posted on October 16, 2007 02:42
On April 8, 2007, I posted a fascinating look at Saturn's moon Iapetus, speculating that it could possibly be the derelict remains of a mighty starship that brought the population of an entire planet into our solar system about a million years ago. (In order to gain a basis for understanding this article, take five minutes and read that article, The Iapetus Mystery.)
On September 10, 2007, the Cassini-Huygens spacecraft made a relatively close fly-by over the surface of Iapetus, passing along its equator, recording an extended moving view of Iapetus’ most interesting feature, a “mountain range” on the equator that passes completely around the 912 mile in diameter small world. Cassini-Huygens mission is a cooperative project of NASA, the European Space Agency and the Italian Space Agency. The Jet Propulsion Laboratory, a division of the California Institute of Technology in Pasadena, manages the Cassini-Huygens mission for NASA's Science Mission Directorate, Washington, D.C. The imaging team consists of scientists from the US, England, France, and Germany. The imaging operations center and team lead (Dr. C. Porco) are based at the Space Science Institute in Boulder, Colorado.
As I reported in The Iapetus Mystery, Iapetus appears to be constructed of geodesic sections, some of which may have collapsed, that defy explanation. I pointed out, of course, that this feature may simply be an artifact of the photography technique, but explain them we must.
Iapetus’ most prominent feature, the “mountain range,” is clearly visible as the Cassini-Huygens spacecraft makes its fly-by in the accompanying video. The mystery remains unsolved – since there is nothing known to planetary science that would produce the “mountain range” clearly visible on this video.
For an in-depth analysis of the strange features on Iapetus, take a look at this website. The writing leaves something to be desired, but the speculative analysis is genuinely thought provoking. Take the time to go through the complete series of pages. It will leave you somewhat breathless. (The video is 56 M, so give it some time to load.)