==| Chapter 1  |==
The Little Bang Theory
  ==| Chapter 2  |==
The Tharsis Bulge of Mars
  ==| Chapter 3  |==
Mars Puts On A Little Weight
  ==| Chapter 4  |==
The Biggest Volcanoes
  ==| Chapter 5  |==
Where Astra Fragmented
  ==| Chapter 6  |==
Ancient Ring System of Mars
  ==| Chapter 7  |==
The Flood of Mars - Its Ice Age
  ==| Chapter 8  |==
Tilts of Mars and The Earth
  ==| Chapter 9  |==
The Energy Exchange
  ==| Chapter 10  |==
Angular Momentum Exchange
  ==| Chapter 11  |==
The First Nine Clues
  ==| Chapter 12  |==
Clues Ten, Eleven And Twelve

The Ancient Ring System Of Mars
The brighter the light that a new theory sheds on its proper field, the darker and more distorting the shadows in which it submerges the experience which lies around the borders of its true scope.
M. Polanyi

Introduction And Review

In Chapter 1, three categories of evidence were given indicating a fragmentation of a small planet on the Roche Limit of Mars.  The first of these categories was the Hemisphere of Craters versus the Serene Hemisphere.  A second category was the giant Hellas Crater, in the bulls eye zone of the Clobbered Hemisphere.  It is the largest crater in the Solar System.

The third category was the Rim of the Hemisphere of Craters.  By identifying the rim, one can locate the center of the Clobbered Hemisphere.  Its center is 45° S. lat. and 320° W. long.  From this central location, 93% of the craters of Mars are in that particular Hemisphere, and 7% are in the opposite hemisphere.

On Mars, one goes from one of the most densely cratered hemispheres in this Solar System directly to the opposite hemisphere, with 7% of the Martian craters.  It, the Serene Hemisphere of Mars, centered at 45° N. lat. and 140° W. long., is easily the most serene, uncratered hemisphere in the Solar System.

In Chapter 2, one additional category of evidence of a fragmentation of a small Pluto-sized planet was presented.  It was the two bulges in the Serene Hemisphere, with particular attention to the Tharsis Bulge.  It is close to being directly opposite to the Hellas Crater.

The Hellas missile, perhaps 600-miles in diameter, hit the 20-mile thick crust of Mars at a velocity estimated at 25,000 mph.  This also is 420 miles per minute, or 7 miles per second.   The Hellas Fragment and at least two more, Isidis and Argyre, penetrated the crust of Mars and plowed into its hot, fluid magma.  Sudden, immense pressures from these caused the two bulges to suddenly rise in the Serene Hemisphere.  The bulges began to rise within 90 to 120 minutes after Astra fragmented.

In Chapter 3, it was determined that the acquisition and absorbing of these tens of thousands of fragments of Astra added something to the mass of Mars.  Much of that increase was in the twenty largest fragments.  That increase in mass for Mars is estimated at a sudden increase in mass for Mars of 1.5%.

Mars put on a little weight.  Its other bulge zone, that is, its equatorial diameter, increased by 21 miles and its polar diameter increased by an estimated 20 miles.  The crust responded appropriately as suddenly it was inadequate to contain the red planet's new mass.

Its crustal response was to rip and tear in a new, wide, long, 2,500-mile split, a rift, a torn crust, in order to accommodate a new, larger diameter.  The rift system on little Mars is far wider, longer and much deeper than is the Great African Rift System in our Eastern Hemisphere.

As in the case of the Earth and its Great African Rift Valley, the Valles Marineris also probably formed at the perpendicular angle to the old equator of Mars.  It was when Mars was in its catastrophic third orbit.  Like the two bulges in the crust of Mars, the Valles Marineris is located in the “Serene” Hemisphere.”

Like the Great Rift Valley of East Africa on our planet, the central region of the Valles Marineris also is the widest, deepest and most complex.  An increase in mass caused the Valles Marineris on Mars.  A shift in the equatorial bulge zone, and a relocated spin axis is what created the Great African Rift Valley.

The Tharsis Bulge and the Valles Marineris are the fourth and the fifth categories of evidence supporting the concept that the Roche Limit of Mars is what caused Astra to fragment.  It is all rather straight forward. These five categories ALL ARE CLUES as to the cause of the tortured surface of Mars, and they point in harmony.

In Chapter 4, an additional sixth clue occurs.  It is a testimony not so much as to the fragmentation of Astra, but to the ancient Catastrophic Orbit of Mars.  Mars flybys of both the Earth and Venus occurred, apparently over 100 in each case.

On each close flyby of the Earth or Venus, the magma of Mars was again squeezed upward, and much lava and ash was vented from its giant volcano craters.  The evidence is in the display of immense volcanoes on little Mars.  These huge volcanoes illustrate the degree of internal distress Mars must have experienced during its ancient flybys of the Earth and Venus.

Also, the giant volcanoes of Mars support the idea that volcanism rather than crustal flex was the primary mechanism for relief of internal distress for Mars during planetary flybys.  These are all “scars of Mars,” all scars readily visible on its surface, its physical geography.

