Keeping Saturn old was not much of a challenge for secular planetary scientists, it was easy to just assume the planet with it’s rings was 4.5 billion years old and they expected to observe those expectations. However, the Cassini mission didn’t turn out the data in what they expected. For example, Saturn’s rings with its array of beautiful colors and shapes that in 1610 were called by Galileo who was the first to discover them, “”handles” or large moons on either side of the planet. Many years later, Christann Huyges proposed that Saturn was surrounded by a solid ring. The first pictures of majestic rings were taken in 1979 by Pioneer 11.
The Cassini spacecraft began to take highly detailed pictures of Saturn’s rings that were absolutely breath-taking but surprises began to mount for those who believe the Universe is billions of years old because Saturn’s rings are young-looking. The ices are way too clean to be 4.5 billion years old being under the forces acting upon them that are so pervasive. So the old idea that proposed the rings formed when Saturn did fell out of favor with a need for new imaginative explanations.
One has turned up and this is not a new idea in particular but a variant of another idea, according to the BBC news: “Saturn’s rings may have formed when a large moon with an icy mantle and rocky core spiralled into the nascent planet.” Whenever observations in our solar system do not match the old age framework or a particular theory based on naturalism, an asteroid or comet is then evoked as the alternative explanation. For example, that alternative explanation has been used for other planets like Mercury and Venus. It was funny to read that Carl Murray thought it was “a clever way to explain the peculiarly icy nature of the rings” lol.
In Science Daily, the article boosts about how in 1979, Prof. Akiva Bar-Nun from Tel Aviv University’s Department of Geophysics and Planetary Sciences “developed the theory that there were lakes on Titan. Upon falling to the moon’s surface, he theorized, the hydrocarbons in the atmosphere would form lakes with a depth of approximately 43 meters had they been covering the entire surface of Titan. In addition, he hypothesized that the same elements would form aerosols in the atmosphere.” Later estimations were even higher based on the assumption it’s billions of years old. What Cassini spacecraft actually found in 2005 concerning bodies of liquid on the surface of Titan are restricted to scattered lakes in the polar regions! The prediction vastness of the lakes was falsified while his other prediction concerning the lakes being hydrocarbons rather than water was verified.
In 2005, the Cassini spacecraft made a starling discovery, there are active geysers at the south pole of little moon Enceladus! It had astronomers shaking their heads, how could a small dead moon be still be geologically active after 4.5 billion years? It should have been frozen out billions of years ago because of lack of bulk, they say. Some computer models were created to find an alternative explanation to keep the moon old, Cassini Project Scientist Dennis Matson came up with a subsurface ocean picks up ions in the rock that bubble upward and explode out the south polar cracks. Questions emerge, like how the ocean survived for billions of years in a moon just 500 miles across, why they erupt at the south pole, and why other moons don’t do this?
JPL came up with another story which calls for friction between the sides of subsurface cracks to keep the interior warm.
“Enceladus’ orbit around Saturn is slightly oval-shaped. As it travels around Saturn, Enceladus moves closer in and then farther away. When Enceladus is closer to Saturn, it feels a stronger gravitational pull from the planet than when it is farther away. Like gently squeezing a rubber ball slightly deforms its shape, the fluctuating gravitational tug on Enceladus causes it to flex slightly. The flexing, called gravitational tidal forcing, generates heat from friction deep within Enceladus.”
Questions emerge with this story, Why does this happen only at Enceladus, and not nearby Mimas or Tethys? What makes this unique to this one moon? Don’t other moons librate? Isn’t all other moons of Saturn have perfect spheres and don’t they have tidal stresses too?
It’s truly amazing on what has been discovered! While the Cassini mission has thrown secular theories a loop, it has provided a wealth of great information on confirming the Bible!