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The Breaking Edge
Pensée will offer, as a regular service in its future issues, brief excerpts from the general and technical literature. The excerpts will be selected for their interest to scholars pursuing studies relevant to Velikovsky's work, as well as for interest to the general reader. Each item below--except for an occasional prefatory or concluding editor's comment in italics--is a direct quote from the source cited in boldface type.
For much of the time of man the picture of the sky has been placid, the stellar motions regular, the positions of heavenly objects predictable. Superimposed on that orderly picture of old, a National Academy of Sciences committee reports in an assessment of the state of astronomy, is the picture of "a general cosmic violence, exploding galaxies and quasars, and magnetic fields, and events suggesting relativistic collapse."
This "discovery of the existence, almost omni-presence of a high-energy, explosive universe" is a phenomenon of the past decade of astronomy and astrophysics: it has been an extraordinary time. The Astronomy Survey Committee--created by the Academy three years ago in response to requests of Federal agencies and the NAS Committee on Science and Public Policy, for analysis of the state of the field and of priorities for new instruments and programs--issued its assessment in a summary report, Astronomy and Astrophysics for the 1970's, to be followed by publication of panel reports.
Astronomy and astrophysics, in the committee's judgment, have come in a decade to a hew appreciation of gaps in observation and theory:
"The explorers of the sky ... have found not merely interesting new details about individual stars or other objects but entirely new classes of objects undreamed of ten years ago. As each new technology was applied to study light (photons) of different colors or energetic particles of different charge and mass (cosmic rays, neutrinos), new types of worlds were revealed. The previously well-organized universe ... exploded into a bewildering universe of new types of objects, large and small, with exotic new names and marvelous new natures."
Questions once speculative now are actively pursued: "How many other 'earths' and what other types of intelligent beings exist out there? Are there forces and energies at work that we do not yet know of? We are bathed from all directions by weak radio signals, apparently a remnant of the creation of the universe, degraded from an enormous burst of light at the beginning of time ten billion years ago. What was it like then? Does time stretch backward forever, or was there a beginning? What, if anything, came before? Where do energy and matter come from? Is the total amount of energy and matter constant in time?"
Such questions add to, not replace, the older quests of astronomy. The new, cosmic questions have made knowledge of the solar system, for example, more rather than less important. The Astronomy Survey Committee--chaired by astronomer Jesse L. Greenstein of California Institute of Technology reports the field at a nexus. The opening of the radio sky revealed the suggestion of physical laws yet undiscovered, of requirements for new observations and for new explanations to accord with observations old and new.
News Report, National Academy of Sciences, National Research Council, National Academy of Engineering (June-July, 1972).
ATMOSPHERE OF VENUS
In Worlds in Collision Velikovsky describes a red dust which filtered down upon the earth from the cometary train of Venus, causing rivers to "turn to blood. " He has suggested that this dust may have been an iron compound. G.P. Kuiper has concluded that --
A comparison of a wide range of Venus observations with the ultraviolet, visible, and infrared reflection spectra and thermodynamic properties of a variety of candidate materials indicates that the principal constituent of the Venus clouds is partially hydrated FeCl2. . .. the identification is considered certain. The only questions remaining pertain to the particle size ...
G.P. Kuiper, "On the Nature of Venus Clouds," Planetary Atmospheres (Symposium No. 40, International Astronomical Union), ed. C. Sagan, T.C. Owen, and H.J. Smith (D. Reidel, Dordrecht-Holland, 1971), 91,100.
Kuiper's conclusions were challenged by D.P. Cruikshank and A. B. Thomson, Icarus, 15 (1971), 497-503.
Measurements of magnetism at the Apollo 16 site on the moon have produced readings more than six times stronger than the original measurement conducted in 1969 at Apollo 12 site in the Ocean of Storms.
The 1969 measurement was so high that its validity was doubted at the time by many scientists. Then, measurements made in the Fra Mauro area by instruments carried there on the Apollo 14 Mission showed readings even higher than those at the Apollo 12 site.
Three measurements have been made since the landing on Thursday of the Apollo 16 lunar module in the Descartes region of the lunar highlands. All were higher than any of the earlier ones and further call into question those theories of lunar history that are considered to be plausible.