Chapter 5 addresses the seventh clue, those fragments which missed the crust of Mars, and proceeded on into space.  Most asteroids went out toward, but not as far as Jupiter's orbit.  They became asteroids when in their virgin orbits and they began to orbit the Sun.  Those that have been seen number over 5,000.  They also are scars in the Solar System of the fragmentation of Astra on the Roche Limit of Mars.

Most, perhaps 98% of the fragments that missed Mars began to orbit the Sun.  It is theorized that the other 1% or 2% found Mars as their “centerpiece.”  They began to orbit Mars instead of the Sun, and formed an ancient ring system parallel with the Martian equator.

In contrast to the Sun asteroids, it is the Mars asteroids, comprising its former ring system, which provide our final battery of a half dozen more clues supporting the fragmentation of Astra on the Roche Limit of Mars.  This, an ancient ring system of Mars, is the topic for Chapter 6.

How compelling are the first six categories of evidence?  To that array of evidence is added what may be even more compelling, Deimos, Phobos and the former Mars asteroids.  Gradualist astronomers do not recognize the evidence of a former ring system of Mars.  But then again, they have yet to recognize, much less evaluate, the evidence that is now being placed in court.

A Blizzard Of Exploding Fragments And Logic

Astra fragmented into a spray of fragments.  An estimated 30%, possibly 35% hit the surface of Mars in one hemisphere only.  The rest of the fragments, some 65% more likely, 70%, missed Mars.  They proceeded into 5,000+ new, virgin orbits.

There were three centers of gravity available for the virgin fragments as they needed to adopt a focus for their new orbit.  The options for a new focus were the Sun, Mars itself and Jupiter.  Our best guess is that between 98% and 99% began to orbit the Sun.  1% or 1.5% began to orbit Mars itself.  And between .2% and .3% began to orbit Jupiter.  Each fragment, indeed had to be snared by one of the three.

The vast majority of the fragments had sufficient energy, inherited from Astra's motion, to orbit out beyond the zone of control of Mars.  But some fragments lost energy as the vector from the explosion opposed the orbit vector for the new fragment.  Lacking sufficient energy to escape Mars, they began to orbit Mars.  Such is the theory; the following is the evidence for this theory.

In astronomical parlance, this zone of control is known as the “radius of action.”  For the Earth, the radius of action is 750,000 miles, beyond which the Earth cannot retain a satellite.  For Mars, this zone of control was much smaller, especially when Mars was near Venus, and its ancient perihelion at a toasty 64,000,000 miles.

For all fragments that had their “aphelion” or “apoMars” within the Martian zone of control, they would become Mars asteroids.  Fragmentation theory logically concludes that some, a small percent would stay, would circle Mars instead of the Sun.  They are called “Mars asteroids,” and thus differentiated from “Sun asteroids.”

“Mars asteroids” is a new category of thought to astronomy because no astronomer of whom we are aware yet has considered, much less agrees that Astra fragmented on the Roche Limit of Mars.  Nevertheless, it is the conclusion to which the evidence points.

The Evidence Of Mars Asteroids

Planets, since they rotate, are not quite spheres.  Technically, they are “oblate spheroids.”  Due to spin rates and centrifugal force, they have an equatorial bulges and a pair of polar flat spots.  Mars has a rotation rate only 41 minutes slower than the Earth's.

The equatorial diameter of Mars is 4,212 miles.  Its polar diameter is only 4,183 miles, which is 29 miles shorter.  The Earth's polar diameter is 27 miles shorter than its equatorial diameter.  Mars has an oblateness of 0.009 compared to only 0.003 for the Earth.  Thus Mars has an equatorial bulge that is a bit larger than the Earth's.

When satellites revolve around a planet, they will gradually align with its equatorial plane since that is where significantly more mass is located.  Therefore, Saturn's rings are an extension of its equator, and so, if Mars had rings, the rings system of Mars also aligned in nearby space as an extension of its equator.

Deimos and Phobos do orbit on the equatorial plane of Mars today, as one would expect.  Thus it was that the equatorial plane would have been the “zone of gathering” for any Mars asteroids including any lesser debris.

There is now a count of over 5,000 asteroids that have been found orbiting around the Sun. Almost all orbit between Mars and Jupiter.  In contrast, Jupiter has at least twelve small, irregular-shaped satellites which appear to be former asteroids, which it captured on the fly.  Jupiter's mass is almost one thousandth that of the Sun, and it is 2,958 times the mass of little Mars.

The first asteroid was discovered on the night of January 1, 1801 by Giuseppe Piazzi.  It was first night of the 19th century.  Many celebrated New Year's eve too much and too late and had hangovers the next night.  But Piazzi planned his time better, preferring to scan the celestial regions alone with his new telescope.  In the last 195 years, over 5,000 have been sighted, and dozens more are being discovered every year.

If 2% of the fragments of Astra orbited Mars, that still was a lot of debris.  But if that much debris once was there, where did it go?  Every time Mars made a close flyby of the Earth, some of the debris was swept out.  The Earth swept them out like a broom.  Every time Mars made a close flyby of Venus, more was swept out.  Venus was a second broom.

