few milligrams, at most)!

However, other research groupssoon discovered processes for making fullerenes that were far more efficient:

… the next scientific breakthrough came in 1990 when a German/American group and the Sussex group independently showed that C60 could be made in gram quantities using a carbon arc. The technique is essentially very simple; if a voltage is applied to two carbon rods, (just touching), an arc will develop between them. If the arc is maintained in helium or argon (instead of in air) clouds of black smoky carbon soot are produced. It turns out that at the correct arc temperature and gas pressure up to 10 % of the black soot is C60.Also present in the soots are 1% C70, and smaller quantities of larger fullerenes [emphasis added] ….

Note the redundant use of the term “soot.”  That’s what carbon forms in these experiments: a pitch black amorphous carbon residue ... of which only about 10% are fullerenes.  Now, what is the distinguishing hallmark of the front of Iapetus?: its carbon-black/deep reddish surface (about 3-4% reflectivity) -- consistent with a LOT of carbon fullerenes … mixed in (coated?) with “something reddish” … and a lot of “soot.”

Assuming fullerenes and nanotubes are, indeed, the main structural component of Iapetus – because of their extraordinary tensile strength, ease of mass production, natural abundance of carbon in the outer solar system, etc. -- what would this model predict regarding the specific origin of the infamous “light/dark dichotomy” (above)?

The standard planetary composition for Iapetus, based on both spectral observations of the light side, and the insitu density measurements carried out by the Voyager/Cassini fly-bys, is that this Saturnian satellite is just another icy moon.  Telescopic surface spectral scans have repeatedly revealed the classic absorption pattern of frozen water, and the planned Cassini spacecraft density measurements, carried out in December, 2004 – revealing <1.1 g/cc – amply confirmed this previously measured density from Voyager.

But … is this really what Iapetus is made of?

If this object is, indeed, an artificially constructed “world” -- whose interior frame, if not actual surface “skin,” is fractally composed of carbon nanotubes, and whose interior is mostly hollow “rooms” ... once filled with air, machinery, and other essentials for a totally enclosed biosphere -- then the actual bulk structural material could have a much higher specific gravity (density) than water ice, and yet Iapetus’ surfaceappearances could still give the misleading impression of “just another icy moon” …. 


Over time, as repeated major impacts punctured through its “skin,” interior volatiles from the essentially hollow, pressurized interior – particularly water vapor – would have been explosively released to space.  These water molecules would have immediately condensed on the coldest surfaces available ... which, at Saturn’s distance from the Sun and frigid temperatures, would have been the outside of this apparent “moon!”  This would have created, with each impact, local venting and re-condensation of spectrally pure ice– until most of the interior water vapor in the formerly contained atmosphere was “cold trapped” all across the surface of Iapetus!

Eventually, the last sealed rooms in the interior would have been inevitably breached … releasing their last remaining air.  From that point on, as this derelict “moon” continued orbiting Saturn – one hemisphere synchronously facing its orbital direction, the other “protected” to the rear -- the constant “sandblasting effect” of a million million meteor impacts … over literally millions of years … would have preferentially vaporized the vented coating of thin ice from the forward-facing hemisphere--

Selectively re-exposing the original black, carbon nanotube surfacehiding underneath – through a geometrically-determined ellipticalerosion pattern (via longitudinal physical libration) -- stretching across that leading hemisphere … and partially beyond (see also, time lapse sequence -- below)! 

This -- in the artificial model -- is the real explanation for the three-hundred-year-old mystery of the “dark side of Iapetus!”

The underlying carbon-rich material, via secondary trajectories (in the 1/40th Earth gravity of Iapetus’ surface) would also have “dirtied” the remaining ice, even on the protected opposite hemisphere -- via ballistically transported carbonized debris from impacts on the front.   And, in addition to revealing the original blackened surface there, this incessant micrometorite erosion would have inevitably worn away some of the elevated vertices and edges of the original “moon” … ultimately producing the muted “truncated isocahedron” visible today ….

In this model, the “dark ellipse” -- contrary to mainstream speculations -- is not a deposit of “dark stuff from Phoebe” lying on a bright, white, icy surface … but rather, is the geometrically-determined result of a long-term erosion (and contamination) of a previous ice deposit vented from the interior biosphere … preferentially eroded via orbital dynamics ….

These ideas, of course (the artificial aspect notwithstanding), are the exact antithesis of the current leading mainstream models for Iapetus.   According to Bruce Moomaw, a well-known science writer covering Cassini:

… the "exogenous" (outside-source) theory is favored, because nobody can come up with a good explanation for why Iapetus' interior would vomit up such dark material when none of Saturn's other moons shows a trace of it[emphasis added] ….

And, unless they seriously investigate this artificial model … they never will!

Our idea, of course, also instantly explains why even at the kilometer-scale resolution of the December, ‘04 fly-by, Cassini saw NO bright impact craters (or bright rayedcraters) anywhere across the dark ellipse -- “punching through” the overlying dark material (the mainstream model …) to reveal the bright, primordial ice lying down below. 

Why …?  


That “icy landscape” doesn’t exist!!  

Iapetus’ real surface (underneath even the brilliant, “ice-covered, trailing hemisphere,” and still surviving “polar caps”) is composed of successive shells of meteor-battered, black carbon nanotubes and fullerenes … which is precisely what Iapetus’ shapehas also been trying hard to tell us!

Serious support for this idea can be seen in other Cassini images (below), which have been returned by distant fly-bys since mid-2004; if one looks carefully at this several month-long sequence, with the sun coming from the right, it is clear that between the bright white trailing hemisphere (image, right)  and the “dark ellipse” (image, left),  there is a serious topographic “step” – augmented in places by major impact scars -- fascinatingly consistent with several miles of the front” of Iapetus having been literally blown off and eroded away … either by the intense “blastwave” of debris from the exploded Planet V sweeping across Saturn’s distant orbit … or … by millions of years’ exposure to an unceasing meteoric “rain” ….

This “asymmetric erosion model” -- revealing this black carbon surface underneath Iapetus’ thin covering of ice -- is also totally consistent with the new, overexposed Cassini images ... which close-in (below) reveal a remarkably geometric terminator on some regions of the more protected trailing hemisphere of this amazing “moon” ….

In other words -- a 900-mile-wide, C60 “fullerene?!”

Amazing as it may sound, there is actual human precedent for this idea: embodying the geometry of the material used in constructing a particular monument … in the monument’s final macro-geometric form!  The most striking example of this practice (before Iapetus, that is …) was brought to my attention several years ago, by my good friend and colleague, Stan Tenen.

Stan pointed out that the Great Pyramid, located on the Egypt’s Giza Plateau, is composed primarily (except for a bit of granite “here and there” inside …) of another carbon-compound known as “calcium carbonate” (CaCO3).  Most folks know it better as “limestone.”  It’s also known as “calcite” -- the rock type that forms huge layers of the 70-million-year-old strata making up the Plateau, as well as much of the rest of Egypt -- extending east, all the way to Indonesia ….  