W. Sullivan, "Magnetism at Lunar Site Called Strongest yet Found on Moon," New York Times (Apr. 22, 1972).
A completely unexpected discovery by the Apollo 16 astronauts was that lunar rocks near their landing site exhibited reverse polarity. In some areas the magnetism pointed up; in others it pointed down. Does this mean that, at some time in its early history, the moon did magnetic flip-flops like the earth? Or is this simply a by-product of impacts that flipped over what had been sections of uniformly magnetized material?
The findings are particularly strange, because it had been assumed that the moon would have no such magnetism at all. The earth's magnetic field is thought to be generated by the "dynamo" action of liquid material flowing within the core of a spinning planet. There are reasons to believe the moon could never have had a large iron core like that of the earth.
W. Sullivan, New York Times (April 30, 1972), 3E.
Now that there is evidence that the crust is anorthositic and comprises 7 to 10 percent of the moon in volume (the earth's crust makes up less than one-half percent of the earth), scientists have to explain how this could happen. How does one get a 65-kilometer-thick crust that is 50 to 85 percent plagioclase without melting most of the moon? And if melting occurred, how could the moon's interior be relatively cool today (800 to 1,000 degrees C.)?
Latham speculates that half the moon would have to be melted (down to about 1,000 kilometers) "in order for this light stuff to flow up as slag." Gast thinks that the moon would have to be melted down only to a depth of 200 kilometers, if the composition were homogeneous but moderately high in concentrations of aluminum and calcium (about 10 percent). Wood believes that if a melt occurred down to at least 150 kilometers, such a crust could differentiate out through crystal fractionation. In crystal fractionation, the crystals forming in a magma have different specific gravities than the surrounding liquid and the lighter crystals (such as plagioclase) go to the top and the heavier to the bottom. Wood would have the outer portion of the moon melt from the heat of rapid accretion. But, he says, "The picture of a vast magma ocean on the surface of the early moon is an extravagantly exciting state of affairs, and most people are reluctant to accept this yet" . . .
Another mystery was opened up by the Apollo 16 return--a rock that appears to be rusty. The rock looks like rusted iron, says Gast. Although metallic iron is present in larger quantities in some rocks from the Apollo 16 site than others, how the iron could be rusted without the presence of water on the moon is a puzzle. Gast says the rusting is definitely of lunar origin.
E. Driscoll, "Bonanza from the Highlands," Science News (July 1, 1972), 12, 13.
Sometime during the 1940's, Immanuel Velikovsky became interested in Exodus of the Israelites from ancient Egypt and wondered if an immense cosmic cataclysm had not happened then. Finally, after six years of probing into many libraries and examining hundreds of ancient documents, he decided that, indeed, this was the case.
Velikovsky published his ideas in a book, Worlds in Collision, and immediately a storm began to swirl around his head. The scientific community would have none of such fantastic ideas, and many members were quite vocal in expressing their disapproval.
But as more data are collected, Velikovsky's pronouncements seem less and less fantastic. Following are some of his ideas about the moon: [There follows a listing of Velikovsky's advance claims concerning the moon, and references for their confirmation. These items were all included in the May issue of Pensée.)
"Research Reporter - Velikovsky Controversy," Chemistry (October, 1971), 17-18.
Only a few months ago the world's astronomers were convinced that Mars, like the moon, was a geologically dead planet. The astronomers were sure that its surface--just as that of the moon--was pitted by craters undoubtedly gouged out by meteorites that rained down more than 3.5 billion years ago. Over the aeons, only the zephyrs of its tenuous atmosphere had wrought any erosional changes on the Martian surface.
Suddenly, however, this picture has begun to change dramatically. In the last several weeks, Mars has begun emerging as a world where gigantic volcanoes erupt, oozing out floods of molten rock; where on most afternoons wispy clouds float above the mountains while at other times winds of incredible velocities whip up massive sandstorms; and where the forces that move continents have opened up a planetary crevice that dwarfs the earth's Grand Canyon.
And, perhaps most startling of all on a planet where flowing water cannot possibly exist now, Mars is showing unmistakable signs of past riverbeds, lakes and floods ...
The scientists' surprise is understandable. Three times before--once in 1965 and twice in 1969 --spacecraft had gotten close-up glimpses of Mars as they flew past it. And each time the limited number of pictures showed an ancient cratered surface where not much had happened for perhaps billions of years ...
"The greatest shock is finding large volcanic structures--plus the fact that they're on only one side of the planet," says Bruce C. Murray, Cal Tech professor of planetary science and a member of the Mariner scientific team . . .
