Friday, March 13, 2015

Weekend Rebel Science Excursion - 40

Enceladus is a moon of Saturn (click photo to enlarge)
I. Introduction

"TGIF" as they say, so let's talk some science.

I want to fuse the subject matter of several series with recent scientific developments.

A paper in the journal Nature has been talked about in the science press, a paper which presents evidence and argument that there is a hot ocean underneath the surface of a moon of Saturn, i.e., under the surface of Enceladus (Researchers Think There's A Warm Ocean On Enceladus).

I want to tie this in with the EPH (Exploded Planet Hypothesis, Weekend Rebel Science Excursion, Weekend Rebel Science Excursion - 11) and the nature of our civilization (Civilization Is Now On Suicide Watch), compared with the Tenets of Ecocosmology.

II. Civilizations in Space with Dyson Grids

Let's begin by considering a scale that describes hypothetical evolution of civilizations, in terms of a civilization's use of energy (Kardashev Scale).

Now, let's add to that the hypothesis of a civilization using a Dyson Grid or Sphere to harness solar energy in a way not commonly considered (Wikipedia: Dyson Sphere).

One Dredd Blog extension, or addition, to the EPH (The Challenge of the Exploded Planet Hypothesis, Cambridge Journals Online, International Journal of Astrobiology / Volume 6 / Issue 03 / July 2007, pp 185-197) is that there are remains of the structure of a Dyson Grid or Sphere still visible in our solar system (Saturn - Home of the Hexagon Mystery, Saturn Hexagon Mystifies Scientists).

Cosmologists and astronomers use the word "bombardment" to describe what made craters and did destruction on planets throughout our solar system  (e.g. early and late bombardment).

Note that "bombardment" and "exploded" go together.

III. What Could Go Wrong?

Civilizations on Earth have not been free from lethal mistakes, and in fact lethal mistakes are the rule rather than the exception according to a noted historian:
"In other words, a society does not ever die 'from natural causes', but always dies from suicide or murder --- and nearly always from the former, as this chapter has shown."
(A Study of History,  by Arnold J. Toynbee). So, let's consider a hypothetical mistake of an earlier civilization on a planet that exploded not too far from here, as a result of that lethal mistake.

I am talking about a planet between Mars and Jupiter, where only a debris field (a.k.a. asteroid belt) remains now.

It is a debris field being studied by the Dawn spacecraft even as we blog (Dawn Mission Nears Ceres Orbit Maneuvers).

So, to answer the question the title of this section asks, one thing that could go wrong is that a Dyson Grid or Sphere could malfunction.

Such a vast structure handles so much energy that a malfunction could be catastrophic.

Let's go figure.

IV. Some EPH Factors We Can Test

One of the expectations or assertions of the EPH is that Enceladus (like Vesta) is a chunk of the planet that exploded.

Enceladus, the hypothesis goes, contains among other things, some remnants and remains of that planet's ocean.

Outer layers of that water are now frozen over, except that, as mentioned above in the new paper (Nature: Ongoing hydrothermal activities within Enceladus), under the thick ice at the south pole is liquid ocean water, and some of it is hot.

How do we test that in terms of the EPH?

We can go back to the hypothesis of cosmologists that the planets and their moons are condensations of the dust cloud which eventually formed planets and the Sun (On the Origin of the Genes of Viruses - 8) "around 4.5 billion years ago".

We can also use what we know about Enceladus to calculate the amount of water there, and then calculate how long it would take to lose / eject that water into space.

V. Some Calculations

Let's begin with a statement from the paper published in Nature and linked to in section IV above:
"Gravitational field measurements suggest a regional south polar subsurface ocean of about 10 kilometres thickness located beneath an ice crust 30 to 40 kilometres thick."
(ibid, paper in journal Nature). It is interesting to note that the "regional south polar subsurface ocean" water is not uniform, in that, it is mostly at the south pole.

That indicates an abnormality which would be expected in the helter skelter debris of a planetary explosion.

