Asteroid Diversity Points to a ‘Snow Globe’ Solar System

early asteroid belt

As of today, there are currently 1453 known potentially hazardous asteroids that could impact Earth and cause a real planetary catastrophe. Given the new diverse “snow globe” model of our solar system in relation to asteroids, how may more don’t we know about? It only takes one. Of more pragmatic interest, this new paper suggests a diverse asteroid population stirred up in the ‘snow globe’ model was essential to bringing water to Earth.

From the Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics Cambridge, MA -

Our solar system seems like a neat and orderly place, with small, rocky worlds near the Sun and big, gaseous worlds farther out, all eight planets following orbital paths unchanged since they formed.

However, the true history of the solar system is more riotous. Giant planets migrated in and out, tossing interplanetary flotsam and jetsam far and wide. New clues to this tumultuous past come from the asteroid belt.

“We found that the giant planets shook up the asteroids like flakes in a snow globe,” says lead author Francesca DeMeo, a Hubble postdoctoral fellow at the Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics.

Millions of asteroids circle the Sun between the orbits of Mars and Jupiter, in a region known as the main asteroid belt. Traditionally, they were viewed as the pieces of a failed planet that was prevented from forming by the influence of Jupiter’s powerful gravity. Their compositions seemed to vary methodically from drier to wetter, due to the drop in temperature as you move away from the Sun.

That traditional view changed as astronomers recognized that the current residents of the main asteroid belt weren’t all there from the start. In the early history of our solar system the giant planets ran amok, migrating inward and outward substantially. Jupiter may have moved as close to the Sun as Mars is now. In the process, it swept the asteroid belt nearly clean, leaving only a tenth of one percent of its original population.

As the planets migrated, they stirred the contents of the solar system. Objects from as close to the Sun as Mercury, and as far out as Neptune, all collected in the main asteroid belt.

“The asteroid belt is a melting pot of objects arriving from diverse locations and backgrounds,” explains DeMeo.

Using data from the Sloan Digital Sky Survey, DeMeo and co-author Benoit Carry (Paris Observatory) examined the compositions of thousands of asteroids within the main belt. They found that the asteroid belt is more diverse than previously realized, especially when you look at the smaller asteroids.

This finding has interesting implications for the history of Earth. Astronomers have theorized that long-ago asteroid impacts delivered much of the water now filling Earth’s oceans. If true, the stirring provided by migrating planets may have been essential to bringing those asteroids.

This raises the question of whether an Earth-like exoplanet would also require a rain of asteroids to bring water and make it habitable. If so, then Earth-like worlds might be rarer than we thought.

The paper describing these findings appears in the January 30, 2014 issue of Nature.

Headquartered in Cambridge, Mass., the Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics (CfA) is a joint collaboration between the Smithsonian Astrophysical Observatory and the Harvard College Observatory. CfA scientists, organized into six research divisions, study the origin, evolution and ultimate fate of the universe.

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93 thoughts on “Asteroid Diversity Points to a ‘Snow Globe’ Solar System

  1. “This raises the question of whether an Earth-like exoplanet would also require a rain of asteroids to bring water and make it habitable. If so, then Earth-like worlds might be rarer than we thought.”

    This raises the question of whether asteroids are common to all star systems. If so, then they would bring water to Earth-like exoplanets and thus Earth-like worlds may be more common than we thought.

  2. Since the Hubbell Deep Field images show nearly 3,000 galaxies in an area said to be only 1/24 millionth of the sky, then it’s a good bet that there are lots of habitable planets out there. I doubt if they’re that much smarter than us and it’s probably a real good idea that we’re so far apart.

  3. This finding has interesting implications for the history of Earth. Astronomers have theorized that long-ago asteroid impacts delivered much of the water now filling Earth’s oceans. If true, the stirring provided by migrating planets may have been essential to bringing those asteroids.
    Here is a different take on this [slow to load] http://arxiv.org/pdf/1401.7490.pdf :
    “The asteroid (4) Vesta, parent body of the Howardite-Eucrite-Diogenite meteorites, is one of the first bodies that formed, mostly from volatile-depleted material, in the Solar System. The Dawn mission recently provided evidence that hydrated material was delivered to Vesta, possibly in a continuous way, over the last 4 Ga, while the study of the eucritic meteorites revealed a few samples that crystallized in presence of water and volatile elements. The formation of Jupiter and probably its migration occurred in the period when eucrites crystallized, and triggered a phase of bombardment that caused icy planetesimals to cross the asteroid belt. In this work, we study the flux of icy planetesimals on Vesta during the Jovian Early Bombardment and, using hydrodynamic simulations, the outcome of their collisions with the asteroid. We explore how the migration of the giant planet would affect the delivery of water and volatile materials to the asteroid and we discuss our results in the context of the geophysical and collisional evolution of Vesta. In particular, we argue that the observational data are best reproduced if the bulk of the impactors was represented by 1-2 km wide planetesimals and if Jupiter underwent a limited (a fraction of au) displacement.”

  4. Alan Robertson says: @ January 30, 2014 at 4:42 pm

    ….. it’s probably a real good idea that we’re so far apart.
    >>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>
    Predators are generally smarter than prey….

  5. Jupiter may have been as close to the sun as Mars? Given Jupiter’s gravitational field/strength how did we end up with Mars, Earth, Venus and (possibly) Mercury – wouldn’t they have been either swallowed up by Jupiter or torn apart in the the gravitational tide wars between Jupiter and the Sun?

  6. I think the evidence shows that we have not been hit by anything larger that up to 15 kms in the last 4 billion years. That means, we are one lucky planet.

    The largest impact crater is Vredefort South Africa from 2.0 billion years ago and it was only a little larger than the Chicxulub asteroid which wiped out the dinosaurs.

    From the modeling and the study of the effects of these asteroid impacts in the 10 km range (as these two were), we wouldn’t have life on the planet if a 20 km asteroid hit us or, especially if a 20 km comet coming in at faster speeds hit us or if one of the very largest comets at 100 kms across hit us.

    Perhaps the early Earth, just after the Mars-size planet impact that created the moon and established the final size of Earth 4.4 billion years, was hit by larger asteroids/or comets in the first 200 hundred million years afterward. But after that, we have been one lucky planet. We know this because you are reading this.

  7. Ben, I highly recommend the book “Rare Earth: Why Complex Life is Uncommon in the Universe” by Peter D. Ward and Donald Brownlee

    These guys really did their homework, and it ties in nicely to your comment.

  8. Nice ! Thanks for the path to it Anthony.

    Leif, thanks for the pdf too. It was not slow to load from my seat. Albeit, I will spend a significant amount of time thinking about it tonight, so maybe you are correct in the end 🙈🙊🙉

  9. “Given the new diverse “snow globe” model of our solar system in relation to asteroids”

    So, how long will it take for all of the asteroids to settle at the bottom of the solar system if someone (God?) doesn’t come along and shake it again?

  10. Another potential catastrophe caused by global warming. Apparently, as the Earth’s atmosphere heats up due to anthropogenic causes, the atmosphere expands. Thus, as this planet sails through the heavens, CAGW causes it to be a bigger target and therefore more likely to be hit by one of those asteroids. I promise, on my honor, that I am not making this up. I have read this.

    This gets me to thinking. Who knows, maybe in the early, formative days of the Solar System the Earth’s atmosphere was so laden with CO2 that it was a really hot place with a really heat ballooned atmosphere that made it a very large target for all those asteroids near its path. And all those asteroids sucker punching the planet brought in lots and lotsa water. See, CO2 controls everything.

  11. Man, this is a fanciful tale! I could take some speculative musing about earth’s water, etc but this kind of detail in a CWAG (crazy wild ass guess) makes it Hollywood material. I think CAGW (which is just a mixup of CWAG) must have encouraged scientists to lose all restraint and open the door to “cubist” or “postimpressionism” physics. I knew this Ravetz was going to be trouble. At least there should have been a sober explanation for these planets jumping all over the place and then settling down to smallest at the front, biggest at the back like my grade two class photo. Those asteroids, to not have been sucked in by all these giant vagabonds, are made of stern stuff and must have an attitude. Perhaps they are the skeptics of the order.

  12. I have only one question – how much more CO2 must I output personally in order to increase the mass of the earth enough to alter the orbit of an asteroid so it strikes Washington DC on a day when all the climate lobbyists are there?

  13. There is another obvious theory about where most of the water of Earth came from. The Earth itself.

    When magmas cool, they expel water. The top ~30-70km of the earths crust formed very early on after the planet formed when the earth cooled, and during this process vast volumes of water were expelled, forming the oceans. There is enough volume in the earth to more than account for the world’s oceans. Moreover, the earths crust continually mixes with the mantle’s through e.g. convection currents, providing a further source of oxygen and hydrogen. (It is also possible that during more active tectonics, more water reaches the outer surface, affecting sea levels).