Huge blocks of calcium carbonate were quarried (not far from the Plateau …), and carefully shaped into the “six million tons of limestone blocks …” that were then used to create a structure over 750 feet on a side and almost 500 feet high: the legendary Great Pyramid itself.  

Stan, both to me and on the radio, noted that if you just look at the exterior geometry of the Great Pyramid (below), shaped visually by the three angles it presents from any one side -- the 76-degree angle at the apex, and the two 52-degree angles where it touches the ground at the base -- you will actually be looking at a giant replica of the same internal angles of the calcium carbonate crystal of which it is composed!!

In other words: the Great Pyramid – exactly like Iapetus in our scenario – is a demonstrable giant replica of the precise material that someone used to build it!

Looked at in a larger context, creating a moon-sized “truncated icosahedron” would simply be the ultimate means of saying “five-sided/six-sided symmetry iscrucially important in the Universe ....”  

*     *     *
Finally, a major, serendipitous aspect of this model is a completely integral explanation for Iapetus’ latest, fascinating mystery -- “the Wall.”

According to the 2005 Lunar and Planetary Science Conference ISS Team paper, covering the last six months of Cassini’ observations of Iapetus:

… these data led to the discovery of the enigmatic "bellyband" of Iapetus, a ridge or chain of mountains that follows Iapetus' equator precisely over at least  1300 km [3]. The highest measured peak rises ~20 km over the surroundings, or ~28 km over a reference radius of 718 km [10]. However, as in Voyager data [8], a good reference ellipsoid cannot be found because of the unusual irregular shape of Iapetus ….
The ridge coincides with the faint equatorial streak observed in the October [2004] and even July data. The slope of the southern flank achieves a gradient of up to 20°, the northern flank ~30°. The ridge itself appears to be located on a broader bulge,extending a few hundred km in southern and northern directions [emphasis added] ….”

Based on these early measurements by the Cassini Team and certain structural considerations of the artificial model, it seems highly likely now that “the Wall” (below) is NOT simply a feature sitting on Iapetus’ surface – as many have speculated ... extending more than 12 milesabove the surrounding plains -- but rather—
The remains of a deep, massive “equatorial reinforcing ring” -- which was used to literally join the two hemispheres of this “artificial moon” together!

The fact that we see it now as a sharply elevated “wall,” in this scenario, is only due to its significantly more massive, more durable construction -- compared to the surrounding “landscape.”  Only for this reason, in my estimation, has this unique solar system feature been able to resist, even partially, the continual sandblasting and larger impacts (above) -- which have demonstrably destroyed other parts of it in places, as well as erode the surrounding “landscape” on both sides … down to a depth of several miles!  

Echoing the ISS Team description--

… the ridge itself appears to be located on a broader bulge, extending a few hundred km in southern and northern directions[emphasis added]--”

This would indicate that Iapetus’ original surface, paralleling “the Wall,” was also reinforced (more layers?) … leaving a broad, erosion-resistant “bulge” extending north and south of the reinforcing “Wall” itself (below) ….

Also, notice – as the surviving segments of “the Wall” arc around Iapetus’ equatorial circumference (above) -- it appears to be a singleband in some places … and as much as three, parallel bands in others.  

This, I believe, is not only additional, blatant evidence of artificiality (nature does not like “straight lines” ... especially, multiple straight lines that run parallel for several hundred miles!), but perhaps a major clue as to an additional reason (beyond structural reinforcement) for “the Wall’s” precise construction … on(and beneath) the Iapetus’ equator.

We’ll explore this possible technological use – in addition to structural reinforcement -- later on ….

But before we leave the subject, we should make at least one firm scientific prediction regarding this unique feature for the next Cassini fly-by ... whenever that occurs.  

If “the Wall’ is the leading hemisphere’s meteor-eroded remains of a former equatorial construction… then, we should NOT expect to see much visible evidence for its presence in the trailing hemisphere -- except, perhaps, where large impact craters have partially excavated portions of the buried sections!  

In this “erosion model,” the Wall – and the dark ellipse so intimately associated with it (see Steve Albers’ Iapetus Mercator Map - below) – are the unique products of the micrometeorite erosion of the original surface across the leading surface of this “moon.”  Where that erosion has not occurred to this degree (in the trailing hemisphere), only subtle surface evidence of such an “equatorial ring” – in actuality, completely circling Iapetus -- should now be visible beneath the original ice-coated geometric surface ….

Additional, high-resolution Cassini imagery of the rest of Iapetus should be able to definitely put this prediction to the test. 

Which brings us back to the unique reddish color and extremely low albedo of the heavily eroded, “dark ellipse” itself.

In our scenario, the exposed, highly battered layers of Iapetus, centered north and south precisely on “the Wall” (above), should be dead black – a mixture of the original reinforcing carbon architecture, and the smashed debris of trillions of dissociated nanotubes and fullerenes, turned to ordinary “soot” by countless megayears of high-temperature impacts on the leading hemisphere.  However, historical spectral observations of the dark ellipse (and now, Cassini’s color imaging) are significantly more intriguing; according to many leading, decades-old papers

… spectrophotometry of the Saturn satellite Iapetus in the 0.3-1.0 micron wavelength range shows the dark hemisphere to be very red, similar to a few asteroids and the earth's moon, but with no spectral features implying olivine or pyroxene [ordinary “rocks” - emphasis added] ….

And, as noted earlier, at least one group of authors -- in a 2001 paperpublished while Cassini was in the early stages of its seven-year odyssey to Saturn -- believed they had finally solved the three-hundred-year-old mystery of Iapetus’ dark ellipse using large telescopes from Earth, as:

… an intimate mixture of water ice, amorphous carbon, and a nitrogen-rich organic compound …Observations in this spectral region have not revealed this mix of material on any other object observed thus far [emphasis added] ….

The first part of their observational fit is, of course, precisely consistent with our nanotube/fullerene model!  The problem comes with the rest of their attempted match: the mystery of the additional “nitrogen-rich … organic compound.”

In a recent interview, investigative journalist Linda Moulton Howe managed to elicit some very telling comments about the composition of the dark ellipse from Bonnie Buratti, Principal Scientist, Division of Earth and Space Sciences, NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL), in Pasadena, California.  Buratti is a member of the Cassini VIMS Team, and has presented to colleagues in the last few monthspreliminary Iapetus composition estimates from the recent spacecraft fly-bys.  Here are a couple of intriguing comments she made, in response to Linda’s questions regarding the current Cassini observations of Iapetus:

… it looks like the bright side [of Iapetus] is primarily water ice – [but] not fresh water ice, because the reflectivity (although it is bright, it reflects about 60% of the radiation) … [is] kind of like dirty snow. So, we think there is something else there,other than pure water ice ... there is some organic material [there], some carbonate material that's rich in carbon, hydrogen, oxygen and nitrogen. Kind of crud; I think you could call it crud.
The dark side, though, has very little water ice. It's primarily minerals and various organicmaterial(s)….  We seem to [also] see a mineral that is iron- bearing in the infrared [emphasis added] ....