The existence of volcanoes, plus some other signs of lava flows, makes it clear that somewhere beneath the surface Mars has grown hot enough to melt rock. Moreover, this subsurface heating is "recent" in the geological sense of time; the volcanoes show little evidence of being hit by meteorites. "Recent" may be anywhere from tens of thousands to tens of millions of years ago, but it was long after the planets were formed. And once a planet even as small as Mars--it is half the size of earth--heats up, it doesn't easily cool off.
Strangely, though, the volcanism seems to be occurring largely in the Martian western hemisphere; the opposite hemisphere seems to be dominated by the ancient and still-undisturbed meteorite craters. (It was the crater-dominated side that previous Mariners had photographed.) ...
"We're looking at some things man has never seen before" Dr. Murray explains. "The observations just now are at the point where they are causing some stirrings in people's minds as to what they mean. The speculations are just starting."
August 17, 1972
CARBON 14 FLUCTUATIONS
A most conspicuous and so far unparalleled irregularity in the ΔC14 as a function of time is the rapid C14 increase at the beginning of the 8th century B.C. and the sharp maximum between 780 and 770 B.C. This period is known to be the time of the so-called classical "Grenz-Horizont" (Weber, 1910; Overbeck et al., 1957) of central Europe, and it is also the time of a general climatic change that took place on the North American continent (M. Rubin, priv. comm.). The climatic change was not a temporary one; it marked the beginning of a completely new climatic epoch. It seems reasonable to define the time of the end of the Sub-boreal and of the beginning of the Sub-Atlantic as that of the early 8th century B.C. We do not know what caused the spectacular event that happened between 780 and 770 B.C. Perhaps the fact that a similar secondary C14 maximum followed about 400 years later may indicate that the event was caused by the sun, because 400 years is a period attributed to solar activity. The question of what influenced both the C14 level and the climate around 775 B.C. is a most fascinating one. Its answer may throw new light upon the complex question of solar-terrestrial relationships and of climatic change in general.
H. E. Suess, "The Three Causes of the Secular C14 Fluctuations, Their Amplitudes and Time Constants," Radiocarbon Variations and Absolute Chronology (Proceedings, 12th Nobel Symposium at Uppsala Univ., 1969), ed. Ingrid V. Olsson (Almquist and Wiksell, Stockholm, 1970), 602.
According to Worlds in Collision (Part II, Chapter, "The Planet Mars"), the catastrophic events of the 8th century B. C. started with the upheavals of -776 (the beginning of the Greek Olympian calendar), followed by the upheaval of -747 (the beginning of the Era of Nabonassar) and by other upheavals at 15-year intervals, the last of which is dated by Velikovsky at -687., Also a sustained change took place also in the climate (Klimasturz). These disturbances caused a definite change in carbon 14 - carbon 12 ratio and this, in turn, caused a discrepancy in carbon datings. One and the same carbon age corresponds to two historical ages. This is illustrated by Suess in a graph accompanying his paper.
ANATOMY OF PHARAOHS
X-rays have shown that the genetic relationships among the members of the ruling families are by no means as clear-cut as was once thought,. While the kings of the early Eighteenth Dynasty closely resemble one another, as do those of the early Nineteenth Dynasty, an enormous difference between the two groups is evident.
J. E. Harris and K. R. Weeks, "X-raying the Pharaohs," Natural History (August-September, 1972), 61.
The significance of this genetic break is clarified in unpublished volumes of Ages in Chaos, in which Velikovsky redates the Libyan and Ethiopian dynasties, inserting them between the Eighteenth and Nineteenth.
In short, may not a magnetic power exist throughout our system, perhaps through all systems, so that if men could make a voyage in the starry regions, a compass might be of use? And may not such universal magnetism, with its uniform direction, be serviceable in keeping the diurnal revolution of a planet more steady to the same axis?
Lastly, as the poles of magnets may be changed by the presence of stronger magnets, might not, in ancient times, the near passing of some large comet, of greater magnetic power than this globe of ours, have been a means of changing its poles, and thereby wrecking and deranging its surface, placing in different regions the effect of centrifugal force, so as to raise the waters of the sea in some, while they were depressed in others? ...
Benjamin Franklin, The Works of Benjamin Franklin, VI, ed. Jared Sparks, rev. ed. (Philadelphia, Childs and Peterson, 1840), 575-6.