    Most astronomers have little to no understanding of magmatic processes, the processes of magma-generating water still goes on today. On other planets, in some cases there is no crust (if it is a gaseous planet), or the water was lost as gas as the planet was too hot (Venus and Mercury). Venus has evidence of plate tectonics, but which has apparently shut down. Mars, being a rocky planet, should have also expelled its’ water during cooling, which is why they are still looking for water there.

  14. “Their compositions seemed to vary methodically from drier to wetter, due to the drop in temperature as you move away from the Sun.”

    A very important point. There is a “snow line” in the solar system at 3 AU, inside which ice cannot last in the light of the sun.

    Remember what Stephan-Boltzmann worshippers say about earth’s oceans? That without downwelling LWIR from the atmosphere they would freeze solid.

    Now lukewarm ManBearPiglet believers can go all “flappy-hands” about ice sublimating in vacuum over -20C or diurnal SW cycling at the earth’s surface reducing available SW but it won’t work. Their figures are so far out it makes no difference. They applied SB instantaneous radiative flux equations to liquid heated at depth by SW.

    If you remove all features of the atmosphere above the oceans except pressure they would get hot enough to boil the whales.

    The NET effect of the atmosphere on the oceans is cooling. There is only one effective cooling mechanism for the atmosphere. Radiative gases.

  15. thingadonta says:
    January 30, 2014 at 6:00 pm

    “There is another obvious theory about where most of the water of Earth came from. The Earth itself.”

    Yeah, average granite magmas have about 5% water. This is the trouble with astronomers speculating on earth science. They linearly think the stuff has to rain down only from above. Also, why would the snowballs wait so patiently for the earth to be fully formed before they attacked. Hey, there must have been even more of them in the earlier chaotic period while the earth was agglomerating.

  16. Why would Asteroids be more likely to be composed of, or with water than any other celestial body?

    I don’t see an explanation or speculation thereto.

  17. “As of today, there are currently 1453 known potentially hazardous asteroids that could impact Earth and cause a real planetary catastrophe.”

    See. I said we were doomed.

  18. u.k.(us) says:
    January 30, 2014 at 6:12 pm (replying to)
    lsvalgaard says:
    January 30, 2014 at 4:46 pm

    Leave it to Leif, to upset ones world-view :)

    One’s world view.
    Two worlds’ views.
    Three worlds’ views.
    Four worlds’ views …. 8<)

  19. RACookPE1978 says:

    January 30, 2014 at 6:31 pm
    =======
    Did you have to rub it in ?
    I’ll never remember it.

  20. Oil Vey!

    T’was not ye who were commented, but the Leif who was to be (indirectly) complimented (via your words – however ingrammarnumerical they may be) for educating the world’s views!

  21. Hmmm, wondered if the referenced Immanuel Velikovsky in his 1950’s book “Worlds in Collision”?

  22. I think Earth like planets are exceedingly rare. Its not just a matter of finding a rocky planet of roughly the right size that orbits a sun like ours and has a bit of water on it.
    The Earth as we know it is the outcome of a series of massively improbable events:
    We have a magnetic field – not so common even in our own solar system, but this protects us from the solar wind and protects our atmosphere from being stripped away. It also allows life to persist.
    In order to have a magnetic field like ours also requires the coming together of a serious amount of factors. We have a molten core – which requires a certain amount of radioactivity and the core is iron rich so that when the Earth spins it generates a magnetic field. However, the Earth spins at a massive rate compared to most other planets and this should create such a wobble that the Earth should spin on a horizontal axis. Except that we have a moon of a certain size that acts as a dampener and keeps us vertical enough that we have seasons. Incidentally the Moon also acts as a “sweeper” for a lot of the asteroids that would otherwise have been caught in Earths gravity.
    It seems to me that if you go looking for lumps of rock circling stars at the right distance you will find plenty of them. But if you are looking for Earth Like planets then that would be much harder.

    I always understood that water came from the asteroids or at least meteorites, so I don’t know why this is something new.

  23. To think of all the hate that Immanuel Velikovsky stirred up when he had the effrontery to suggest that Venus had been ejected from Jupiter and had wandered the Solar System as a comet, with near misses on Earth and Mars, before finally settling down in its current orbit!

    Do you suppose that his reputation could finally be restored to him? He may be right or wrong, but so far there has been no conclusive evidence that he was wrong in any major part of his thesis – though possibly in parts that are not essential. Indeed, all recent discoveries tend to support his theories rather than the views of those who opposed and denigrated him so vigorously.

    Nearly fell off the chair that “Nature” of all journals, actually prints a suggestion that Jupiter had at one time been as close to the Sun as Mars is now, and that the giant planets (including Saturn, Uranus and Neptune) “ran amok, migrating inward and outward substantially”. Where are Harlow Shapley, Cecilia Payne-Gaposchkin, Carl Sagan and Isaac Asimov now they are needed to defend the orthodox view – see, for example: http://www.unz.org/Pub/Reporter-1950mar14-00037 for Professor Payne-Gaposchkin’s article “Nonsense, Dr. Velikovsky!”

    And one might wish to consider CAGW in the light of the last column of Professor Payne-Gaposchkin’s article!!

  24. Goldie

    “The Earth as we know it is the outcome of a series of massively improbable events:”

    We have no way of knowing how improbable those events are in the larger galaxy / universe.

    The only empirical evidence we have is our own solar system. Odds of 1 in 8, 1 in 9 or 1 in 10 depending on how you want to count planets. Odds of 1 in 10 do not count as massively improbable in my book.

  25. But why wouldn’t [the] planets have been closer. At one time our own moon was orbiting much closer to the Earth and the Earth was spinning much faster. All a consequence of a collision with Thea However as time passed and the spin has slowed, so the Moon has moved away from the Earth. I think that’s basic physics – conservation of momentum, but I’m not sure – I’m a Geologist precisely because I was no good at Maths.

  26. Konrad says:
    January 30, 2014 at 6:03 pm

    If you remove all features of the atmosphere above the oceans except pressure they would get hot enough to boil the whales.

    The NET effect of the atmosphere on the oceans is cooling. There is only one effective cooling mechanism for the atmosphere. Radiative gases.

    Agree. Look up the work of Jinan Cao.

  27. Gail Combs says: at 4:49 pm “Predators are generally smarter than prey….”

    But what if what we call humanity is only a 4 on a predatory scale of 10?

    There may be Kzin out there with a Payton Manning as QB.. How’s that for mixing cultural reference?

  28. @Tom J –

    As I understand it, the original composition of the Earth’s atmosphere, after the planet settled down at the end of its formative period, was roughly 80 percent nitrogen and 20 percent CO2 (ignoring the 1 percent or less of argon and other noble gases). Then, starting about 2 billion years ago, blue-green algae evolved and began the photosynthesis that eventually converted the CO2 to O2, a process that was essentially complete sometime before the Cambrian explosion of life on Earth, 600-700 million years ago. Clearly, there was no runaway heating on Earth during all that time, and there appears to have been at least one time where the Earth froze over entirely before the advent of the blue-green algae and the consequent redux of all that CO2.

    Other commenters – anything to add (or correct) to this?

  29. - Ed, Mr. Jones says:
    January 30, 2014 at 6:25 pm

    Why would Asteroids be more likely to be composed of, or with water than any other celestial body?

    I don’t see an explanation or speculation thereto.-

    Start with there is a lot hydrogen and Helium in the universe. The next most abundant element
    is oxygen. So 2 hydrogen + oxygen is water. There also a lot H2O in the universe.
    So asteroids in the main asteroid belt don’t have a lot water compared to other celestial bodies.
    But also there lots asteroids in our solar system- or the asteroids in main asteroid belt are small fraction of all asteroid in our solar system.
    The mass of main asteroid belt:
    “The total mass of the Asteroid belt is estimated to be 3.0 to 3.6×10^21 kilograms, which is 4 percent of the Earth’s Moon.
    Of that total mass, one third is accounted for by Ceres alone.”

    http://www.sciencedaily.com/articles/a/asteroid_belt.htm

    Ceres may have more water than all the asteroids in main asteroid belt. The amount of water
    on Ceres is not known precisely, but estimate of it having more fresh water than Earth- and fresh water on Earth is very small percent of ocean water.
    “This 100-km-thick mantle (23%–28% of Ceres by mass; 50% by volume) contains 200 million cubic kilometers of water, which is more than the amount of fresh water on the Earth”-

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ceres_%28dwarf_planet%29

    Earth’s oceans is about 1.3 trillion cubic km and fresh is about 10 million cubic km:

    http://ga.water.usgs.gov/edu/earthhowmuch.html

    And polar caps and glaciers hold most of fresh water.
    So it’s very unlikely Ceres and the asteroids in main belt have as much water as Earth does.
    Jupiter moon, Europa probably couple times more water than Earth.

    http://io9.com/theres-more-water-on-jupiters-moon-europa-than-there-5913104

    Mars is thought to have more tens trillion tonnes- or more than 10,000 cubic km of water.
    Our Moon has somewhere around 10 billion tons- 10 cubic km of water. With perhaps millions of tonnes which might “commercially minable”. Moon used to be considered to not have “any water to speak of” which largely true. Moon is extremely dry, but water has be found in lunar poles-
    making the Moon somewhat “damp” at pole. To be minable it need to be about 5% per volume
    of water. And somewhat dry dirt on Earth has about this amount of water in it. Mars compare to Earth is very dry, but compared to the Moon, fairly wet.