Now, readers with good memories will remember that in Part 3 we discussed ferro-electric coatings (“paint”) -- like “carbonyl iron ferrite” -- applied to the F-117 to make it “stealthy.”  And, in the February, 2005 issue of Scientific American, in an article called “Nanotubes and the Clean Room,” by Gary Stix, the following comment, regarding an unwanted side effect of current nanutube manufacturing techniques, was casually made—

… nanotubes, purchased from bulk suppliers, are a form of high-tech soot that contains a residue that averages percent iron, a contaminant whose very mention can produce involuntary tremors in managers of multi-million-dollar clean rooms.  The Nantero team devoted much of its early development [of the new nanotube chip] to devising a complex filtration process to reduce the amount of iron to the parts-per-billion-level [emphasis added] …. 

Given that the natural moons of Saturn formed in a region of the solar system essentially devoid of iron -- the ultra-frigid realm of the outer solar system, where the condensation of ices from the Saturn nebula far more readily occurred – the presence of copious amounts of free iron on the surfaceof Iapetus (but missing on the other Saturnian satellites) presents another serious impediment to Iapetus’ formation and evolution as “just another moon” ....  


1) what Burris and her colleagues are seeing in the VIMS data of Iapetus is an iron contaminant of the nanotube manufacturing process used in Iapetus’ original construction; or 2) the anomalous iron is part of a ferro-electric coating, deliberately applied to Iapetus (along with its intrinsic geometric shape – below) -- to make it … stealthy!

The implications of a deliberatelystealthy Iapetus – constructed with both the precise geometry required for reflecting radar waves away, as well as a dead black, iron-based coating for absorbing the remaining visible and radio electromagnetic energy – are definitely non-trivial in this context!  Including—

The possibility that Iapetus was not a “rescue ark” at all, but in actuality—

A world-size warship!

This, of course, would immediately raise the very troubling possibility that the demise of Planet V -- and the environmental destruction of the entire inner solar system as a consequence, including Mars itself -- was not a naturally-occurring catastrophe at all ….

Is this, indeed, the origins of that chilling and peculiar mythos … which has, for millennia, equated “Mars” – where our ancestors in this scenario ultimately came from -- with a bloodthirsty “god of war” ….?

*     *     *

If any of this is true ... it could now make this striking comparison (below) far more than just a metaphor ….

Either prospect is extraordinary – Iapetus as “ark” … or Iapetus as "deathstar” -- and opens up major new avenues for using Cassini’s on-board radar during the next fly-by to determine critical dielectric parameters regarding the true composition of Iapetus’ surface -- which could ultimately allow scientific determination of its possible artificial origins … if not which “design hypothesis” is true ….  

Mainstream defense research into “buckytube” dielectric and electromagnetic properties – and their application to current stealth technology -- leave no doubt that, if Iapetus is truly an artificial shell structure, composed of trillions of manufactured carbon nanotubes underneath its remaining covering of ice, their “anomalous” (compared to natural absorption modelsradar signature from Cassini should ultimately tell us.

Maybe – given JPL’s obvious reticence to releasing the results of its existing Cassini Iapetus’ radar observations -- they already have ….
*     *     *

Which brings us to the other curious observation that JPL’s Buratti talked about: the presence in the Cassini Iapetus spectra of “organics.”   Where – in our artificial “moon” scenario -- would those organic molecules originate?   

Unfortunately, looking at the global Iapetus images taken by Cassini last December – with the enormous impact scars still etched across its surface – the answer now is all too obvious:

The organic component of the exposed “dark ellipse’ – and thus, by inference, the rest of the ice-covered blackened surface of Iapetus … still hiding underneath its frozen layers of ancient inside air – could be direct clues to the incineration, explosive decompression and subsequent “cold trapping” on the surface … of its former organic biosphereinside!

The magnitude of such a potential cosmic cataclysm boggles the imagination.

The thought of countless beings – along with their entire rich interior ecology -- destroyed in one hellish moment … by the inferno of the deliberate impact of one (or more) asteroid-sized objects into Iapetus … releasing a hundred million megatons or more … is almost unimaginable.  

But, if true, the lasting signatures of this world-shattering catastrophe -- the “intimate mixture of water ice, amorphous carbon, and a nitrogen-rich organic compound …” – would indeed be spread for all eternity across the surface of such a shattered “world”--  

Creating an immortal “winking” epitaph across the solar system … down through the countless millions of ensuing years … written in the mysterious “dark ellipse” that now forever scars the surface of this frozen tomb -- if not the psyche of the few who may have managed to escape ... to start new lives in the dim pre-history of our own world ….

Stay tuned.


Page 5 of 5
NASA mercator projection of Iapetus
Moon with a View:

Or, What Did Arthur Know and When Did He Know it?

Part 6

By Richard C. Hoagland
2005 The Enterprise Mission

"The only way of discovering the limits of the possible is to venture a little way past them into the impossible."
-- Clarke’s Second Law

