Thursday, October 14, 2010

Double Whammy

Yesterday, not only did I wake up and get a late start on my surfing of the innertubes, but the wifi got stinky in the mid-afternoon.  As a result, no blogging yesterday, and mostly catching up with news, science, humor, et cetera, today.  Yesterday's Big Picture was of scenes from the Chilean mine rescue, which I found moving- except for some of the pictures of the men in the capsule, which made me feel claustrophobic. And CNN dismissed persistent reports that "the Chilean miners would have to have their clavicles broken to fold themselves" on The Daily Show's moment of zen.

Inspiring and amazing as the rescue was, though, I think I have to give the "mind-blowing" nod to this proposed explanation for how Saturn's moon Iapetus came to have its bizarre equatorial ridge.
Unlike Saturn's other spherical or ellipsoid moons, Iapetus has a unique, slightly squashed shape with an 8-mile-high (13-kilometer-high) mountain range running around much of its middle, like the cusp where the halves of a walnut shell join.
I was dubious about the idea of damping rotational spin as I started, but by the time I finished, I was convinced it was the best explanation I've seen.  This is one strange feature, and it's going to require some strange things happening to cause it.  This seems to work... but don't assume it's the "right" answer yet. I don't doubt it'll have challengers and problems.  That's science, and that's why I love it.

1 comment:

Bob said...

Science is cool. And walnut-shaped moons are, too.