Let's try to calculate the amount of water there, the amount that has been ejected, and how far backward and forward in time that ocean could hold water.
Fig. 1 (ocean water & ice cap @ South Pole)

The first thing we need to do is to calculate the volume of water in that south polar ocean, and in the ice cap.

Then we will calculate how long it would take for that water to be ejected into space to make Saturn’s E ring, to finally exhaust all water, and ultimately, how that comports with the theory of the formation of Enceladus some 4.5 billion years ago (or to the contrary to conform to when the planet exploded to eject its pieces into space).

Fig. 2 (concept of ice & water on Enceladus)
We will begin by calculating the volume of the ice layer.

This we do by calculating the whole volume of Enceladus, then calculating the volume of a sphere 40 km smaller (assume the ice layer is 40 km thick).

When subtracting the difference between the two, we derive the volume of the ice layer.

Hence: V = 4/3 π r3 [sphere volume]
V = 4/3 * 3.14 * 2523
V = 4/3 * 3.14 * 16003008
V = 1.33 * 50249445.12
V = 66,831,762 cu. km.
(now for the smaller sphere)
Fig. 3 (hot ocean water venting into space)
V = 4/3 π r3 [sphere volume]
V = 4/3 * 3.14 * 2123
V = 4/3 * 3.14 * 9528128
V = 1.33 * 29918321.92
V = 39,791,368 cu. km.

Now we can subtract the smaller sphere's volume from the larger sphere's volume to derive Enceladus' ice layer volume to be 27,040,394 cu. km. (66,831,762 cu. km. - 39,791,368 cu. km.).

To calculate the volume of water in the subsurface southern polar ocean, we use the following formula applied to the smaller sphere, to derive:
V = (π/3)H2(3R - H)  [cap of a sphere, Fig. 1]
V = (3.14/3)102(3*212 - 10)
V = (1.05)*100*(3*202)
V = (105)*(606)
V =  63,630 cu. km.

Now, we calculate the ejection of water into space which, among other things, forms Saturn’s E ring.

We can do this roughly by using a formula we have already used to calculate water hypothetically already vented from the asteroid Vesta in the debris field:
The violent ejections marked those strata with the "holes that were left as the water escaped" which after all these billions of years, still "stretch as much as 0.6 miles (1 kilometer) across and go down as deep as 700 feet (200 meters)."

For illustration only, the amount of water to fill just one of those cone shaped surface vents would be:
vent diameter = 1 kilometer (3280.8 ft)
radius (r) = 3280.8 / 2
r = ~1640 ft

height (h) = 700 feet

cone volume formula: v = 1/3 * 3.14 * r2 * h

v = .33 * 3.14 * 2,689,600 * 700

v = 1,950,874,464 ft3

assume there are 7.48 gallons of water per ft3

water in cone = 1,950,874,464 ft3 / 7.48 ft3

gallons of water = ~260,812,094 gal (for 1 vent)
I don't think meteorites would have the volume of water to cause such focused, and violent ejections to make cone-shaped vents a kilometer across and 700 feet deep, because among other things, the meteorite types with the most water are carbonaceous chondrite types, having 3% - 22% water by weight.
(Weekend Rebel Science Excursion - 11).  The use of the venting calculations in that post about Vesta helped to see that at least one venting hypothesis was unlikely in the case of Vesta (which is part of the debris field).

VI. Let's Vent

Figure 3 is an illustration of the venting taking place on Enceladus.

Six or seven vents are shown ejecting water from the subsurface southern ocean into
Fig. 4 Saturn's E-ring (click graphic to enlarge)
the space around Enceladus (which makes Saturn's E ring).

The 63,630 cu. km. in the subsurface ocean is 35,313,378,458 cu. ft. of water (63,630 * 3280.83 * 7.48), or 264,144,070,866 gallons (264,144,070,866 ÷ 260,812,094 [RE vent cone on Vesta] = 1012.8).

If the water began to vent a billion years ago, that equates to a loss of only 264 gallons a year, or only 132 gallons a year at 2 billion years ago (before the ocean is completely emptied into space).