In previous sections of this series, we’ve presented a variety of imaging (and other) evidence, from the on-going Cassini Mission, that “something about the eighth moon of Saturn is radically wrong: that, after almost half a century of NASA’s looking, based on multiple surface features and orbital parameters, Iapetus seems increasingly unlikely to be a “purely natural moon .
Exhibit #1: the baffling, highly geometric, precisely equatorial ~ 60,000-foot-high “Iapetus Wall.
artificial iapetus space map
Exhibit #2, the equally astonishing, equally unnatural rectilineargeometry -- evident all across the surface of this “moon:
Exhibit #3, without doubt our most astonishing Iapetus discovery unique (so far ) in the entire solar system: 
That, instead of being spherical  as natural moons larger than about 250 miles across must be (due to inexorable gravitational contraction) -- the overall 900-mile-wide form of Iapetus is highlygeometric (below) specifically, apparently an eroded truncated icosahedron!
geometry of iapetus
With this brief review, we can now get to “the good part.
As can be seen in this 1950’s classic (below), painted by another of Arthur’s long-time friends the “father of space art himself, Chesley Bonestell -- because of its highly tilted orbit, Iapetus is the only “moon with a spectacular perspective on both the Ringed Planet and all of Saturn’s other moons  . 
Considering that Chesley painted this evocative scene decadesbefore astronomers had anything to look at but a “winking point of light, the resemblance to the Iapetus that Voyager and Cassini have now given us (below) is startling right down to the leading hemisphere’s “dark russet hue .
Which brings us back to the overarching, crucial question: just what the hell is Iapetus if it’s not just a “natural moon!?
In Part 5 we laid out two possible scenarios.  
1) That, this extraordinary object was deliberately constructed as an “ark an artificial, world-sized spacecraft -- designed to rescue as many as possible from the imminent, hyperdimensional explosion of an entire world, the destruction of a former major member of the sun’s planetary system which now no longer exists: Planet V.  An event which would have inevitably, disastrously, affected the very existence of even an extremely advanced, solar system wide civilization which we (and others) -- based on a myriad of accumulating evidence -- have proposed arose long before us literally millions of years ago. 
Or, 2) that Iapetus was indeed a “Deathstar world -- created as an instrument of war by that same civilization (which is still humans primary occupation, isn’t it?) an “instrument then used in some unimaginable conflict in this solar system a long, long time ago .  
That Iapetus may somehow have even been instrumental in creating the almost unimaginable holocaust a literal “war in Heaven -- which ultimately resulted in the deliberatedestruction of that same doomed world with Iapetus itself caught by the aftermath.  As an eternal, silent tomb, forever trapped now in a permanent, unique orbit around Saturn . 
But, as we hinted in earlier sections of this Series, there are problems with both of these “solutions to the current, increasingly profound mysteries presented by Iapetus major problems.   
For instance, the density of this otherwise extraordinary “moon is awfully close to the density of several other Saturnian moons clse to frozen water ~1 gram/cubic centimeter.   How (some critics have asked) is that possible if the intention was “to leave an unmistakable, artificial marker in the solar system ?  Wouldn’t such “designers have wanted Iapetus density “to truly stand out? -- thus deliberately creating Iapetus with a measurable density significantly less than water ice (by merely making the “moon bigger, in the “constructed model,  but with the same mass ).  
If, indeed, this was the prime intention -- to uniquely signal its artificial origin across the depths of space and time to a distant future generation wouldn’t designers of such an “artificial world have made sure its density reflected that intent?
The answer, of course, depends on your definition of the term “artificial.  
The fact is, we have never insisted that Iapetus was/is totally artificial.   Nor, that such an external signal to “a future generation was its primereason for creation!
Even if Iapetus was a completely natural moon, and was subsequently covered over with a series of deep, constructed artificial shells  made of our suggested carbon nanotubes, and created in the geometric form that we see in the Cassini imaging the end product, in terms of strict definitions, would most certainly qualify as “artificial!  However, the impact of even such major surface modifications on the natural moon’s total average density would still be almost trivial even for an artificial set of geometric “layers extending into the interior for literally miles .
So, we began looking at a thirdpossibility to explain the bizarre existence of Iapetus, one which neatly inherently -- resolves the apparent contradictions of these first two tentative scenarios .
And, the it struck us.
That -- some time before the destruction of Planet V -- in the natural course of the inexorable expansion through and colonization of the ancient solar system (by our posited “ancient, advanced human civilization) Iapetus (as a previously natural moon, but one laden with highly desirable raw materials) was specifically transformed for another purpose altogetherfrom being just a completely natural satellite into an artificially-modified, carefully crafted “designer world”… to serve as another highly specialized purpose: as a vast, orbiting “hotel. 
Which was then moved from its original location (maybe in this system, maybe farther out Uranus or Neptune or even from the so-called Kuiper Belt) -- to finally occupy the most coveted location in the entire ancient solar system: a look-down orbit on the most visually stunning (andhyperdimensionally-significant) planet known .

As a created temple world …overlooking, for a Specific Spiritual Purpose, the singularly most striking (and hyperdimensionally “perfect) planetary system known .  
A world where millions of ancient pilgrims, from all across the inhabited solar system, once had to come to meditate upon and study -- in the most appropriate environment which could be created, in the most appropriate location known the ultimate Secrets of Creation-- 

Truly “a Moon with a View.
*     *     *
Think about it.
If we are actually seeing in Iapetus “an ancient derelict from a long-forgotten time, a battered relic of an extraordinary human culture which once spanned this entire solar system  from the surviving, haunting, ancient ruins on Earth’s Moon, to the persistent architectural mysteries of Cydonia itself -- what would have been more fitting than for that same technology and culture to have created a unique habitat, in this most desirable location a specifically designed orbit overlooking the most important planetary example of hyperdimensional physics known   a front row seat on Saturn?!
From Iapetus a mere 2 million miles away, and orbiting 15 degrees to its amazing rings because of the immense size of this ensemble (>140,000 miles across ), the astonishing, endlessly changing spectacle would still have appeared eight times as large as a full Moon(below) rising over Earth’s horizon!
As such, it would be guaranteed to become an irresistible attraction to any civilization ultimately capable of freely going there .
A prime 19th Century example: the famed Buddhist Temple, known as “the Portola Palace, built high in the Himalayas, in Lhasa, Tibet.