    So asteroid of main asterisk belt probably have far less water than Earth, but all asteroid in solar system- particularly if include in the count all dwarf planets like Ceres- which have yet to be discovered- probably has many thousands of times the amount water as Earth.

  30. Chad Wozniak says:at 7:53 pm

    Clarke and Baxter’s “The Light Of Other Days” provides a narrative that allows one to envision the depth of time that our planet has experienced, and the evolution that may have occurred between the various climactic ages. Highly recommended!


  31. MattS says:
    January 30, 2014 at 7:19 pm

    Goldie

    “The Earth as we know it is the outcome of a series of massively improbable events:”

    We have no way of knowing how improbable those events are in the larger galaxy / universe.

    The only empirical evidence we have is our own solar system. Odds of 1 in 8, 1 in 9 or 1 in 10 depending on how you want to count planets. Odds of 1 in 10 do not count as massively improbable in my book.

    You always exclude the observer when gathering stats on any population. If you’re, say, gathering statistics on the average number of customers in, say, a restaurant, you should not count yourself.

    Now, since our planet seems to occupy a piece of prime real estate in terms of distance from the sun (and two planets cannot, by definition, cannot share) the life being “oh fer” all the others doesn’t tell us much either.

  32. Chad Wozniak says:
    January 30, 2014 at 7:53 pm (replying to)

    @Tom J –

    As I understand it, the original composition of the Earth’s atmosphere, after the planet settled down at the end of its formative period, was roughly 80 percent nitrogen and 20 percent CO2 (ignoring the 1 percent or less of argon and other noble gases). Then, starting about 2 billion years ago, blue-green algae evolved and began the photosynthesis that eventually converted the CO2 to O2, a process that was essentially complete sometime before the Cambrian explosion of life on Earth, 600-700 million years ago.

    Better estimate is 3-4 billion years ago for the first plants. A little after the moon-earth collision about 4.3 – 4 billion years ago that basically blew a large part of the crust away. The earliest fossils I have on the shelf are those of the first oxygen-releasing “plants”. Best we can tell tell, the earliest atmosphere was opaque – absorbing all transmitted (visible) light .. until the plants grew and cleared the atmosphere into its present 21% – 78% mix of (transparent) gasses.

  33. Frederick Michael says:
    January 30, 2014 at 8:11 pm (replying to)

    MattS says:(replying to)
    January 30, 2014 at 7:19 pm

    Goldie

    “The Earth as we know it is the outcome of a series of massively improbable events:”

    We have no way of knowing how improbable those events are in the larger galaxy / universe…
    .. Now, since our planet seems to occupy a piece of prime real estate in terms of distance from the sun (and two planets cannot, by definition, cannot share) the life being “oh fer” all the others doesn’t tell us much either.

    The probability is actually much larger against any local equivalent life-as-we-know-it planet:

    Graphically, http://xkcd.com/1298/

  34. It must be noted that this is all speculation based on the new finding of a variety of types of asteroids, which could mane all sorts of things. They talk of Jupiter wandering in among the terrestrial planets and yet there is no evidence of that whatsoever. it is just scientists speculating.

    Speculation is not science.

    People here at WUWT should be well aware of that by now.

  35. “Best we can tell tell, the earliest atmosphere was opaque – absorbing all transmitted (visible) light .. until the plants grew and cleared the atmosphere into its present 21% – 78% mix of (transparent) gasses.”

    To sunlight CO2 is slightly more transparent than nitrogen and/or oxygen.
    The only reason for Earth being opaque would due to dust [- including volcanic pollution].
    But in terms of million of years rather centuries- thousands of years high levels of volcanic activity, earth skies should have as clear to sunlight as current atmosphere.
    Some think there may have been more atmosphere- if you had 2 or 3 more nitrogen
    it would slightly be dimmer, particularly morning late afternoon.

  36. Chad Wozniak
    January 30, 2014 at 7:53 pm
    says:
    @Tom J –

    Thanks for the comment. I was actually sort of kidding with my earlier comment, although the part about the Earth being a bigger target for asteroid hits is in the literature as one of the litany of horrors CO2 causes.

    Best wishes.

  37. RACookPE1978 said:
    January 30, 2014 at 8:20pm
    “…the earliest atmosphere was opaque – absorbing all transmitted (visible) light .. until the plants grew and cleared the atmosphere…”
    ——–
    If the atmosphere was opaque (sunlight could not penetrate), then how could photosynthesis have arisen? Plants grew in an environment of no light?

    Sorry, I must not be understanding something.

  38. RACookPE1978,

    That is nothing more that a bit of speculation that presumes that we do/can know the probability of any particular star having an earth like planet within the appropriate orbital range. The ability to actually detect exo-planets is still in its infancy and the probabilities are a complete unknown.

  39. Goldie says:
    January 30, 2014 at 6:56 pm
    I can’t help agreeing with you.
    We are constantly bombarded with predictions about life on Mars, because it is in the ‘Goldilocks Zone’,yet every finding pushes back the probability of life.
    The Goldilocks Zone seems to be what someone assumes is where life may originate, yet when investigated, life fails to live up to the model.
    Sound familiar?
    Life requires iron rich planets with water,carbon O2 and the other building blocks.
    Mars lacks Van Allen belts and is a perfect example of a place where life would be sterilised by incoming radiation as you suggest. Many galaxies are iron poor.
    One would expect there to be technically advanced civilisations out somewhere in our galaxy.
    Where are they? Where are the artifacts?

  40. We live in an average galaxy orbiting an average star. What? Are we in the teenage of astronomy? Questioning whether we are more strange or weird compared to the other kids? Later we find out we’re quite normal.

    What might be unusual about Earth is our Moon. It seems to me the stability our companion gives us has helped make the biosphere more stable. In particular, it has given us a chance to develop intelligence and a civilization. That part might be very unusual.

    It’s why I find it terribly dangerous to denigrate the important role of humans on Earth. We represent perhaps the only chance for Earth to spread the seeds of life far from this planet. If we fail, will there ever be another chance for a second intelligent species to rise up and do the job?

    Don’t we have a duty to use the energy stored on Earth for millions of years for the ultimate valuable purpose? In the same way, trees and other plants devote large amounts of energy to reproduction. It is only natural we carry out the natural process of seeding life on other worlds. That’s what life does. Seeds and animals travel across oceans to start a new life on islands. Space is the next ocean we (more than just humans) need to cross.

    It turns out what we are doing with science and technology is exactly natural.

  41. Gary Pearse wrote –

    “Yeah, average granite magmas have about 5% water. This is the trouble with astronomers speculating on earth science. They linearly think the stuff has to rain down only from above. Also, why would the snowballs wait so patiently for the earth to be fully formed before they attacked. Hey, there must have been even more of them in the earlier chaotic period while the earth was agglomerating.”

    Astronomers indeed !,in a forum that can’t appreciate the most basic of basic correlations between daily temperature fluctuations and the rotational cause behind it,how is it possible to discuss the neat meshing of the 26 mile spherical deviation of the planet with crustal evolution and motion using a common rotational mechanism.

    Grow up for goodness sake ! ,the Earth is not a ‘rocky planet’, it has a huge rotating viscous mass with a very thin fractured crust and especially oceanic crust. All rotating celestial objects with exposed viscous compositions display an uneven rotational gradient between Equatorial and Polar latitudes and with all the clues imprinted on the Earth surface crust,and especially the Mid Atlantic Ridge, there is every reason not to exempt the Earth from the same rotational feature of all rotating celestial objects.

    Astronomers !, what astronomers ?. There are plenty of theorists chanting voodoo at the celestial arena and living off the using doom laden predictions but not a single one who can interpret a basic temperature graph as a signature of planetary dynamics. Turns out that this forum is no better or worse than their opponents in this respect.

  42. “Predators are generally smarter than prey….”
    Or animals that catch gras for a living don’t need to be smart?

    ““…the earliest atmosphere was opaque – absorbing all transmitted (visible) light .. until the plants grew and cleared the atmosphere…”
    ——–
    If the atmosphere was opaque (sunlight could not penetrate), then how could photosynthesis have arisen? Plants grew in an environment of no light?”

    I think what they mean with opaque is that you couldn’t see earths surface from space. Just like Venus today. That doesn’t mean that sunlight didn’t reach earths surface?
    Another thing, didn’t it start with plankton in water?

  43. Early Sun underwent a violent T Tauri stage. During that time magnetohydrodynamics played a central role in the formation of the system by transferring a huge amount of angular momentum outward to the protoplanetary disk, which can’t be done by gravitational forces alone.

    Now, magnetohydrodynamics leads to notoriously intractable mathematical problems, so I do not think it is possible to construct an adequate reductionist computational model of solar system formation.

