Tuesday, May 17, 2005

The Real Deathstar! Or, Richard Hoagland Would Beg to Differ

Richard Hoagland
Richard Hoagland

By Thomas Horn
Senior RNU News Reporter
     Radio astronomer Paulo Freire believes he's solved two of the oddities on Saturn's moon Iapetus--its dark side and the puzzling ridge at its equator. Richard Hoagland sees it differently. Very, very differently.

     RNU.com – (Raiders News Update) - Italian astronomer and engineer Giovanni Domenico Cassini discovered Saturn's moon Iapetus [eye-AP-i-tus] in 1672, though it was not named "Iapetus" at the time. Sir John Herschel gave the moon the mythological name in 1847, after one of the Titans mentioned by Homer in the Iliad.

     In Greek mythology Iapetus was the son of Uranus and Gaia, and father of Atlas, Prometheus, Epimetheus, and Menoetius. Because Atlas was one of the "fathers of mankind", Iapetus was understood in myth to be a progenitor of man, of Homo Sapiens, a creator god, winking at man as his light dimmed then brightened every 40 days.

     Using his small refracting telescope, Giovanni somehow correctly deciphered the disappearing and reappearing act of Iapetus. One hemisphere of the moon is darker than the other and therefore makes it appear to vanish then reappear as it revolves Saturn.

     A second puzzling characteristic, not discovered until NASA's Cassini spacecraft flew by recently, is a ridge 1300 kilometres (808 miles) long and 20 kilometres (12 miles) high stretching over one third of the moon's equator. No other moon in the solar system has been found with such a stunning feature... literally a 60,000 foot high wall.

     This is the wall that caused Richard C. Hoagland, bestselling author of The Monuments on Mars to say, "[this] 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!!"

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