If there was in excess of a hundred Mars-Earth Wars and another hundred plus Mars-Venus flybys, the former ring system of Mars could be depleted in due time --- swept nearly clean --- but not quite completely.

There exist a small number of tiny, irregular-shaped “inner asteroids,” orbiting in the regions of the orbits of the Earth and Venus.  Their origin seems to have been in the Catastrophic Era, and from the ring system of Mars.  They seem to have been swept away from Mars.  The names of these “inner asteroids” include Adonis, Amor, Apollo, Eros, Gaspra, Hermes, Icarus and Moore.

They are irregular, fragmentary in shape, just like the main belt asteroids.  Their diameters are from a fraction of a mile up to five miles.  They seem to be sweepings from the Mars-Earth and the Mars-Venus Wars.  If they once orbited Mars, and were swept out into the inner Solar System, they should be reclassified as “Mars Asteroids”.

Galileo was the first, at least in modern times, to see the sparkling ring system surrounding Saturn in 1610.F1  Among many of his discoveries with his new telescope, Galileo discovered the ring system of Saturn.  It was close in to Saturn, at about Saturn 2.5 radii.  This is the Roche Limit distance.

It is legend that for his discoveries, and his publishing of them, and talking about them, Galileo was summoned to the Vatican, the authorities of his time, and was tried by the Inquisition.  He abjured the obvious and saved his life.  Nevertheless others in Northern Europe also had telescopes, and they seconded his discoveries with enthusiastic reports, which were soon verified and reverified by others with their new telescopes.  It was hard, even in the early 17th century, to keep good ideas down.

In the process of time, space mission cameras have discovered coal black rings, at the Roche Limit, 2.5 radii, from the center of Jupiter, circling Jove.  Other coal black rings have been discovered circling Uranus and Neptune as well.  These facts suggest that fragmentation’s during near flybys, too near, have been repeated scenarios in time past.

In 1850 Edouard Roche, a Swiss physicist, determined that if two planets were on a collision course, assuming equal densities, the smallest of the two would fragment before a collision.  Its internal tides would rise on a graph to the point of infinity, and fragment first.  He found a small body would fragment at 2.44 radii from the larger of the two.

Roche assumed circular orbits and approaching planets of identical densities.  Circular orbits occur seldom, and equal densities never occur in the real cosmos.  Therefore the “Roche Limit” is an approximation; it is valid but is subject to some alteration when density of the smaller approaching body is less than the larger planet.

There is no question but that Mars also could have had a ring system.  The three questions are:

1) Did it have a ring system?

2) If so, where did that ring material go?  and

3) Is some tiny debris still there, undetected?

It is likely that not all debris was swept out, and some still orbits near the orbit of Phobos, at 2.7 radii.  Also, the debris would have to be small to remain undetected.  This is expected to be a future discovery by space mission cameras near Mars.

Evidence # 7 - The Orbit Of Phobos

Tiny Phobos orbits 5,700 miles above the center of Mars, and it orbits on the plane of the Martian equatorial bulge.  The radius of Mars is 2,110 miles.  The Roche Limit of the red planet surrounds Mars at 5,150 miles from its center.  Phobos orbits only 550 miles above the Martian Roche Limit.  Phobos is fragment-shaped.  Three of its diameters are 12.5 miles by 15 miles by 17.5 miles.

In Greek cosmology, Phobos was one of the two orbiting “steeds”, seen pulling the chariot of Mars across the cosmos.  In Greek, “phobos” meant fear, or a phobia to flee to some safe place from the approaching Ares, and its bolts of cosmic lightning.  (Many hid in caves, cellars or fox holes).

Phobos orbits Mars in only 7 hours, 39 minutes.  The spin rate of Mars is 24 hours, 37 minutes.  Therefore, to a robot on Mars, Phobos would rise on the western horizon and set in the east.  This strange condition occurs nowhere else in the Solar System.  Further comment on this condition is reserved for chapter 12.

However, if Mars has always orbited 35,000,000 miles or more from the Earth, as gradualists assume, then why did the Greeks claim to see this tiny satellite?  And its partner, littler Deimos?

Evidence # 8 - The Pitted Surface Of Tiny Phobos

The surface of tiny Phobos was photographed by cameras on Mariner 4, 6 and 7.  It was in the years 1964 and 1969.  Those photos showed Phobos has a series of long, linear grooves, one about 1500 feet wide.  Seemingly, another fragment going the same direction skidded across its surface, scuffing and scraping it all the way.

More significantly, the surface of tiny Phobos contains literally hundreds of tiny pitlets and craterlets.  The pitlets have been photographed down to a yard or two in diameter.  The largest pitlet, Stickney, is 6+ miles in diameter on such a tiny fragment.  When that collision occurred, it nearly broke Phobos in half.

Why does Phobos have any pitlets at all?  And why so many, and at such a density?  The only logical reason is that Mars once had a dense, narrow ring system, a cloud of debris circling its equatorial bulge zone - an extension of its equatorial plane.

The pitlets and craterlets on the surface of Phobos are about as good evidence of a former ring system.  Having such evidence is as much as a planetary catastrophists could hope for, save for pitlets on Deimos also.