Our solar system, and (supposedly) this moon are said to have formed some 4.5 billion years ago.

If the EPH planet exploded only 5 million years ago, that would mean a venting of  52,829 gallons a year, or if 2.5 million years ago, then 105,658 gallons a year.

All those numbers seem unlikely (way too small, see Fig. 4), so the outer ice layer must be melting into the ocean because of the heat, and replenishing the water (so as to allow venting of water for a much, much longer time).

In other words, the ice and water on Enceladus is evidently melting away, and will do so at least until the core heat goes away, or ultimately all the ice and water is gone.

This shows that Enceladus has not been there for 4.5 billion years, nor anything close to that (millions of years is more likely).

VII. Conclusion

An exploded planet about 1-3 million years ago, or maybe 65 mya @ KT-boundary Fifth Mass Extinction, or some other explanation, would seem to be more likely origins of Enceladus than any hypothetical origin 4.5 billion years ago.

One can only wonder how long it will take for Enceladus to look like Vesta.

Any suggestions or corrections?

Have a good weekend.


  1. Unfortunately, California has only one year of its water remaining at this time (link).

  2. Let's see if i can post something that doesn't piss off the host [and isn't incho-fucking-herent]:

    The Milky Way galaxy may be more enormous than we ever imagined

    [i lock spice, since'n i got a lot of it b'tween ma airs - uh-hurl]

    Tom (the daft)

    1. Tom,

      All of those who blog with you, who read your comments, know that you are bright and caring.

      This is a tough time on this planet, in this civilization.

      Your awareness is top notch, which means that you also are exposed to a lot a potentially stressful knowledge.

      Like the rest of us who are conscious of where we are.

      Keep up the good work.


    Researchers study methane-rich plumes from Saturn's icy moon Enceladus

    NASA's Cassini spacecraft has measured a curious abundance of methane spewing into the atmosphere of Saturn's icy moon Enceladus. A team of American and French scientists published findings in Geophysical Research Letters suggesting two scenarios that could explain the methane abundance observed in the plumes.

    [Read the rest if interested]


    1. Tom,

      Good find.

      Ammonia and methane can imply microbial activity, not chemical activity alone.

      Ammonia and methane are also produced by microbial life when organic material is decomposed by them.

      This supports the EPH in the sense that a chunk of the planet's ocean would typically have organic material in it.

      These situations have been found in catastrophic zones on Earth where organic material and microbes are buried under ocean floors.

      They enter into a type of stasis:

      "The novelty of this study is not so much that it reveals the mode of life of these deep-living microorganisms in their natural environment. In that respect, the substrate concentrations offered to the cells were orders of magnitude too high compared with what these cells may experience in the million-year-old sediment in which they subsist. The novelty is the test of whether the deeply buried organisms maintain the potential to metabolize and grow, i.e., whether they are still alive and physiologically intact. Morono et al. (3) show that most, and perhaps all, of the cells are indeed alive. As many as 76% of the cells assimilated isotope-labeled substrate such as glucose or amino acids, some more than 1,000 times faster than the mean rates of organic carbon assimilation that are typical for the deep biosphere.

      Why is this result so important? Is it really so hard to determine whether microorganisms are alive and active? To appreciate the challenge of the new study, it is necessary to envision life at an energy flux many orders of magnitude lower than anything studied in bacterial cultures in the laboratory so far. Deep subsurface sediments have ages of many millions of years. However, they are inhabited by highly diverse communities of microorganisms with densities of 103 to 108 cells/cm3 (1, 4). These microorganisms have as their main food the remains of organic material that sank out of the paleo-ocean in the geological past, became buried deep down into the seabed, and has been slowly degraded ever since at steadily decreasing rates. It is truly surprising that sufficient organic material still remains for the organisms to feed on and for the large microbial communities to be maintained.

      The explanation is that deep life is able to proceed in extreme slow motion
      ." (see links at What Did The Mass Extinctions Do To Viruses and Microbes?).

  4. "The strange star that has serious scientists talking about an alien megastructure" - link