  44. This is just Velikosky revisited all over again.
    There are three issues that killed off Worlds in Collision the first time:

    1 There’s just no evidence that it ever happened.
    2 Isn’t it weid how we ended up with all the gas giants in the outside and the rocky planets tidily in the middle if the gas giants can wander? How very tidy. (Now stronger as some exoplanets show gas giants near their sun so there’s no tidyng tendency).
    3 How come so few asteroids were sent out of the plane of the solar system? Some were, so it can happen, but Jupiter seemed to have missed nearly everything on its meanderings.

    Is there anything here to overcome the three issues?

  45. Speculation about our planet’s and solar system’s history has no political agenda and while we have some small amount of knowledge now and are steadily gaining more, we shall never know the whole truth.

    Very much like our understanding of our planet’s climate, with the obvious exception of the political agenda bit.

  46. Bill Illis says:

    “I think the evidence shows that we have not been hit by anything larger that up to 15 kms in the last 4 billion years. That means, we are one lucky planet.
    The largest impact crater is Vredefort South Africa from 2.0 billion years ago and it was only a little larger than the Chicxulub asteroid which wiped out the dinosaurs.”

    Remember that three quarters of the Earth is ocean, that no ocean bottom is older than 200 million years, and that much of the continents are also relatively young, and that there is actually fairly strong evidence for an impact crater considerably larger than Vredevort in Wilkes land in Antarctica.
    I should think that at the very most there is any evidence remaining for 10% of the large impacts during the last 3.8 billion years.

  47. @Hoser

    “Don’t we have a duty to use the energy stored on Earth for millions of years for the ultimate valuable purpose?”

    Probably not. From what basic moral principles do you derive the duty of spreading life?

    “In the same way, trees and other plants devote large amounts of energy to reproduction. It is only natural we carry out the natural process of seeding life on other worlds.”

    Trees spread seeds to other parts of the Earth. They do so without (apparently) thinking about it. We are not trees. You are suggesting that we spread the seeds of life beyond earth. And we would do it by conscious decision. Your analogy with the natural processes of trees fails.

    And if it natural, how is it a duty?

  48. @tty
    I am getting a bit late into this.
    I have a book from the research festival in Oslo 2000, telling what the geologists are doing.

    In an article about the Mjølnir crater in the Barents sea, there is a world map of known craters.

    A look at that map clearly gives the frequency of eager allmost fanatic crater- seekers in the world! and not really so convincing about all more or less large craters.

    My idea is that the largest known crater in the world measures 300 Km diam and lies in Canada, and a next really big one exactly where Ural goes into the sea.

    The swedes have the siljan- crater quite very big and another at Dellen.

    We have Gardnos 5 Km diam and really very fine because you do not have to dig. The ice and the Community has dug for you allready.

    I red of the possible craters under ice in Antarktis.

    On discussing it…… think of the very ugly light first,…… then the earthquake…….and of the Tsunami…..and that extreemly acid rain and the shadows for the sun following…. worldwide….

    At Gardnos I could pick samples and estimate the temperatures. Bitumenous rock is baked high enough to give good electric conductivity. Shall we say orange hot? and fused greywach granite rock, that is glasswork at yellow hot….

    Most interesting is that over large areas, it looks like if a quite proper dynamite has gone off just 2 handwidths away. Then you can tell the pressure shockwave gradient.

    No dynamite, no chemical ecxplosion, is even near to being sharp or fast enough to smash as hard as an asteroide.

    All is open and you can exel in interesting details. and really very well preserved, nothing has happened on Gardnos for the last 250 million years. I can see by the size of the crystals of what is melted, how soon it has re- cristallized again.

    Gardnos can be highly recommended. In many respects it is a finest and best crater. Elsewhere you have to dig and to drill.

  49. “I think what they mean with opaque is that you couldn’t see earths surface from space. Just like Venus today. That doesn’t mean that sunlight didn’t reach earths surface?
    Another thing, didn’t it start with plankton in water?”
    “Cyanobacteria – also known as “blue-green algae” – are the most ancient life form known to inhabit earth, with a fossil record of over 3.5 billion years. ”

    http://www.mbari.org/staff/conn/botany/phytoplankton/phytoplankton_cyanobacteria.htm

    And Cyanobacteria does fits in the general category of a plankton.

    Venus has huge atmosphere [with a lot thick clouds of sulfuric acid].
    Venus about same size as Earth but it has an atmosphere equal to about 94 times
    more atmosphere mass than Earth. If Earth atmosphere was as massive as one on Venus
    from earth surface so much atmosphere would block out the sunlight, nor could see Earth’s
    surface from space.
    — Venus Atmosphere:
    Total mass of atmosphere: ~4.8 x 10^20 kg
    Earth atmosphere:
    Total mass of atmosphere: 5.1 x 10^18 kg —

    http://nssdc.gsfc.nasa.gov/planetary/factsheet/

    Btw, Earth’s ocean is 1.4 x 10^21 kg.
    Earth’s ocean is about 4 times more massive and has higher
    pressure. But Venus is sort like our ocean in terms of pressure.
    At Venus surface it has a pressure of 92 atm.
    That is same pressure as 3000 feet under water on Earth.
    Earth oceans it’s less transparent than Venus atmosphere.
    At 3000 feet under water you would be in darkness, whereas there
    more light at surface of Venus at this same pressure.

  50. Re catastrophism, see google mars.
    One hemisphere is an undisturbed plain, the other hemisphere pockmarked with craters.
    This can only be explained by one single catastrophic event.

  51. The further we look the bigger the universe becomes, such that it is looking like it may be to our perspective infinite. Bazillions of galaxies and gazillions of suns, for us on the third rock from a very ordinary star to even consider we are the only life, or life would be rare in the rest of the universe.

    Would make us very narrow thinkers, chaos rules the material universe, always tending to natural attractors and beauty like snow flakes. It would be improbable for there not to be untold billions of planets teeming with life.

    The scientists doing this study may be right or wrong or in between but at least they are thinking, inquiring, questioning, and that is what science is.

  52. “Hoser says:
    January 30, 2014 at 10:22 pm
    …What might be unusual about Earth is our Moon. It seems to me the stability our companion gives us has helped make the biosphere more stable. In particular, it has given us a chance to develop intelligence and a civilization. That part might be very unusual.
    It’s why I find it terribly dangerous to denigrate the important role of humans on Earth. We represent perhaps the only chance for Earth to spread the seeds of life far from this planet. If we fail, will there ever be another chance for a second intelligent species to rise up and do the job?
    Don’t we have a duty to use the energy stored on Earth for millions of years for the ultimate valuable purpose?… Seeds and animals travel across oceans to start a new life on islands. Space is the next ocean we (more than just humans) need to cross…”
    ==================================================

    I totally agree…we are so lucky to live in a unique moment for life on earth…our children or grandchildren will soon be able to establish a breeding colony of humans on Mars that will hopefully ensure the survival of our species…free from the threat of asteroids, pandemics or nuclear war. Future Earthlings and these new Martians will be able to spread our species around the universe. Surely we should spend less time worrying about “saving the planet” and more about using its’ resource to help “save the humans”!

  53. The simple fact that the asteroid belt exists where it is, seems to be evidence that Jupiters orbit hasn’t changed much since its formation, It would take billions of years for a giant planet to ‘corral’ and trap random left over material from the solar system’s formation. The reason why there is a concentration of asteroids on the elliptic plane between mars and Jupiter is simply because it’s just a physically natural place where the slower outer planets motion and suns magnetic field and its motion dictates.

  54. TRG says: January 30, 2014 at 4:54 pm “Need to underline real in the first sentence.”

    Agreed! I recall news many years back that the total budget for a NASA program to catalog asteroid orbits with the potential for earth impact had been cut from something like $800 million down to $300 million. My fuzzy recollection was that, in order to accommodate the reduced funding, they increased the minimum size of asteroids that would qualify for orbit analysis to thus only identify the ones that would wipe out all life on earth and ignore smaller ones that would wipe out only, say, ~half of it…

    That reduction was likely done in favor of wasting a relatively tiny bit more money, (on top of the billions spent every year), on the thoroughly imagined threat of CAGW rather than studying a remote but real threat; the only kinds of threats that NASA should be studying anyway IMO.

  55. RoHa says: January 31, 2014 at 1:21 am “And if it natural, how is it a duty?”

    The #1 natural “duty” of life itself is to reproduce. Why denigrate one over another because of a difference in the means of achieving that aim? There is a collective intelligence stored in DNA to guide the means by which trees propagate; human consciousness for the same purpose is no less natural than a tree’s.

  56. In an infinite universe, everything will happen. In an infinite and eternal universe, everything will happen again and again. Probabilities are possibly slim for each event, but certain. Significant evidence now points to an infinite universe. Eternal, no one has much of an idea as far as I have read. Leif, I am sure, will correct me if I am wrong regarding recent evidence of the eternal universe.

    • @Jim G
      Theese speculations are not new, and research hardly has found out quite recently on theese things. Such doctrines and formulas are mostly nothing but traditional quackery and propaganda.