Also a prime destination for countless pilgrims, from all over the world for over a hundred years.  A sacred destination constructed -- for religious and ritual reasons -- in one of the most desolate and inaccessible, but sacred, locations here on Earth (below) the literal “Rooftop of the World.
This well-known human drive, for pushing out to new frontiers as soon as it is technological feasible, to try to reach the most inaccessible but special places  has now culminated in our own century with Dennis Tito’s much publicized 20-million-dollar private pilgrimage(for, that’s what it truly was ) to the ultimate “sacred outpost -- the U.S. International Space Station (below).  
Future manifestations of this innate urge to seek out even more extraordinary vistas and experiences, beyond this increasingly “tiny world, are manifesting in far more ambitious plans (after “only 30 years ) -- for even more transformative and permanent experiences beyondEarth orbit (below).  
Against this uncontested backdrop -- an overwhelming human longing for increasingly “ineffable experiences, and coupled with its proven technological capability to do whatever it takes to fulfill that deeply ingrained “need -- the emplacement of an ancient “temple, in an orbit around the most awesome (and, of course, hyperdimensionally significant) planet of the entire solar system Saturn for such an advanced civilization as we (and others) have proposed is not a “stretch at all.  
For, if Ipaetus was designed as such a “temple world orbited at its sacred (hyperdimensional) “base 60 distance and inclination, and specifically modified to conform to this redundant “base 60 hyperdimensional connection, even in its overall dimensions and geometry such a scenario would neatly answer all the baffling, currently unanswerable characteristics of Iapetus .
Which the “deathstar or “rescue ark scenarios cannot. 
Given that a technological prowess capable of this once spanned the ancient solar system (admittedly, a big “given, but one based on ample additional evidence -- such as the miles-high glass ruins on the Moon), why not eventually find -- as part of such an obviously sophisticated, multi-faceted, far-flung technological culture the remains of a literal “orbiting temple to hyperdimensional Geometry and Physics?  
Far less technological peoples, in our own immediate past (on this one planet), have repeatedly expended prodigious (and equally baffling, to anthropologists and archaeologists) social and engineering efforts from Stonehenge to Giza ... to Chaco Canyon -- to immortalize remarkably similar religious and spiritual concepts . 
Why not our most ancient (and, compared to us, much more hyperdimensionally-connected) almost “godlike ancestors ?  
An orbiting world, specificallyshaped -- as part of their inherent “cosmological World View as a constant reminder for how Humanity how the solar system how the Universe itself came into literal Three-Dimensional Existence!?
The Ultimate expression of “as Above so Below?
Again, we have innumerable precedents for such spiritual “mega-engineering on this planet  sacred architecture that, according to many independent researchers, has intimately encoded these same “sacred" geometry and hyperdimensional principles in the most mysterious, surviving wonders on this world .   
According to researcher, Bernard Pietsch:
“… the proposition [is that] that the designers of the Great Pyramid had access to a supremely successful paradigm subsequently lost to later generations.  The Pyramid is the database of that lost paradigm.  As a library in stone, it is designed as a model of the galaxy,  the solar system, the earth and ultimately the human being.  It is a working metaphor of astronomy, physics, biology, and earth science. The Pyramid is [on Earth] the consummate demonstration of "as above, so below ." 
The question has always hovered over these amazing ruins, all around the world “From how far back in time and from where  did such ‘advanced ideas, and incredibly sophisticated knowledge, enter into human consciousness?  And from whom?
Are we on the verge of finally Knowing?
*     *     *
Some years ago, Michael Cremo and Richard Thompson published a voluminous compendium of startling examples of additional “lost archaeological knowledge, in a landmark work entitled Forbidden Archaeology.  Here’s one reviewer’s description:
“Over the past two centuries researchers have found bones and artifacts showing that people like ourselves existed on earth millions of years ago.  But the scientific establishment has ignored these remarkable facts because they contradict the dominant views of human origins and antiquity.  Cremo and Thompson challenge us to rethink our understanding of human origins, identity, and destiny. Forbidden Archeology takes on one of the most fundamental components of the modern scientific world view, and invites us to take a courageous first step towards a new perspective [emphasis added].…”
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:
“… 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] ."
Actually, pyrophyllite is a mineral created by metamorphism of earlier sediments, at moderate temperature and burial depths of several miles. The most astonishing, if undisputed fact (because of the highly specific dating of the pyrophyllite rock layers in which these “spheres were found) is their extraordinary age: 2.8 billion years!  
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 (below) reveal an even more astonishing, precise resemblance to none other than the Cassini close-ups of the anomalous eighth satellite of Saturn 