Judging by the density of craterlets on tiny Phobos, the former ring system must have been a well-populated cloud, rather thick, composed of tens of thousands - no - hundreds of thousands of tiny bits of rocky debris.  Figures 10 and 11 portray the pitted and poxed surfaces of both Phobos and Deimos.  Figure 12 illustrates the four sweep sites in the catastrophic orbit of Mars.

Figure 11 also illustrates a round-like, semi-smooth surface of Phobos, broken only by Stickney, the largest crater, and by the pitlets and craterlets.  Its smooth surface suggests that probably it was formed from material that was from the hot mantle deep under the crust of Astra.  Were it were more jagged, it would suggest a crustal fragment.

Figure 10 & 11 - Pitlets on the Surface of Deimos and Phobos


Figure 12 - The Catastrophic Third Orbit
of Mars and the Four Sweep Zones

 That evident location of Phobos, from deep within Astra, may be the precise reason why Phobos is so close in, and never escaped from Mars.  Perhaps the energy Phobos suddenly gained in one direction from the explosion canceled the energy of Astra's orbit in another direction, neutralizing Astra's forward motion.

If so, Phobos was left without enough energy to escape Mars, and without enough energy to begin a virgin orbit around the Sun.  Understanding this will be helpful in evaluating Evidence # 12 later in this chapter.

Evidence # 9 - The Orbit Of Even Tinier Deimos

Like Phobos, Deimos is also irregularly shaped.  It measures 6.5 miles x 7.5 x 10.  Deimos also is a rather rounded fragment, as if it too came from the hot, central region of Astra.  This also is to be noted when Evidence # 12 is discussed.

Like Phobos, Deimos also is pitted and poxed with hundreds of tiny craterlets, down to a yard or two in diameter.  Thus, Deimos and Phobos have both experienced going through a cloud of ring system debris, and have done so repeatedly.  This is the second, example of a poxed asteroid from the former ring system of Mars, but not the last.

The orbit of Deimos is 14,500 miles from the center of Mars, and is 12,400 miles from its severely-scarred surface.  Its orbit is less than seven radii from the center of Mars.  Orbiting Mars, Deimos has a period of 30 hours, 29 minutes and some 45 seconds.  The fact that both are poxed indicates that the cloud of debris, once circling Mars, was substantial in numbers of debris.

What is amazing is that were gradualism true, and had Mars has always been 30,000,000 miles or more distant from the Earth, how could the Greeks possibly have seen little Deimos?   A body averaging 8 miles in diameter, essentially Deimos is dark in color, with a low reflectance.

For difficulty in seeing, consider Saturn.  Its diameter is 71,500 miles.  Its average distance is 880,000,000 miles.  Its sunlight is one ninetieth as bright as is sunlight on the Earth.  Saturn's diameter is one part in 1,230 of its distance.  The diameters of Deimos average 8 miles.  Our opinion is that Deimos could be seen when it was twice as far away as the Moon.  This means it was visible for 20 to 30 hours during Mars flybys.  Phobos was visible for even longer.

Moreover, why did the Greeks name it for a word that means another aspect of great fear, or dread?   In addition, why did the Greeks correctly describe it as circling Mars, like a wheel of a celestial chariot?  Gradualists usually clear their throat, and shift the subject of discussion away from questions like this.  But why not face issues like this openly.  What does playing ostrich solve?  Nothing.  Once again, how could the Greeks have named Deimos and Phobos if they couldn't see them?

Deimos orbits Mars today for two reasons.  One is because, as a virgin fragment, its orbit velocity was apparently canceled by the vector of the explosion, in the opposite direction.  The second reason is that it was not quite swept away from Mars by the Earth or Venus during the ancient flybys.

Evidence # 10 - Pitlets On The Surface Of Deimos

Figure 10 also portrays the pitlets on tiny Deimos.  This means the pitlets on Phobos were not a fluke.  This pair of twin conditions can be explained by both repeatedly passing through a cloud of debris such as a ring system.  No other logical explanation comes to mind.

While the orbit of Deimos is not as close to the Martian Roche Limit as is that of Phobos, still it is close, within 15,000 miles.  Its pitlets are the tenth category of evidence for the fragmentation of Astra on the Mars Roche Limit.  Its pitlets are an additional bit of evidence for the Catastrophic Third Orbit of Mars, an orbit of .56 or so in eccentricity, which orbited out to the region of Astra, yet also orbited inward, inside the orbits of Venus and the Earth.

Like Phobos, Deimos also was heavily battered and bombarded with tiny debris.  Its numerous pitlets have been photographed by the Mariner missions.  Pitlets on Deimos were photographed down to a yard in diameter; the count of pitlets on tiny Deimos also runs into the hundreds.

Deimos differs from Phobos in certain important respects.  There are no craters larger than 3 km [1.9 miles] in diameter.  The two most prominent craters have been named Swift and Voltaire, but all in all, craters are much more subdued on Deimos than on Phobos.   Most are flat floored, with distinct breaks of the walls.  It is interesting that neither satellite shows any trace of craters with central peaks or terraced walls. [n1]

The pitlets and craterlets on Deimos indicate that it, too, was banged up by debris, and just as savagely as was Phobos.  Why is Deimos 9,000 miles farther out than Phobos?   Perhaps little Deimos was almost swept out during one of the Earth or Venus flybys.  “Almost swept out” implies that other ring system debris was swept out.