      The infinite and steady state universe or cycling universe of that kind cycling infinitely from eternity to eternity is,….hinduistic? Psevdo- hinduistic? Mad? Hardly very empirical? only just dreamt of…? ? ? ?

      Seek Giordano Bruno.

      Bruno was a monk of the Dominican order. He was obviously very clever and intelligent. And able to speculate in terms of the copernican system, but further of “billions” of such systems out there in the universe… Just look at all the stars.

      God told Abraham to go out and count the stars, and Abraham, allways obedient went out and did his very best bud had to give in. The stars of the real world …. are countless! SCRIPTVM EST.

      G. Bruno was quite obviously a quite “restive” character, quite unwilling to take any kind of orders and correctures, which is,….. dangerous if you have first submitted yourself to the Dominican order. Rules and regulations of that order is that you can be commanded by humans above you in the grades in the same order. He even went up to Calvin in Schweiz to meditate for a while, a fact that rather tells us that the conflict was very serious, Calvin being a declared anti-papist.

      well, he was tied up and burnt!

      Unluckily, because that was quite a loss to Humanity and to philosophy.

      Gallileo shortly after came to the conclusion that the burning of Giordano Bruno was…. erroreous and quite sinful. Because Bruno was quite obviously right on the Copernican system at least, See for yourself in the telescope……those 4 Medicinean stars going around Jupiter, apparenty even another Copernican system. But the holy inqvisition found that now there must be limits to Revoluytionibus in the universe,…and put Gallilei on trial and on INDEX LIBRORVM PROHIBITORVM and into house- arrest as usual for disobedient … orderly people.

      SIR Fred Hoyle also propagated the infinite steady state universe. And stands there with one leg only on the pedestal. He was beaten by George Gamovs big bang theory. But the true designer and creator of that theory is a recent belgian Jesuit Monk, a certain Lefevre, who will show up on Wikipedia. Wherefore the Pope has adapted and officially believs both in…. a lot of revolutionibus in the universe and in the Big Bang theory.

      Pastor Vojtyla from Krakov…. now to be spoken as a saint, … remembered as an irreclaimable Polak and Copernican….. stood up on the day (evening) of Lutheri reformation and spoke EX CATEDRA ( sitting in a sofa) that the case against Gallilei was erroreous, quite sinful, and deeply regrettable. On behalf of the Church and of all saints, and in all languages.

      All the satelites jumped twoo fingerwidths out of orbit just by the shock, and did rattle until midnight from it.

      Believe it or not.

  57. Sparks says:
    January 31, 2014 at 4:43 am
    The simple fact that the asteroid belt exists where it is, seems to be evidence that Jupiters orbit hasn’t changed much since its formation, It would take billions of years for a giant planet to ‘corral’ and trap random left over material from the solar system’s formation. The reason why there is a concentration of asteroids on the elliptic plane between mars and Jupiter is simply because it’s just a physically natural place where the slower outer planets motion and suns magnetic field and its motion dictates.

    On what data and calculations do you base the “billions of years” number?

    • @Geoff Withnell

      Very fine thank you.

      I have Bakers Astronomy from 1959 on it, and inside there Kuypers Protoplanet theory. Kuyper, the man with the belt. Kuyper in original according to Robert H.Baker, Ph.D.

      Kuyper, the man with the belt, builds on the Kant-Laplace theory of the origin of the system and updates that in an obviously scillful and conscistent way that brings it in order according to physical law and updated recent observation.

      Quite necessary for aspects and real properties such as Bodes law and other obvious and irreduceable pythagorean whole numeral properties and relations in the solar system is tidal forces of decisive kind between the planets, on which a Nicola Scafetta is frappingly uncritical and unqualified.

      . Whereas the very large and voluminous protoplanets of Kuyper can care for it.

      It is beyond the nature and property of newtonian gravitation to organize matter into coherent and whole mumeral form and bound orbit like the moon to the earth, and Charon to Pluto and Pluto to Charon and further Nix & Hydra in exact harmonical steps outward. The same with Jupiters moons. It obviously has organized the Harmonices Mundi- way as a resonant , disperged and coherent sound figure, and that takes more than newtonian gravitation, it takes microscopic molecular binding forces in addition. there must be friction and “drag” in the system, and what we see today is rather a fossile of such a system after it has settled and remaining dust & gases blown out and clean by the solar wind.

      It further takes Microscopic forces different from newtonian gravity, namely van der Waals forces that are of electromagnetic different from gravitational nature. It takes material molecular glue- or syrup forces in molecular matter. It takes friction! Even viscous friction. Able to damp mechanical moovement energy and convert it into heat, that can be radiated out and got rid of as electro- magnetic waves (Light and heat) it has to be able to “Run hot!” even red hot and higher, in order for it to “Fall into shape”

      That is also what we see in the meteorites. It obviously has ran quite hot!

      Large planets having mooved in and out is speculations very inferiour to Kant Laplace Kuypers levels of enlightment.

      That can be said for sure and for definite.

      A very important rule of science is that it somehow has to be “Naturally plausible” if you are out for giving a scientific explaination for it. God is no well formed formula in science. Neither is your political opinion. You better try and give it a natural explaination first, a proper research hypo- thesis that can be examined, falsified or verified empirically.

      On verification:

      Verification is also quite important in science. Be sure that you are awake first, for instance and not just dreaming. Check up if it is true.

      On discussing hockeysticks and eventual results and statements from the IPCC, care to show for yourself and for others and on objects and elements, away from the tense debate, that you are not a scientific illiterate. Else your eventual critical and “sceptic” opinions cannot be relied on. And quite especially not your eventual opinion about hockeystics and of the IPCC and of eventual ships with fools.

      = my very good advice to everyone including Anthony Watts.

      Look up Kuyper for instance, the man with the belt. That belt could later be found.

  58. Geoff Withnell says:
    January 31, 2014 at 8:50 am

    “On what data and calculations do you base the “billions of years” number? “

    How old are the asteroids in the asteroid belt?

    The Allende meteorite is measured to be 4.563 billion years old and other meteorites give similar ages. The oldest moon rocks are 4.45 billion years, and of the oldest Earth rocks, about 4 billion years.

  59. Sparks says:
    January 31, 2014 at 9:25 am
    Geoff Withnell says:
    January 31, 2014 at 8:50 am

    “On what data and calculations do you base the “billions of years” number? “

    How old are the asteroids in the asteroid belt?

    The Allende meteorite is measured to be 4.563 billion years old and other meteorites give similar ages. The oldest moon rocks are 4.45 billion years, and of the oldest Earth rocks, about 4 billion years.

    What does the age of the rocks have to do with how long it would take to “corral” them?
    What evidence do you have that they were not gathered in the last 500 million years?

  60. “Earth’s oceans is about 1.3 trillion cubic km” That’s a lot of 1 to 4 cubic kilometre asteroids of water. The idea that the oceans were brought to Earth after it formed by some sort of bombardment seems hardly credible.

    That the water comes from the rocks that formed planet Earth seems more likely, and perhaps this suggests how some of that water came to be in the first place.

    http://tallbloke.wordpress.com/2014/01/27/water-is-a-by-product-of-particle-space-weathering-by-the-solar-wind/

    • @all ladies and gentlemen here

      On Phobos being “captured” from the asteroide belt, that is a very important example.

      If nothing is damping and running hot, that stone would have traveled back and forth to where it came from. there is nothing in the law of newtonian gravity that can cause anything else. But running a bit hot will take from its E = 1/2 m V^2 energy and reduce that, and radiate that out and away electromagnetically. Thus if m remains stable, V will change.

      And in a systematic way such as to “round off” the orbit by things running hot.

      If a meteorite runs into the earth atmosphere, it runs very hot, it shines very bright, it even booms…and that stone is “Captured” and settled.

      Look at the Saturn rings, it is really very round and revolutionibus. It must have ran hot by material frictional forces to be grinded smooth and round that way. Elliptical moovement by Kepplers 1st law is “grinded” round by frictional action, scratching into material chemical bond forces. A silly fool from the ship here educates us that they can be ignored and neglected

      The particles in he Kuyper belt do not run in that very frappingly circular way, because it does not grind things round and hot so much out there. But there are clear tendencies of Harmonices mundi also out there. Many objects out there walk in step with Neptun on near musical accords.

      There is Beat and tone also in Neptuns Harem, you see.(“groove” you call it?)

      On water in the inner solar system:

      A Waste lot of CaSO4 . 2H2O is found on Mars. That substance “Gyps” or “Stucca” begin to decay and damping at about 100 Celsius, and gives off H2O in a very efficient exoterm reaction that cools….. at the temperatures when wood begin to decay and gas and burn.

      Thus Gyps and Stucca is a most efficient protection against fire in the houses., much better than metal, tiles rockwool, and asbestos, that does not cool by endotherm reaction when heated.

      At 200 C, Gyps it is “Burnt” to “Hemihydrate” (CaSO4)2 . H2O, and that is what you mix “Gyps” or Stucca from. It dissolves slightly in water and recristallises in an exoterm reaction, it runs warm during hardening, and solidifies as “gyps” CaSO4 . 2H2O

      heated further to abour 300 celsius or a bit higher , all H2O evacuates leaving sheere CaSO4. “Overburnt” and that again starts decaying at red hot. The sulphate is “fracking” further and at yellow hot you get CaO.