These remarkable details include not only the same “equatorial ridge/groove but the presence of a “deathstar entry port as well (below)! 
This close-up (below) illustrates the scale of these astonishing ~3-billion-year-old analogues, compared to their vastly larger “cousin over a billion miles away.
How could this astonishing similarity naturally occur?!
Keeping in mind that Forbidden Archeology was initially published in 1993, yet the Cassini Iapetus close-ups did not come in until January, 2005 -- this eerie parallel demands far more than another casual dismissal as “just coincidence.   
In fact, there is in this discovery a startling, potential “fourth explanation for Iapetus.  But it is not an explanation anyone will easily accept .
*     *     *
It is now known that for most of the history of Earth, the most sophisticated form of life was simple algae “pond scum.  From about four and a half billion years ago up until about six hundred million years before the Present, a relatively narrow range of algae were the most advanced organisms living anywhere on the planet.  
Then, at the boundary between the last two great geological epochs -- known as the great Pre-Cambrian/Cambrian transition -- there was a veritable “explosion of much more complex life which formed the pattern for the development of all the future “kingdoms, “phyla, “genera, “families and “species that we now recognize on Earth.  
This so-called Cambrian Explosion is without doubt the single biggest mystery of life on Earth
Save, of course, for the even more mysterious appearance of Life itself.
Why, for literally billions of years, was Earth home to only an extremely narrow range of microscopic cyanobacteria, some organized in great algal mats (below) called “stromatolites ?  And then, in the space of less than 5 million years (as judged by the latest evidence) BANG!! every form of life currently appearing on Earth suddenly emerged ? 
In fact, this profound mystery is termed by some biologists “the Big Bang of Evolution. 
The discovery of manufacturedartifacts -- looking exactly like what we now know Iapetus to be -- and in the middle of this incredibly ancient, incredibly primitive Pre-Cambrian Epoch is simply impossible.  
They were brought here from “somewhere else -- when those original sediments were being formed .
Which, of course, introduces the idea of “seed ships.
*     *     *
In the last ten years, a major scientific revolution has quietly occurred: astronomers have, for the first time, indirectly detected (via highly sensitive application of the well-known Doppler technique) over 150 actual “exoplanets non-stellar worlds, orbiting nearby stars!  
The most recently announceddiscovery (June 13, 2005) is getting very close to the “Holy Grail of these pioneering surveys: the detection of the first “Earth-sized, rocky world beyond the solar system.  All previous discoveries over the past decade have been of so-called “gas giants planets ranging from about twenty times Jupiter’s mass ... down to just about Uranus and Neptune-sized worlds.
The latest Doppler confirmation of a Earth-mass planet orbiting about two million miles from its low-mass, red dwarf parent star …” Gliese 876 ranks as a major step forward in finally placing our own solar system -- and its diverse population of both gas giants and smaller, rocky worlds --  into proper astrophysical perspective.  [There were already two Jovian-sized worlds orbiting within the Gliese 876 system, which lies 15 light years away in the direction of Aquarius, detected some years earlier (see artists conception, below)].  
When the first of these startling “exoplanets was announced -- some ten years ago, in October, 1995, orbiting another nearby star (51 Pegasi, 50 light years away in the direction of the constellation Pegasus) -- it really shocked the astronomical community.  For, the data revealed the object (Pegasi b) to be about half the mass of Jupiter but whipping around its sun-like star every 4.23 days (see schematic, below).  
Jupiter takes 11.86 years to orbit the Sun -- once. 
So startling was this 51 Peg orbit that, for some time after the initial announcement in Geneva, there was serious debate over its reality.  Eventually, the controversy was settled in favor of the data, that the first extra solar planet was indeed real, and was a massive “Jovian-type world in a bizarre orbit. 
Because, most remarkably (as can be seen above), 51 Pegasi b had to be orbiting extremely close in (from application of Kepler’s Laws to the Doppler-shifted spectrum of 51 Pegasi a) less than 5 million miles from the star itself (1/6 the distance between Mercury and the Sun)!  This is so close, that the planet’s upper atmospheric temperature (not directly measurable via this technique, but calculated) is several thousand degrees F!  At these temperatures, “clouds would consist of metallic vapors, the planet tidally locked into unchanging geometries of searing “day in one hemisphere, perpetual “night in the other and “eternal sunset in-between (below).
Thus was born the exoplanet term “hot Jupiter -- to describe MOST of these now-discovered ~150 plus worlds currently known to exist around other suns  almost all of which seem to be circling their stars either extremely close-in or, in wildly eccentric orbits.  
Both properties are the “lethal difference between the “normal distances and behavior of the planets in our solar system, and 99% of the so-far discovered “extrasolar worlds.  Put another way, star systems containing planets orbiting around them in orderly configurations (and distances) similar to Mercury, Venus, Earth, etc. -- with additional gas giants located safely far from the inner planets and their parent star (like Jupiter, Saturn, etc.) so far appear extremely rare less than 1%.  
The reasons for these major “exo-solar-system anomalies (compared to the orbit spacing this solar system) are still totally unknown.
What these (admittedly early) planetary statistics seem to be telling us is that Earth-like, habitable planets around other stars, orbiting within equally “friendly, highly ordered solar systems (like this one) thus, possessing environments capable of supporting the long-term evolution of “life among the stars -- must be quite rare .
So, enter Iapetus again. 
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The fourth (and most striking) possibility for the existence of this profoundly bizarre, 900-mile, highly modified “base 60 world endlessly pursuing its precise “base 60 orbit around the most remarkable planet of this solar system is that Iapetus was once part of an ancient, extraterrestrial program to convert this system of planets (among how many others in this Galaxy?), from one of those myriad uninhabitable systems astronomers are finding--
Into a Special Place .
Which could one day support the origin and evolution of Conscious Life around our Sun!  
That Iapetus was, indeed
An ancient “seedship from the Stars.
There is no space here to provide the literally years of documentation we have painstakingly assembled in support of this (admittedly) extraordinary hypothesis.  That will come later.  Suffice to say that the incredible identity  between Iapetus “the moon, and the tiny, mirror-image “replicas found inexplicably in rock strata laid down billions of years ago on Earth argues convincingly that there could be some kind of link between the two.  
What that specific link might be must await further, in-depth research both into the true nature of Iapetus ... and the “spheres discovered in South Africa.  
But, that’s what makes this science: this is an idea (no matter how “far out) which can be tested....
However, even with what we know now, the data is compelling:
The discovery of spongy and “charcoal-like material inside many of these spheres, coupled with the extreme hardness of their shells, is completely consistent with the idea that these objects could have been originally intended as some kind of “protective carriers -- for organic or biological materials!  
If part of a systematic extraterrestrial program to “seed life across the Milky Way, on previously lifeless worlds (like Earth!), such small devices could have been automatically produced elsewhere in this solar system (by the billions), to function similar to natural seed carriers known to biologists today -- a LOT of “seeds disseminated for every successful “implantation.
The eerie resemblance to Iapetus could then have been far more than mere “coincidence but, was perhaps specifically intended as 1) the means to identify different teams and seeding programs (ships?), operating on different planets and environments across the ancient solar system, or 2) to let the descendents of this “grand experiment (when they arose and eventually discovered even a few of the literally billions of surviving “seed shells ) to someday successfully trace their origins-- 
All the way to Saturn!
Isotopic analysis -- of both Iapetus ... and these strange, terrestrial “spheres -- could provide specific information essential to confirming or falsifying this entire directed panspermia hypothesis.  As could biological analysis of what’s inside .
In 1973, molecular biologists Francis Crick and Leslie Orgel formally proposed in the mainstream planetary science journal, Icarus [Crick, F. H. C., and Orgel, L. E. "Directed Panspermia," Icarus19, 341 (1973)] that life on Earth could be the direct result of such an interstellar “seeding program.  Their idea was the essence of simplicity -- once the “small problem of building interstellar spacecraft essential to carrying the “seeds across interstellar space was overcome by “a suitably advanced civilization:
“The spaceship would carry large samples of a number of microorganisms, each having different but simple nutritional requirements, for example, blue-green algae, which could grow on CO2 and water in ‘sunlight.  A payload of 1,000 kg might be made up of 10 samples each containing 1016microorganisms, or 100 samples of 1015microorganisms . 
Crick was co-winner of the 1962 Nobel Prize in Medicine, for his co-discovery (along with James Watson and Maurice Wilkins) of the fundamental “building block of life on Earth, DNA.  In his and Orgel’s historic 1973 Icarus paper, Crick made several key comments about the more curious aspects of the DNA “code of Life which would be neatly solved if “directed panspermia had indeed brought the first living microorganisms organisms to this planet.  
Said Crick:
“Several orthodox explanations of the universality of the [terrestrial DNA] code can be suggested, but none is generally accepted to be completely convincing.   It is a little surprising that organisms with somewhat different codes do not coexist.  The universality of the code [on Earth] follows naturally from an ‘infective”’ theory of the origin of life.  Life on Earth would represent clone derived from a single set of organisms [emphasis added] .
The larger problem, of course, is the increasing mathematical impossibility in the molecular biological community of deriving DNA from random thermodynamic processes limited to Earth even over the literally billions of years that the evolutionary biologists now claim this occurred. 
About a decade after proposing in Icarus that life scientificallyappeared to him to have originated from “somewhere beyond Earth and then was deliberately brought here, by “someone, Crick raised the even more fundamental DNA objection to Life’s origins on Earth alone.  Writing in a book dedicated to these major mysteries (Crick, Francis, “Life Itself, Simon & Schuster, N.Y. 1981), Crick noted the almost insuperable chemical problems of naturally forming DNA on even an ancient Earth, as prerequisite to subsequently evolving even simple one-celled organisms:
“… an honest man, armed with all the knowledge available to us now, could only state that in some sense, the origin of life appears at the moment to be almost a miracle, so many are the conditions which would have to have been satisfied to get it going [emphasis added] .
By removing the sticky question of life’s ultimate origins to a completely separate location in the Galaxy, with uniquely favorable (if currently unknown) conditions, and replacing its “miraculous appearance on this planet with a secondary “seeding scenario from somewhere else, Crick was attempting to salvage the central tenant (and rising problem) of all contemporary evolutionary biology: that Life even has a “natural origin!  
What he was trying to say scientifically, was “Yes
“It just wasn’t  here.
Again, we do not have room to debate the full details of Crick and Orgel’s panspermia theory.  What we do have is brand new evidence, which they did not possess 
That provides a stunning new line of research into their seminal idea.
Because -- parked in a unique “base 60 orbit, around the most spectacular “hyperdimensional planet of this solar system -- is an apparently ancient, geometrically altered world battered almost beyond recognition.  Astoundingly -- a billion miles away, buried deep within this planet -- lie a set of miniature counterparts ... from a long, long time ago .
This stark “coincidence now demands serious investigation!
*     *     *
Earlier, we alluded to the one critical factor which would totally invalidate the Crick/Orgel hypothesis: “the ‘small problem of building practical interstellar spacecraft critical to any “planetary seeding across interstellar space.  
In the 1970’s, when Crick and Orgel initially proposed their “directed panspermia hypothesis, the physics (to say nothing of the engineering!) of interstellar travel was considered impossible by the overwhelming majority of mainstream scientists.  Einstein’s Special Theory of Relativity which appears to prohibit spatial travel in three dimensions “faster than c (light speed) -- and the simple fact of the immense interstellar distances (light years) between potentially habitable star systems, created what many termed “God’s Quarantine regulations.
But, in the ensuing thirty years since 1973, mainstream physics has proposed a variety of extraordinary new hypotheses regarding space and time some of which provide serious “loopholes in these previously inviolable “quarantine constraints.
By a remarkable “coincidence -- just as Cassini was sending home its astonishing first close-ups of Iapetus -- a group of mainstream physicists published a landmark re-analysis in a major international scientific publication on the feasibility of “interstellar visitations to Earth -- based on these new physics.  Titled “Inflation-Theory Implications for Extraterrestrial Visitation, and published in the January/February issue of the peer-reviewed Journal of the British Interplanetary Society, the new analysis was authored byastrophysicist Bernard Haisch, along with physicists James Deardorff, Bruce Maccabee and Harold Puthoff. 
Bernard Haisch says this about the new study:
“What we have done is somewhat of a breakthrough.  We have pulled together various recent discoveries and theoretical issues that collectively point to the strong probability that we should be in the midst of one or more huge extraterrestrial civilizations [emphasis added] .
“It has recently been argued that anthropic reasoning applied to inflation theory reinforces the prediction that we should find ourselves part of a large, galaxy-sized civilization, thus strengthening Fermi’s paradox concerning ‘Where are they?  Furthermore, superstring and M-brane theory allow for the possibility of parallel universes, some of which in principle could be habitable. In addition, discussion of such exotic transport concepts as ‘traversable wormholes now appears in the rigorous physics literature.  As a result, the ‘We are alone solution to Fermi’s paradox, based on the constraints of earlier 20th Century viewpoints, appears today to be inconsistent with new developments in our best current physics and astrophysics theories.  Therefore we reexamine and reevaluate the present assumption that extraterrestrials or their probes are not in the vicinity of Earth, and argue instead that some evidence of their presence might be found in certain high-quality UFO reports.  This study follows up on previous arguments that (1) interstellar travel for advanced civilizations is not a priori ruled out by physical principles and therefore may be practicableand (2) such advanced civilizations may value the search for knowledge from uncontaminated species more than direct, interspecies communication, thereby accounting for apparent covertness regarding their presence [emphasis added].
Quite apart from theory, in the official Russian News and Information Agency (RIA Novosti), this past Spring, the head of the R&D Institute of Space Systems, Valery Menshikov, announced an engineering breakthrough of precisely such a non-rocket based, “field propulsion technology for eventual use aboard the Russian section of the International Space Station, and on other Russian missions:
the R&D Institute of Space Systems ... is busy developing a perpetuum mobile (perpetual-motion engine), of sorts.  This engine that will have a virtually unlimited service life could be used on Earth and in outer space."
“… a liquid or solid-state propulsive mass moves along a preset tornado-shaped trajectory inside this engine, thereby ensuring sustainable propulsion.  Quite possibly, we are witnessing a hitherto unknown interaction between the propulsive mass and little-studied fields, including the gravitation field [emphasis added] .