Magicians can make handkerchiefs and rabbits vanish at will.  Gradualists affirm that asteroid belts, planets replete with spin rates and satellites all could appear anywhere, “if given enough time.”  After all, given enough time, can't anything happen?  What has 20th century cosmology been so far, if it hasn't been one big magic show?

What, then, caused the ring system of Mars to vanish?  Mars-Earth skirmishes.  Mars-Venus skirmishes.  The Barringer Crater, a recent crater in Northern Arizona, is the result of a chunk of debris hitting the Earth.  This fresh crater is 570 feet deep, and 4,150 feet in diameter and is located 40 miles east of Flagstaff.  It happened within the collective memory of the Hopi tribe of Arizona.

The Mars-Earth Wars And The Mars-Venus Wars

The answer to the question about the swept out ring system of Mars is illustrated by Figure 12.  Figure 12 portrays the Third Orbit of Mars.  This catastrophic orbit seemingly was both pre-Astra and post-Astra.  This model presumes that Jupiter, in 1:6 orbital resonance with Mars, corrected any modest shifts in the orbit of Mars caused by the fragments of Astra.  The Greeks presumed that father Zeus, Jupiter, was the choreographer of the cosmos.

The foundation for the Catastrophic Third Orbit of Mars, is laid in a statistical format in Chapters 9 and 10.  Clues to its veracity occur in Chapters 11 and 12.  The key topic in those chapters is, “How did Mars get from its catastrophic to its radically different, much more circular modern orbit?”  One important issue is about shifts in energy involving Mars, Venus and the Earth.  A second, equally important issue is about shifts in angular momentum simultaneously.

One concern is about how many Mars-Earth Wars occurred, and another is how many Mars-Venus Wars also occurred.  How close did Mars come to Venus, and to the Earth.  These issues will be addressed also.  (One thing is addressed at a time.)

For the present discussion, the model holds that there were over 150 Mars-Earth skirmishes.  They ranged from as distant as 75,000-mile flybys to one, the closest, as near as 15,000 miles, measured planet center to center.

There is no way to lay a foundation for the count of Mars-Venus Wars.  Probably, they were as numerous as were the Mars-Earth Wars.  The scarred surface of Venus attests to repeated Mars-Venus skirmishes, with some of them having been all out battles.

Evidence # 11 - The Pitlets On Gaspra

Gaspra is a small inner asteroid, like Adonis, Amor, Apollo, Eros, Geographos, Hermes and Icarus.  Gaspra has an orbit that approaches the Earth's orbit at the 182nd longitude.  This is the Earth's position of March 23.  The obvious call is that Gaspra was a Mars asteroid that was swept out of the Martian ring system during one of the March Passovers, ancient March Mars flybys.

Gaspra, like Deimos and Phobos, is heavily pitted with craterlets.  Its numerous pitlets substantiate an experience much like Deimos and Phobos, and for almost as long. Figure 13 illustrates the pitlets poxing the asteroid Gaspra; compare it with the pitlets in Figures 10 and 11.

PREDICTION VI.  It is predicted that when the surfaces of other inner asteroids are photographed, they also will be found with poxed surfaces.  The subject includes such inner asteroids as Icarus, Amor, Apollo, Chiron, Moore, Eros, Adonis, Geographos and Hermes.

Figure 13 - The Pitlets of Gaspra

PREDICTION VII.  It is also predicted that upon closer surveying of the region of the orbit of Phobos, there will be found a small collection of orbiting debris.  When found, this debris will be remnants of the former ring system that also, like Deimos and Phobos, were not swept out during the planet wars of Mars.

Since no astronomers yet concur that Mars once had a former ring system, they would have no reason to make a minute inspection of the region of Phobos-Deimos in the space surrounding Mars.  Indeed an unconfirmed report has come in from Van Flandern that one of the recent Soviet missions to Mars indeed encountered a thin ring system near the Roche Limit of Mars.  This unconfirmed report was received after our prediction was made, which was shared with astronomer Van Flandern.

In the 1920's, a trans-Neptunian planet was suspected, due to minute, unexplained perturbations Neptune experienced.  A ten-year search program was instituted.  In due time, after comparisons of tens of thousands of photographic plates, Tombaugh discovered Pluto in 1930.

Another search program needs to be instituted in the late 1990's to discover and assess the remains of the ancient ring system of Mars.  It need not be a ten-year search program; it could be done with the next Mars mission.  This model predicts not only that the remnants of that former ring system will be found.  It also implies that the tour directors for Mars missions should be careful; encountering such debris in a careless entry path could destroy their multi-billion dollar project.

Astronomers so far have trouble understanding that the genesis of the asteroids is a fragmentation on the Roche Limit of Mars.  It is an obvious premise, and a simple one, with, so far, eleven categories of evidence.  When they become suspicious, a search program will be instituted.  It will be successful.  But ring system debris will be small, and being small, it likely will not be found by accident.   This model addresses the origin, the travails and the travels of the fragments of Astra.  The pitlets on the surfaces of Deimos, Phobos and Gaspra are part of that travail.