      H2SO4 SO2 + H2O +1/2O2 is going on, on Venus Sulphuric acid begins to “Crack” and evaporate at 380 celsius and at 460 it is fully cracked. The air is clear on the ground and the condensation level back to H2SO4 clouds is at 50 Km (?)

      Ca++ present stabilizes the sulphate ion a bit. But on mixing Silica with Gyps, SO3 goes off at 400 celsius.

      This is important in order to discuss also the sunscraper comets. What possibly gases and cools them?

      A waste lot of Gyps, CaSO4 .2H2O has also been found on the Moon. Under Vacuum at 1AU from the sun. Right under the grey dusty ground that protects it from the sunstitch.

      Thus, also discuss Sulphur in the inner solar system, not just more or less fossile carbon, and H2O more or less,….

      The thickness of the atmospere in Peking, whether it can be cut by knife or not,…. is straight proportional to the Mahuna Loa curve and to the Church and White curve.

      Thus, the thickness of situation in Peking is due to the burning of fossile sulphur also, and not only fossile carbon..

      thus we can discuss revolutionibus in the inner solar system.

      Gallilei being no more on INDEX LIBRORVM PROHIBITORVM. (proper Polish Copernicanism in St.Peters See could restore his reputation) and neither should Robert Boyle, the sceptical chemist, founder of The Royal Society with SIR Isaac Newton as the 1st precident.

      Both of them then took proper action against ADVLTERARE (= virtual reality and money) on behalf of the Royal treasury.

      I believe that you have a severe problem of ADVLTERARE in the USA in our days.

      “Nature and natures law lay hidden in darkness and night
      God said Let Newton be, and all was bright.” (William Blake)

      But Newton had to take som learnings also from the sceptical chemist for being efficient enough in court to get the experts to Tower and show them to their rights and to their duties there..

  61. Carbomontanus says:
    January 31, 2014 at 9:46 am
    @Jim G
    “Theese speculations are not new, and research hardly has found out quite recently on theese things. Such doctrines and formulas are mostly nothing but traditional quackery and propaganda”

    I am aware of that of which you speak, however there is, indeed, new information on the subject. Significantly more recent and more technologically sound than that which you cite.

    Please see:
    “Astrophysicists create the first accurate map of the universe: It’s very flat, and probably infinite”

    http://www.extremetech.com/extreme/174427-astrophysicists-create-the-first-accurate-map-of-the-universe-its-very-flat-and-probably-infinite

    • @Alan Roberttson

      There are some thumb- rules on how to make choises between theories and even paradigms also.

      V. van Orman Quine on Harward wrote “On simple theories in a complex world” and his argument was that we seem to preferre simplicity.

      “Simplicity works” is the fameous Dobson- doctrine, John Dobson, =the man with the foot or with the mount….. for home made Newtonian telescopes.

      That goes along with Occhams razor: ENTIA NON SUNT MULTIPLICANDEM PRÆTER NECESSITATEM!

      But people hardly do agree on what is simple, not even on what is reasonable.

      The Quine school of logics at Harward has also preached against paradoxes. There I have an article from Quine in Scientific American “On paradoxes” on PENSVM.

      I learnt quite recently from a native american student from Rhode Island that verbum “To Quine..” means to stand up at the congresses and talk a lot of things that people and young students quite especially….. are not interested in anymore.

      But I personally have a set of systematic learnings in order to orientate and be able to disqualify propaganda and expertise and sensational news from the research front as quicly as possible and rather pick up essencial news in a systematic and comprehensible way.

      Gen. Schwarzkoppfs Theorem at the war in the Gulf one was: “Yes, weve heard that, but we cannot build on it before we have it sustained by an independent source…next question pleace…?”

      Thus I say: In war and in love all is permitted. There you must doubble check. (like Schwarzkoppf did and won that war) But in civil life we must tripple- ceck. Check… doubble check…. check again..

      But then you rather should draw a conclusion and adjust.

      That is my very healthy thumb rule.

      One must check whether it is real and conscistent before one can set on it.

      And another very important rule: The rumors of thousands of peer rewiewed papers, or 100 doctors saying the same,… cannot be relied on because it does not rule out systematic errors.

      good statistics does not keep.

      Because all those 100 Doctors stand up in white coats and they are members of the Norwegian doctors labour union, who talks with one voice holding hands shoulder by shoulder.

      You should have a veterinarian on it also . Then you need only one doctor. Then if you are able to see and grasp it also for yourself, then you have 3 good reasons and ought to draw a conclusion and adjust.

      That is how to protect yourself or your procedure against systematic errors. =Quite basically important in life and in science.

      And my learnings to you all including Anthony Watts on criticism, scepticism, and realism.

  62. philjourdan says:
    January 31, 2014 at 10:18 am

    @MattS – Kind of like a lottery winner saying the odds are not too bad, as he only bought 10 tickets and one of them won the jackpot
    ==========================================================================

    If the only evidence he had was the 10 tickets he personally bought, that conclusion would be the only rational one. Of course it wouldn’t be true that the only evidence available to the lottery winner was his own tickets. However, it is true that our own solar system is the only evidence we have on planetary formation.

    My point was not that the odds are objectively good, but that they are unknown. Any statement that earth like planets are massively unlikely is not supportable by any available evidence.

    • @MattS – If you over analyze the analogy, it does fall apart (as do almost all analogies). I agree given WE reside in a habitable world, our perspective is 1 in 10. But the unknown is the stickler. Scientists are looking for planets in the “Goldilocks” zone, and extrapolating about the number of planets that could contain life. Yet there are aspects of our binary planet system that is unique in this solar system, and may be uncommon elsewhere that appear necessary for life to have evolved.

  63. Geoff Withnell says:
    January 31, 2014 at 8:50 am

    “What does the age of the rocks have to do with how long it would take to “corral” them?
    What evidence do you have that they were not gathered in the last 500 million years?”

    The logic behind knowing the age of the asteroids is that it proves the asteroids are as old as the solar system itself, asteroids are the leftover material from the formation of the solar system and have been orbiting the sun since then, the planets are slightly younger, as they were formed some of these asteroids became moons and over billions of years the influence of the longer orbits of the outer planets and the sun gently nudged them into the stable orbit they’re in today, any asteroid that didn’t end up in the void between Mars and Jupiter has either collided with the sun, another planet or have been thrown out of the solar system etc…

    Take Phobos for example, the larger of Mars’ two moons, we can measure its orbit very precisely and we know that it’s getting closer to Mars at a rate of 1.8 m every hundred years; at that rate, it will either crash into Mars in 50 million years or break up into a ring.

    Phobos is an asteroid captured from the asteroid belt, and the distance which Phobos was captured by mars’ can be calculated by working out how long it has taken Phobos to move to its current position from the time it was captured, this gives us an estimated time period when the asteroid belt existed which is billions of years ago, after the planets were formed.

    You can do the calculations for your self…
    Phobos’ current mean distance is 5826 miles (9380 km) from Mars.
    Phobos’ is moving toward Mars at a rate of 1.8 m every hundred years.

  64. First, we have yet to even solve the moon thing (how we got a moon apparently composed of earth materials), see here http://www.nature.com/news/planetary-science-lunar-conspiracies-1.14270 . This being the case, it is not surprising that we discover that what we thought we knew about our solar systems formation needs revision.

    Second, they bring up the old late bombardment theory again. Data, the oldest rocks we can be certain formed on early earth on it’s surface show that they were formed in the presence of liquid water, not just some of them, all of them. Conclusion, if that late heavy bombardment was too late, then it never happened, it would have to have happened before the earth cooled down enough for liquid water to form on it’s surface. The whole moon collision thing throws a monkey wrench into this, of course, since we do not know yet how that happened, and it would have had a great effect on the composition of the earths crust.

    My guess:
    Earth forms from various smaller bodies. Some, most, or even all of the water arrives at this time, in whatever form, with the original material.
    During this early formation, whatever odd thing caused the moon to spin off the earth happens.
    If there was any water bearing bombardment, it would have had to happen while the earth was still molten, possibly just after the whole moon thing.
    Earth and moon are now separate.
    Earth being red hot, water under it’s surface escapes from the interior as steam, and forms a thick blanket of clouds (plus volcanic ash etc it would be dark at the surface).
    Earth cools, rocks form, as does liquid water covering the entire surface, the clouds are a lot thinner so light is seen at the surface (no blue sky though).
    The crust cools more and eventually wrinkles, dry land appears, but that takes a while, as the rocks show.
    Life arrives and slowly changes the atmosphere to the blue sky we all know and love (except in California where we wish it would turn all dark and gray and drippy).