A major American clearing house for these revolutionary physics and engineering developments quietly taking place around the world, isThe American Anti-Gravity Foundation -- which tracks current “anti-gravity research through direct interviews with major workers in the field, published technical papers, and status reports from a wide variety of leading governmental and private sector (including major corporate) researchers.  
This astonishing compendium both theoretical physics breakthroughs and actual “gravity engineering curiously ignored by mainstream journals and media outlets (with some singular exceptions such as the recent Russian News Agency story ), is publicly accessible world-wide on the American Anti-Gravity website.
One of those breakthroughs is a thorough reanalysis of the major “physics failure of the 20th century the widely reported “inability of even Albert Einstein to come up with a workable “Unified Field Theory (UFT) combining gravity and other forces, before his death in 1955.
In fact, according to American Anti-Gravity documents, this is simply NOT true: well before his death, Einstein DID succeed in producing a viable (and radically simplified!) theory of gravity ... which was not only experimentally confirmed by other scientists and engineers of the period, but is now leading to several breakthrough engineering developments re gravity control!
According to one key “insider:
“The modern (mainstream) physics community insists on making a fundamental error in their attempts to unify the fundamental forces.  Some day a scientist is going to get a Nobel prize for what I am about to [say] .
“The mistake with modern unified field theories is that they are working under the false belief that gravity only links with the other interactions at exceedingly high energies.  In other words, the type of extreme conditions that existed a tiny fraction of a second after the Big Bang. At that short instant, gravity and electromagnetism -- and the other forces -- are all interchangeable, they are all more or less indistinguishable.  One might say at this point there is a clear interchange between electromagnetic and gravitational forces; they are strongly coupled, or inductively ‘linked, at this condition.

“Right there, is the error in modern gravity theories: the assumptionof ultra-high energies!  Gravity and electro-magnetism are linked at low energies.  Gravity and electromagnetism are coupled together in conditions that can be as ‘everyday as those inside a whirling polyphase electrical motor.  In fact, one way of thinking of an antigravity device is to think of it as 
an unusual form of electrical motor [emphasis added].

“With this in mind, consider some of the [currently 
obscure] contributions that Einstein made towards anti-gravity .

He recognized the inherent limitations of General Relativity [GRT] and sought to correct those. “The [Einstein] unified field theories[UFT] are his improvedtheory of gravity.  Gravity and EM are brought together as a result of a radical new concept of space. This is an amazing approach  .  Einstein emerges into a truly breakthrough realm: General Relativity gave us non-Euclidean space ... but UFT goes to non-Euclidean and non-Riemannian [beyond four-dimensional ‘space-time’] space.  This is constantly ignored by writers who trash [his] UFT.  They ignore that Einstein had said GRT was ‘only an approximation that dealt with gravity and as such, a theory he was not [ultimately] satisfied with . 
His UFT introduces the idea of ‘sub-space or ‘hyper-space.  
“Modern theories talk of ‘hidden dimensions; Einstein's UFT has something different.  He says that there is a space out of which our space-time -- including any hidden dimensions is ‘constructed.  The idea is thus a space structure that transcends [or underlies] our own.  Or ... expressed differently that our space-time is a limited sub-set of or geometric projection of -- this more fundamental [space] structure .
Sounds an awful lot like “Hyperdimensional Physics to me .