Evidence # 12 - Traditionalists And Their Lack
Of Satisfactory Theory On Asteroid Genesis

In a mystery, sometimes there are ten possible answers, or suspects.  If nine of them can be eliminated, the tenth explanation, however unlikely at the first glance, becomes the probable culprit after full analysis.  So said the master sleuth, Sherlock Holmes.

THE VAN FLANDERN APPROACH TO ASTEROID GENESIS.  Tom Van Flandern is a well-educated, well-connected, contemporary astronomer.  One of his jobs includes reviewing manuscripts in astronomy for publications.  He is courageous, honest, poised, pleasant and sincere.  He classifies himself not as a gradualist, but rather as an “asteroid catastrophist.”   Astronomers have been frustrated now for a century in endeavoring to explain the genesis of the asteroids.  That their attempts have been unsatisfactory is acknowledged by Van Flandern's recent attempt for a new explanation.  His is an attempt with a new pair of wrinkles.

In the past, the explanation usually has been by “slow accretion.” The time frame has been 4.6 billion years, +/-.  a few hundred million.  The source of the asteroid material has been a hiccup or two from the Sun, the cause of the hiccups being unknown.  Such has been the accepted menu for 150 years; this menu lacks only two things, evidence and logic.

First, asteroids in space tend to disperse.  They do not tend to condense or “accrete.”  Miscellaneous dust or debris does the same in all parts of the Solar System.  To date, perhaps in just 10,000 years, the asteroid perihelion’s have dispersed, and spread out to a belt 40 million miles deep and 80,000,000 miles wide.

After discussing the four inner planets, Mars being last, Van Flandern follows the Canadian astronomer Michael Ovenden's novel idea with considerable enthusiasm.  Ovenden claims there used to been a huge, gaseous planet this side of Jupiter.  It was 90% of the mass of Saturn, Saturn being 95 Earth masses.  Thus it was 80 or 85 Earth masses.

If so, its former parent planet would have been the next plant out from the Sun. This would seem to be the location of the “missing planet” where the asteroid belt is now.  In the chapter “Do Planets Explode?” we discuss evidence that a large planet, perhaps Saturn-sized, orbited there until recently in the solar system.  Let us refer to this missing planet as “Planet K,” following the lead of Canadian astronomer Michael Ovenden, who argued that the appropriate name for this hypothetical exploded body, taken from modern mythology, would be “Krypton.” ... Superman's home planet, of course. [n2]

In an astronomical convention in Europe, Van Flandern advocated Ovenden's idea, and was laughed at and humiliated.  He was even denied the opportunity to respond to his critics.  Subsequently Van Flandern has changed his mind on some aspects of Ovenden's idea, but persists with others.  This is an indication of his grit and courage, of his commitment and of his general dissatisfaction with the “traditional menu.”

Van Flandern now supposes that this region was inhabited by a planet much smaller than Saturn, but like Ovenden, he feels that missing planet “novaed” - it burst into a massively bright and temporary star.  He readjusted his view that the former planet, Krypton, may have been only 4,000 miles in diameter - Mars sized and not Saturn-sized.

One of the suspect ideas of the Ovenden and Van Flandern approach is the “nova” part.  Some novas are periodic, recurring periodically, perhaps with periods of 40 or 60 years.  Most astronomers, viewing novas elsewhere in the galaxy, NOT SEEING THE CLOSE DETAILS, profess to not know why novas occur.

NOVA. ... Causes.  The causes of these outbursts are still unknown.  In the case of ordinary novas, the star for some reason blows off its outer layers, but the amounts of energy and matter involved are not sufficient to produce any far reaching change in the star.  There is some evidence suggesting that ordinary novas are members of binary star systems. [n3]

A case was made in “The Recent Organization of the Solar System,” our Volume I, as to what causes novas. Evidence on four or five levels was presented indicating that the Sun had novaed, and recently as astronomers measure time.  It is still in the process of cooling and shrinking, at a rate of 120 feet per day.  Your authors claim to understand what caused the Sun to have a nova.

If our evidence and analysis is sound, it can be said that neither Ovenden nor Van Flandern understand the genesis of novas.  They alleged that the nova exploded; novas do not explode.  They merely rise rapidly to a maximum brilliancy in 40 or 50 hours.  They suspect the debris of the nova is the genesis of the asteroids.  They equate a nova with an explosion, which a nova is not.

Therefore, their assumptions are flawed, and their ideas are suspect as explanations for both the genesis of the asteroids and for the presence of little Deimos and Phobos, orbiting Mars.

For example, they interchange the ideas of “an explosion” and a nova.  Novas typically flare from invisibility to maximum luminosity in 40 to 50 hours.   Then they gradually diminish in luminosity for six months, perhaps up to 24 months, when they become invisible.