    The above seems the most likely considering the proof of liquid water in the formation of the earliest rocks at the surface. The only other possibility is the earth formed, was around for a little while, some collision occurred that formed the moon, and while the earth was molten from all that colliding, there was a late heavy bombardment. If that happened, it is little different than above, likely the earth would have still given off steam, both from it’s interior water and from interior water from asteroids plunging into it’s molten crust. I suppose the water bearing bombardment and whatever collision formed the moon could have happened in this disturbed, “snowglobe” period.

    The idea of a late heavy bombardment seems impossible given that earths oldest rocks show that they were formed in the presence of water. If there was a solid rock bearing earth with a bombardment afterward, some rock would be formed in that earlier, water free period, and we would have found them, and we have not.

    There is also the slight problem that if 99% of the earth material arrived first, what exactly kept the water away during that period? Were there water cops out there saying “no water allowed!”? And then, if something kept water away, why did it not still do so later? The chances are, if 99% of the earths material arrives, the chance of the earths water arriving with it appear to be, well, 99%. A late heavy bombardment simply brings unneeded complexity to the ideas of earths formation.

  65. Jim G says:
    January 31, 2014 at 12:52 pm

    Carbomontanus says:
    January 31, 2014 at 9:46 am
    @Jim G
    “Theese speculations are not new, and research hardly has found out quite recently on theese things. Such doctrines and formulas are mostly nothing but traditional quackery and propaganda”

    I am aware of that of which you speak, however there is, indeed, new information on the subject. Significantly more recent and more technologically sound than that which you cite.

    Please see:
    “Astrophysicists create the first accurate map of the universe: It’s very flat, and probably infinite”

    http://www.extremetech.com/extreme/174427-astrophysicists-create-the-first-accurate-map-of-the-universe-its-very-flat-and-probably-infinite

    ______________________
    As for the map, thanks for the link, but all prior iterations are vastly different and a sample of only 1.2 million galaxies is small. We may have entered a golden age of techno- maturity and such claims of certainty might be correct, but we’re so new at this that we can almost still smell the witches burning.
    I’m glad that you took it easy on Carbomontanus. At first, I thought he was noisy for being all over the place and now, I think he may only be a Jesuit.

  66. “The #1 natural “duty” of life itself is to reproduce.’

    It may be a “duty”, but is it a duty? And if so, why?

    “Why denigrate one over another because of a difference in the means of achieving that aim?’

    I’m not denigrating anything. I am saying that the unconscious, automatic, reproduction of trees on earth has no moral implications for human beings. It certainly does not imply that human beings have a duty to transplant human or any other sort of life outside the earth.

    “There is a collective intelligence stored in DNA”

    What do you mean by “intelligence”? I fear you are sliding from bad analogy to mere metaphor.

  67. Bennett In Vermont says:
    January 30, 2014 at 7:52 pm
    Gail Combs says: at 4:49 pm “Predators are generally smarter than prey….”
    But what if what we call humanity is only a 4 on a predatory scale of 10?
    There may be Kzin out there with a Payton Manning as QB.. How’s that for mixing cultural reference?

    Bennett,
    The Kzinamaratsoff brothers….. with +200 IQs?!
    “Nice kitty….”
    Mac

  68. Mac the Knife says:
    January 31, 2014 at 8:43 pm (replying to )

    Bennett In Vermont says:
    January 30, 2014 at 7:52 pm (who is replying to)

    Gail Combs says: at 4:49 pm “Predators are generally smarter than prey….”
    But what if what we call humanity is only a 4 on a predatory scale of 10

    Lettuce assume evolutionary theory – or at least parts of it – are correct.

    What then is the most successful predator?
    We have the cave bear (omnivore, big, heavily furred against the winter, long claws, big teeth (for when omniviving is not the only thing for supper!) , long arms and heavy shoulders, good nose, possibly modest long-distance eyesight, good reflexes, high speed in sprints….

    Dire wolf.
    Sabre-tooth tiger.
    North American lion.
    Hyena?
    Coyote?
    Mammoth and mastodon? Not really predators, but don’t get caught in a stampede.
    etc.

    Against those eminent predators, we have a baby infant girl.

    Pink, naked, no teeth, noisy and smelly, but can’t smell prey nor predators good. Can’t eat meat, not too good at plants, competes with the bear for what easy soft food is between 2 inches and 12 inches off of the ground. Can’t talk and won’t listen. Can’t fight. Can’t even do much biting. No claws. Modest eyesight, might be near or far-sighted in fact. Can’t run, walk or crawl. No throwing, kicking, nor even stamping-of-the-feet as weapons.

    Now Janice, pamela, and Gail: Which of these is supreme predator based on the last 12,000 years of history? The sabre-tooth tiger, the lion or panther or the dire wolf or cave bear? Or the little bitty infant? (Or is the supreme predator across the globe and through history and biology, not the infant naked girl, but her mother and father?)

  69. J Martin says:
    January 31, 2014 at 12:10 pm

    “Earth’s oceans is about 1.3 trillion cubic km” That’s a lot of 1 to 4 cubic kilometre asteroids of water. The idea that the oceans were brought to Earth after it formed by some sort of bombardment seems hardly credible.

    That the water comes from the rocks that formed planet Earth seems more likely, and perhaps this suggests how some of that water came to be in the first place.

    http://tallbloke.wordpress.com/2014/01/27/water-is-a-by-product-of-particle-space-weathering-by-the-solar-wind/

    It’s interesting theory.
    But generally it’s thought the 1.3 trillion cubic km of water Earth’s ocean came mostly from Earth via volcanic activity and large amount coming via impactors.
    Or since Earth formed from impactors all of Earth water came formation of Earth and subsequent
    accumulation of impactors [so that would include the Mars size body that hit proto-earth, which formed the Earth and the Moon about 4.5 billion years ago [according Giant impact hypothesis:
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Giant_impact_hypothesis ].
    It’s considered that receive usually high rate impactor up until about 3.8 billion years ago.
    Or Mars size impactor occurred during a period which all inner planet were forming into the planets they are today. Or different way to say this is that it took up 3.8 billion years ago for inner planet to remove most bodies in their region. Whereas it’s consider in region of our gas gaint, these bodies clear there around them in shorter period of time. Or it’s thought jupiter fromed most of mass within about 100 million years since the interstellar gas will form the Sun stared to collapse and our Sun mass grew and created the gravity well which currently dominates our solar system..
    If our gas giants took longer than 100 million year, it’s unlikely they took as much 1 billion years.
    In comparison our system beyond Pluto/Neptune [beyond all the known gas giants] has not gone thru this “clearing out of the region”. Or beyond gas giants, most of matter does not lie along Solar equator or disc, so it’s more spherical than disk shaped.
    So beyond the gas giants- so Kuiper belt and beyond to Oort Cloud, bodies more like they were before before came together forming planets.
    Or:
    “The Kuiper Belt extends from about 30 to 55 AU and is probably populated with hundreds of thousands of icy bodies larger than 100 km (62 miles) across and an estimated trillion or more comets.”

    http://solarsystem.nasa.gov/planets/profile.cfm?Object=KBOs&Display=OverviewLong

    Of course far more than hundreds thousand of icy bodies less 100 km or or say less 10 km in diameter.
    And also from above link::
    “The object (2003VB12), since named Sedna for an Inuit goddess who lives at the bottom of the frigid Arctic ocean, approaches the sun only briefly during its 10,500-year solar orbit. It never enters the Kuiper Belt, whose outer boundary region lies at about 55 AU — instead, Sedna travels in a long, elliptical orbit between 76 and nearly 1,000 AU from the sun. Since Sedna’s orbit takes it to such an extreme distance, its discoverers have suggested that it is the first observed body belonging to the inner Oort Cloud.”
    And though haven’t seen them yet there is a lot other objects in the Oort Clouds

    So Earth has very high density, and earth core has very little water in it. So basically if there 1% content of things which formed Earth, Earth’s core water has moved upward to surface.
    Or Earth mass is 5.97 x 10^24
    It’s water is 1.4 x 10^21 kg.
    Or took 1/2 mass of earth which had average of 1% water, and reduced this percent to 1/2%
    then water removed is far more than mass of our oceans.
    so some large percentage of water is out gases from volcanoes [as current volcanoes do]
    and maybe 10-20% or came from later accumulation of impacting bodies- whether as big as 50 km in diameter or “dust” size.

  70. RACookPE1978 says:
    January 31, 2014 at 9:12 pm
    …..Or is the supreme predator across the globe and through history and biology, not the infant naked girl, but her mother and father?

    RACookPE1978,
    On this planet, mankind is the climax predator. We did not ‘claw’ our way to the top…no. Through thousands of generations of smart hominids surviving and their less smart and less genetically ‘lucky’ siblings getting killed off, we evolved, learned to make increasingly complex tools, and thought/fought our way to the top.

    Now, we take our first toddling steps off the doorstep of the home planet. We will not continue to evolve, to ‘retain the title’, without continual challenges that exceed our abilities… and force us to learn or die. Our horizon is the orbit of Mars and beyond lie the asteroids, gas giants, on out to the Oort Cloud…..

    Shall we set sail on those seas? Surely, ‘there be dragons’.