Einstein introduces the concept that only the vector magnetic potential has a physical reality in electrodynamics, the electric and magnetic fields are merely concepts we have developed due to reciprocity of the field.  Most modern physicists still do not accept this assertion of Einstein ... although more recent experimental research -- the Arahnov-Bohm experiment -- suggests that the A field is real (the experiment shows that A can alter the quantum wavefunction [even] when all other EM effects have been completely shielded out).
“Finally, here is an interesting thought: the A field appears to cut through shielding, and [still] effect matter[even]when all normal forms of the EM field have been excluded.  Controversial research suggests that changes in an electron's quantum wavefunction, induced by the A potential, is identical to what a ‘psychic does by concentrating on an electron interference experiment.
“In other words ... maybe Einstein's UFT might also be related to psychic effects!

We have, in just the last few days, discovered dramatic experimental support for precisely this astonishing proposal: evidence that “anomalous cognition (as “ESP/psychic experimentation is now termed) is dramaticallyaffected (by up to 600%) by key parameters of hyperdimensional physics!  Again, there is no room to provide the critical documentation here; that will be done in a future paper on Enterprise, on this specific subject.
Einstein invents the Einstein/Szilard refrigeration system (what is this doing here?  Well, just wait!).
“Very few people are even taught that Einstein was an experimentalist and an inventor.  This refrigerator is possibly the first application of magneto-hydrodynamics [MHD]; it uses AC magnetic fields to create MHD forces in liquid metals.  The metals are pumped around through a heat exchanger.  But look at the story beneath the obvious ....  Here we have Einstein using AC inductive fields to circulate liquid metals: strangely similar to some current antigravity concepts .  His system is [also] oddly similar to two experiments that produced an [actual] ‘AG type effect one of them you will never hear about, even in the fringe community but it happened at an AEC [Atomic Energy Commission] facility in the 1960's .
Einstein develops experimental methods to study UFT predictions and does this right at the same time he is doing experiments for things like the D'Hass-VanAlfven Effect, and Einstein D'Hass Effect.  
“In these effects, we have a study of diamagnetism and the magnetization of spinning objects -- bismuth samples materials we have [also] heard about in various antigravity projects.  These experiments get into some very fascinating areas, that show that spinning or precessing atoms can store energy in a field, and the field can collapse and re-spin the whole sample!  So, we have spinning diamagnetic materials and EM fields being a known area of experimental investigation for Einstein: yet one more similarity to certain AG stories .

What are the first “Three Laws of Hyperdimensional Physics again “rotation rotation rotation ?
t;/font>Einstein actually predicts antigravity!!!!  
“Right here, this ought to be enough to really turn the heads of the conservative mainstream crowd .  In personal correspondence in the early 1930's, Einstein openly speculates that UFT will lead to some form of “propulsion.  Think of the implications of that!  He is the man who revolutionizes our understanding of gravity  and ‘Einstein the inventor sees in his equations the probability of antigravity! And yet most physicists in the mainstream -- and certainly most in the AG fringe -- would (incorrectly) assert that Einstein's theories show no possibility of AG!  How wonderfully ironic!

Einstein receives a confirmation of his UFT.  
“‘[Gabriel] Kron's equations are the only ones able to predict and explain the strange behavior of ‘synchronous machines [synchronized, rotating electric motors and other spinning electrical devices].  UFT effects -- including EM induced torsion and curvature fields -- are the explanation for strange anomalies [in these massive rotating systems] like ‘phase slip, ‘creep and the bizarre effect of ‘hunting.  
“And who is interested in Kron's theories? 
The US Navy  because they want to use the [rotating] power selsyns and amplidynes onboard ships.  So Kron's practical form of Einstein's equations proves the validity of UFT.  This again is still utterly lost on the mainstream crowd, and sadly wasted on [parts of] the AG crowd .

Einstein works for the Navy during WW-II.  “His office mate is JD Krauss.  I don't even know how to begin with this one ....  All I suggest is just look at Krauss' legacy ... the areas he worked in practically shout ‘radar invisibility!   Those two must have had some amazing sessions.  The Navy was the one service with high value assets, that were large enough and had enough power to try some wild things ... I am convinced those two cooked [up] ideas about how to use high-power AC magnetic fields to deflect and disable mines and torpedoes, and how a big AC field could alter and ‘stealth the L-band radar cross- section of a ship.  I think Kron and John Moore did the analysis on the generators, and Tesla MIGHT have been used as a short term consultant to do a resonant circuit to further amp up the field created by the modified degaussing coils.  John VonNeumann probably did the analysis of effects on RCS [radar cross section], and Donald Menzel looked at the optical and atmospheric effects.  Vannevar Bush talked the Navy into the project.  [Bush and Menzel also worked together after the war on what we would now call ‘foreign threat assessment (very foreign) .]

And in 1943, Hoffman at Princeton in a public lecture ... about Kron's version of the UFT says ‘we now have experimental confirmation of Einstein's Unified Field Theory.  He was talking about the effects in motors ... but, he means what he says.  Einstein's theory of a [low energy!] relation between ‘electromagnetism and gravity has been proven  because of observable effects it predicts in [rotating] motors ."
-- Note: This information was provided on background by a scientist working at a small aerospace engineering and advanced technology company in Cypress, California who wishes to remain anonymous...
Rotation rotation rotation .
*     *     *
So ... what does all this have to do with Iapetus?
If Iapetus is a modified moon/spacecraft, developed by an advanced interplanetary/
interstellar civilization then it is foreordained to have embodied physics and engineering far beyond of any current capabilities or even theories.  
Ergo: it was NOT propelled by “rockets.
If Einstein’s UFT ideas, or any of the modern variants which have evolved -- from super strings to M-brane theory can ultimately be engineered into workable technologies for literally bending space and time ... then, all bets are off.  Anything could be waiting inside Iapetus if we return.  
Only one thing now seems clear: 
Whoever designed it, for whatever ultimate objective, if our “insider physicist is correct in observing “…one way of thinking of an antigravity device is to think of it as an unusual form of electrical motor …”, then the mystery of Iapetus ~60,000-foot-high“wall may now be close to resolution
As the massive field coils of a world-sized, anti-gravity propulsion system ... which may have literally carried Iapetus between the stars setting in motion a series of extraordinary events, stretching across literally billions of ensuing years which would one day lead to us!
If that is true, then its very name “Iapetus the father of Prometheus, the “maker of Mankind --- is eerie foreshadowing of all we might one day confirm .
Could that stark possibility that, in Iapetus, we are confronting our very origins  if not the origins of every living thing on Earth -- explain the startling series of events from the Vatican to Washington DC that Cassini’s shocking close-ups set in motion at the turning of 2005?
Stay tuned .
Coming soon: the extraordinary Part 7 Conclusion of “Moon with a View