The evidence assessed in Volume I indicates novas are generated by sudden, immense tides in stars, by close flybys; they have nothing to do with explosions or fragmentation’s.  Fragmentation’s are produced by penetrations of Roche Limits.  To reiterate, a suddenly expanding nova, which occurs in 34 or 40 hours, is not an explosion, which occurs in seconds.

Another aspect of the Ovenden-Van Flandern approach is bothersome.  It is what caused the fragmentation of the asteroids.  In the case of this mystery, the physical geography of the surface of Mars virtually begs to convict the Martian Roche Limit.  The red planet has over 90% of its craters on one side.

Mars today is a neighbor to the asteroid belt.  And if our model is correct, it formerly orbited in the asteroid belt - before there was an asteroid belt.  Ovenden and Van Flandern have missed the obvious.  They both are good astronomers, but cannot be complimented as cosmologists.  To repeat, cosmology is a study of the history of the Solar System, astronomy is a study of its present arrangement.

Evidence # 13 - The Genesis of The Orbits of Deimos and Phobos

From here, Van Flandern's saga becomes even more improbable.  The subject is the orbits of the two little satellites of Mars, Deimos and Phobos.  What traditional gradualist astronomy badly needs is a good explanation of how Mars captured them.

The traditional menu for the last 100 years has been that somehow, little Mars caused an asteroid or two to slow down on the fly from velocities close to 50,000 mph down to 3,000 or 4,000 mph.  Simultaneously, Mars redirected it or them into a steep turn to circle itself.   Such a capture on the fly is beyond unlikely.  The physics of such a slowdown and sudden turn are impossible, as astronomers readily acknowledge.  Only magicians can accomplish such things, but that is on stage and with mirrors and trap doors.  Yet astronomers have ignored the veto by physics, and have affirmed that such a capture on the fly must have happened.

Their reason is that little Deimos and Phobos are there, so it must have happened that way, however unlikely.  Circular reasoning.  Moreover, such an unlikely scenario happened not once, but twice, once for each satellite captured on the fly.  This is impossibility squared; it is unworthy of serious discussion.

Privately, astronomers, when discussing the capture of Deimos and Phobos on the fly, smile a little nervously and quickly change the subject.  Mathematicians are aghast.  Physicists weep.  Engineers laugh.  None take that explanation very seriously because all realize a significant slowing down of an asteroid's velocity by little Mars is not possible even once.  In addition, a redirection into a tight capture orbit is equally illogical ... impossible.

Van Flandern understands correctly that there is a need for better theory for Mars to capture Deimos and Phobos on the fly.  Bravely, and creatively, he addresses a capture by Mars of Deimos and Phobos in another way.

The Martian moons Phobos and Deimos appear to be captured asteroids. [n4]

Among the many such collisions likely to occur, some may be suitable to leave a few of the larger masses gravitationally bound to Mars in a permanent way.   Moreover, continued collision interaction with the temporary bodies in orbit will tend to drive the larger captured satellites into somewhat more circular and somewhat more equatorial orbits, ... [n5]

Van Flandern proposes there was a cloud of asteroids that approached Mars.  He thinks two or more asteroids collided in space near Mars, decelerating.  Twice it happened.  But once again, there are troubling problems in his details.

1. DIRECTIONS OF MOTION.  In order to collide in this prescribed manner, one asteroid would better revolve in the clockwise motion around the Sun and the other in the counter-clockwise direction.  However all asteroids revolve in the counter-clockwise manner.

2. ONE DIRECTION OF REVOLVING.  If asteroids were to collide in space at approximately 50,000 mph, all with prograde motion, they would ricochet and bounce away from each other but would not decelerate appreciably.

3. MARS NOW IS IN AN ASTEROID-FREE ZONE.  The modern orbit of Mars averages 141,600,000 miles from the Sun; it orbits in a zone between 128,400,000 miles and 154,900,000 miles.  There are only three asteroids orbiting in this zone to our knowledge, Icarus, Apollo and Amor.  All appear to have been sweepings from Mars' once well-populated ring system.

Troubling Issue # 1.  Van Flandern proposes that a cloud of asteroids swept in near Mars and from that cloud, two or more collided, decelerated and were captured.  But there is no evidence any cloud of asteroids ever being near the modern orbit of Mars.  His is a postulation without any proper foundation of evidence.

Troubling Issue # 2.  In the Van Flandern approach, the orbits of two captive asteroids should have “apogees” at much greater distances than they do.  The “apogee” of Phobos is under 6,000 miles from the center of Mars, and that of Deimos is under l6,000 miles, both very close in, too close, too near to Mars.  What they are near is the Mars Roche Limit.

Troubling Issue # 3.  The surfaces of both Deimos and Phobos have hundreds of craterlets, or pitlets.  Craterlets and pitlets require nearby debris and in quantity.  Van Flandern's postulation does not address the pitted physical geographies of the surfaces of either Deimos and Phobos.

Troubling Issue # 4.  Greek cosmo-mythology includes the story of Astra and her disappearance in the Solar System.  True, the tradition must have come from Hittite, Indo-European and Sumerian ancestors.  Even so, where is the time and the resources for the pitting of Deimos and Phobos?  This model, on the other hand, addresses each of these circumstances with a foundation of both evidence and logic.