    There are always ‘dragons’, yet still we must go. It’s what we do.
    Mac

  71. The article’s theory has a Jupiter sized hole in it, alright.

    Exactly what could give Jupiter an orbit near Mars’ current elliptical orbital _without eating Mars_? Hell, all the inner planets!

    And exactly what would circularize Jupiter to the current elliptical orbit _without destroying/destabilizing Mars_?

    By my count that looks like not one, but two, very improbable events.

  72. Alan Robertson says:
    “I’m glad that you took it easy on Carbomontanus. At first, I thought he was noisy for being all over the place and now, I think he may only be a Jesuit.”

    I have a close friend who is a Jesuit. When I met him (he was in civilian clothes) and he somewhere in the conversation indicated he was a Jesuit, I exclaimed, “Oh, a heretic!” and he laughed at length. I knew I had a new friend. I shall forward your comment to him.

    • @ Jim G and A Robertson

      So you take me for a Jesuit. What a compliment but nothing could be farther from it. You are obviously poor on geography.

      The Jesuits have been forbidden in the Danish-Norwegiann empire ever since Lutheri reformation, and forbidden again by our fameous constitution of 1814 to be commemorated in 2014. The ban was first lifted in 1956 when some hungarian Jesuits had to be taken care of as refugees.

      What I have in positive memory from them is that they secured the Imperial Chineese astronomical observatory cronicles for mankind. But they were accused from European side for having became heretics, having learnt Chineese, and having dressed up in Mandarine costumes and for not having carried out their mission.

      Even more important for us perhaps is the story of Athanasius Kircher, a very fameous bluff maker and spindoctor in most luxurious Vatican editions, against not only Gallilei but also Christiaan Huyghens` discovery of Titan and right understanding of the physical nature of Saturns rings. plus fraud of having cracked the code of the hieroglyphs, and sheere phantacy and fraud of acoustics and geophysics.

      Because of their very fameous sins, they were banned and forbidden about 1770, their order dissolved by the Pope.

      Which cannot be true, because in 1786 (?) at the Venus passage, The University of Copenhagen needed trained astronomers to go to Vardø to the midnight sun, as Captain Cook went to Tahiti on the other side of the globe to see it from there, on behalf of the British Empire.

      The university of Copenhagen may have asked at the Imperial Charles IV university of Praha at the imperial observatory there, because that is where Tyco Brahe went in order to teach them behaviours and astronomy. But in the meantime the imperial observatory had been mooved to Wien.

      Wien then only had….. 2 Jesuits…. to send. a certain Maximillianus Hell and his Hungarian Jesuit comrade. Both will be found on Wikipedia.

      The King was in charge so he could make DISPENSATIONE for just 2 Jesuits.

      They came to Copenhagen by horse, and went by sailboat to Christiania and there by Horse further to Nidaros, to Bishop Gunnerus of Nidaros , who surely examined their beliefs, and confirmed them thorroughly on what to do and what not to do in the Nidaros Bishop see Area.

      Because if you do that up there, the Natives are known to throw you to sea!

      Bishop Gunnerus, a quite strong bishop, had founded the Royal Norwegian society of sciences some years earlier.

      The 2 poor Jesuits went by sailboat further up the coast with a lot of seasickness and landed in Vardø to hibernate there for the winter, and set up their observatory on the castle.

      They were kind enough to bring with them some bottles of wine and rasins and some chocolate and tea. The rest could then be served from the side of Vardø very fine. Wild grouse, reindeer, codfish, Rubus chamæmorus and arcticus,..and crabs and mussles of best sort. Even vegetables such as , Angelicum archangelicum, Cocleare officinalis, and Allium oleraceum.

      The hungarian companian is the one who discovered the finnish- hungarian languages, being able to talk with the finns and the lapps in the Varanger Fjord.

      Hell & al having both TELESCOPIVM and HOROLOGIVM OSCILLATORIVM in their OBSERVATORIVM were lucky to get observations of the in an out of Venus quite exactly on the clock and by telescope even with clouds in between.

      On the midnight sun in Vardø.

      Which is needed rather precisely for calculating 1AU together with Captain Cook on Tahiti. The size of the earth then enables possible trigonometry. Exact orbit proportions being given then by Keppler and Newtonian law.

      Hell & al. came from it with very good notes,

      They were said to be good guys and they had “not been trying to missionize”., which was strictly forbidden for them. (But can it be done any better?)

      Datum Sign! by the Vardø Fort Colonel Commander, to the King.

      Conclusion:

      That dissolvement of the Jesuit order must be taken with a grain of salt CVM GRANVM SALIS……

      They may have been installed behind thick Urban Walls of the URBI & ORBI type, and with bars to atone for their very fameous sins, and to meditate.. And then let out for atonement in the free…. in “Civil service”…. at the Imperial Observatory in Wien for instance .

      Thus they came even to Gunnerus in Nidaros and to Vardø. And what has possibly enabled a Moravian and a Hungarian and those people up there north of Copenhagen to talk with each other in any efficient way all the way must have been the Spiritus Sanctus with them all.

      This is not my “table” or faculty or department.

      But I know that by submitting to such an order, you lie down flat with your nose down and bottoms up and arms out and promise for eternity, and promise to God, not even to the Pope.

      So if the Pope happens to be sober for a while, he will understand that he is not in charge to lift or to break any such promise for people.

      Hopefully he has understood that at least.

      The pope officially re- founded the jesuit order in 1814, and since then it seems that they could behave.

  73. Carbomontanus,

    What this article says about this new observational asteroid census data is best summed up in these two sentence fragments:

    1) “…rogue asteroids are actually more common than previously thought.”

    and

    2) “…everything’s been moved around a lot and the solar system has been very dynamic.”

    Everything else appears to be pure guess work without sound scientific analysis and testing of theoretical models against this observed asteroid census data.

    To mix metaphors, it appears that the underpinnings of “Gradualism” in geological and local astronomic science has just taken a “catastrophic impact.”

  74. Warning: Sarc Alert!!!/

    “Voice Of God: Before the Beginning there was this Turtle. And the Turtle was alone. And he looked around, and he saw his neighbor, which was his Mother. And he lay down on top of his neighbor, and behold, she bore him in tears, an oak tree. Which grew all day, and then fell over, like a bridge. And lo, under the bridge there came a Catfish, and he was very big, and he was walking, and he was the biggest he had seen. [Fading] And so were the firey [sic] balls of this fish, one of which is the Sun, and the other, they called the Moon…

    Expert Voice: Yes, some uncomplicated peoples still believe this myth. But here, in the technical vastness of the Future, we can guess that surely the Past was very different. We can surmise, for instance, that these two great balls… [Cross fading]

    Dr. Technical [fading up]: We know for certain, for instance, that for some reason, for some time in the beginning, there were hot lumps. Cold and lonely, they whirled noiselessly through the black holes of space. Those insignificant lumps came together to form the first union—our Sun, the heating system. And about this glowing gasbag rotated the Earth, a cat’s-eye among aggies, blinking in astonishment across the Face of Time…

    We were covered with a molten scum of rock, bobbing on the surface like rats. Later, when there was less heat, these giant rock groups settled down among the land masses. During this extinct time, our earth was like a steam room – and no one, not even man, could get in. However, the oceans and the sewers were simmering with a rich protein stew and the mountains moved in to surround and protect them. They didn’t know then that living, as we know it, was already taken over.

    Animals without backbones hid from each other, or fell down. Clambasaurs and oysterettes appeared as appetizers – then came the sponges, which sucked up about 10 percent of all life. Hundreds of years later, in the late Devouring Period, the fish became obnoxious. Trailerbites, Chickerbites, and Mosqwitoes collided aimlessly in the dense gas. Finally, tiny edible plants sprang up in rows – giving birth to generations of insecticides and other small, dying creatures.

    Millions of months passed and, 28 days later, the moon appeared. This small change was reflected best, perhaps, in the sand dollar, which shrank to almost nothing in the bottom of the pool. Where even dumb amphibians like catfish laid their eggs in the boiling waters, only to be gobbled up every 3 minutes by the giant sea orphans (which scared everybody).

    And so, in fear and hot water, man is born:

    “I am La Brea man, I am first man – wife and I live in pits. I discover pain and boredom and how to use hands in self-defense.”

    “I am his son, I am called Plow Man – I was the first to dig the earth and make the rivers run backwards. There was no stopping me.”

    “I am his many cousins – I chip the stone. I smelt the rock. I lay the asphalt. Together, we made enough noise to keep the wolves awake.”

    “I am his godson, Civilized Man. I harnessed the secret of the calendar and the power of the wig to build the pyramids.”

    “I am his mentor, Hypocricies. I put him through school, where he learned to stand up for a principle and sit down on his own stool.”

    “I am his father, Caesarian. I sent him away from home for something to live on and paid him to fight over it.”

    So now, everywhere he went, man dropped a great load of knowledge – forming a rich compost where slumbered the modifying spark of humanity.”
    Sarc off/
    Transcribed from radio theater.
    Firesign Theater- 1971, “I Think We Are All Bozos On This Bus”

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