The four nearest asteroids to the modern orbit of Mars of which we are aware are Bamberga, at 165,000,000 miles, Iris at 171,000,000, Flora at 173,000,000 miles and Hebe at 179,500,000 miles from the Sun.

The next 5,000 are farther out, and over 75% of them are well beyond 200,000,000 miles.  They are 50 million miles distant from the modern orbit of Mars.  Van Flandern overlooks both (a) the paucity of asteroids in the region where Mars now roams and (b) the abundance of asteroids in the region where Mars once roamed.

Van Flandern, an editor of articles in astronomy, is well positioned as an astronomer, but not as a cosmologist.  He pays no attention to Greek cosmology, to ancient Roman literature, to ancient Hebrew literature, to Vedic traditions and literature, to ancient Chinese cosmology, or ancient American Indian lore involving cosmic traditions.

The simple and logical answer is that Mars captured a ring of asteroids when Astra fragmented.  They were the less energetic fragments in the aftermath of the explosion.  Deimos and Phobos somehow survived the Mars-Earth Wars and the Mars-Venus Wars.  If these two could survive, other tiny debris probably did also, and if so, the debris is small or it would already have been seen, but it can be found if and when a search program is instituted.

The truth is that traditionalists in astronomy have had more than a century to come up with a logical explanation with evidence for the acquisition of, and the retention of two tiny moons by Mars, Deimos and Phobos.  Van Flandern's recent and courageous endeavor (1993) is best viewed as an attempt to rectify that condition.  But the overview is that his endeavor still falls far short.  His attempt is best viewed as merely the latest salute to 100 years of failure in gradualist cosmology.

As is mentioned above, the explanation for Deimos and Phobos orbiting Mars is simple: they are fragments of Astra that became Mars asteroids.  And they remained Mars asteroids throughout the Mars-Earth Wars era.  Hence the ancient Greeks have accounts of them, the “steeds of Ares,” accompanying Ares, the “bane of mortals.”  The blind bard Homer some 2860 years ago was both profound and precisely correct.

Very appropriately, Van Flandern registers dissatisfaction with tradition explanations.  His extensive research on the subject of Mars and its two moons, is encouraging.  His willingness to entertain non-traditional ideas (up to a point) also is encouraging.  Perhaps, without realizing it, Van Flandern is already 25% of the way to becoming a planetary catastrophist - a Mars planetary catastrophist.

Cease, my son, to hear the instruction that causeth to err from the words of knowledge.  - Solomon (Proverbs 26:12.)


There is a logic in the belief that once Astra fragmented, and a small percent, possibly as little as 1% or 2% of its debris orbited Mars rather than the Sun.

There is ample evidence that Mars once had a thin ring system - all rings are thin - and it was well-populated.  Cratered Deimos and poxed Phobos are vestiges of that former ring system as is poxed Gaspra.

Story 12 is a logical explanation for THE POXING OF DEIMOS AND PHOBOS.

Story 13 is the explanation for THE POXING OF GASPRA, AN INNER ASTEROID, once in the ring system of Mars..  Other suspects for being poxed like Deimos, Phobos and Gaspra are the inner asteroids Adonis, Amor, Apollo, Eros, Geographos, Hermes and Icarus.

Story 14 is the explanation for HOW MARS ACQUIRED ITS TWO TINY SATELLITES, DEIMOS AND PHOBOS.  They were not captured on the fly, at some 50,000 mph.  They were captured as low energy fragments from the explosion of Astra, at which time they began to orbit Mars.  This may have been less than 12,000 years ago.

A search program for remaining ring system debris should be instituted.  A count program for the expected density of craterlets on the other inner asteroids (Gaspra included) should be planned.

Some inner asteroids were swept out by Venus.  Some were swept out by the Earth during March Passover flybys.  Some were swept out by the Earth during October flybys.  The Barringer Crater in Arizona is one of several examples that some substantial debris from the ring system of Mars hit the Earth's terrestrial surface.

Perhaps an analysis of the orbits of the eight or ten inner asteroids can determine which kind of a flyby it was when each was swept out.

It may be alleged by critics and skeptics that in this model of planetary catastrophism, planets were flying about all around the Solar System.  NOT SO.  NO CHANGES occurred to the orbits of Mercury, Saturn, Uranus, Neptune or Pluto.  Jupiter's orbit was only tickled and it captured a mere handful of asteroids.  (See Table XIII).  Some minor changes occurred to the orbits of the Moon and Venus.  Major changes occurred only to the orbits of Astra, the Earth and Mars.

During the closest flyby of all, Mars almost became fragments (like Astra) as it approached as close as 15,000 miles to the Earth during Noah's Flood.  This was only 4,000 miles from the Earth's Roche Limit.  This flyby, in 2484 B.C.E., was the closest of all.  It is to be described and analyzed in detail in Volume III, entitled The Flood of Noah.  Mars survived that occasion, but just barely; according to a baker's dozen of ancient reports, Mr. and Mrs. Noah also survived, also just barely.

With story 14, the reader now is 44% of the way to the penthouse; the scenic view keeps expanding.

End of Chapter 6  -  Ancient Ring System of Mars