Sunday, June 24, 2012

Yes, but How did Earth get nudged into a new zip code? Planet pinball!

Big Scientific Problem: "Common theories of stellar evolution predict that the sun was only 70 percent of its current brightness when it first lit its fusion engine 4.5 billion years ago. The sun has been steadily growing brighter since then and will continue so into the future, eventually evaporating away Earth's oceans.

"Once Earth amassed an ocean 4.3 billion years ago it should have quickly frozen over and reflected so much sunlight back into space that it squelched Earth's ability to thaw out for billions of years.

"The dilemma, called the "faint young sun paradox," has been know about since the 1950s and was popularized by Carl Sagan. Geochemists and solar physicists have wrestled for answers all these years.

"Lowering Earth's reflectivity by reducing cloud cover doesn't work. Models also show that a greenhouse effect from dense carbon dioxide and methane can't warm the Earth enough either. In some simulations, methane and carbon dioxide combine to make a photochemical smog that would have chilled Earth even further.

"Now, David Minton of Purdue University has come up with a novel solution that, by his own admission, straddles science fact and fiction. Minton proposes that Earth was closer to the sun when it formed and then migrated outward to its current orbit. To keep Earth tepid under a cooler sun, our planet would have needed to have been roughly 6 million miles (9.7 million kilometers) closer to the sun than it is today.

OK, now the really hard part...

"But how do you nudge Earth into a new zip code? The most plausible model, out of several other unlikely mechanisms that were only present in the very young solar system, is a gravitational billiard ball game called planet-planet scattering.

"The challenge is that this effect would have had to have dragged out over one or two billion years. Even more problematic is that for this musical chairs game to work at all, one more terrestrial planet is need in the inner solar system. And, it's a big one at that, ranging between the mass of Mars and Venus.

"The unlucky "odd planet out" would have wound up falling into the sun, being ejected from the solar system, or crashing into another terrestrial planet.

Dr. David Minton.
"This isn't too far-fetched in that the solar system is fundamentally chaotic, says Minton. "Solar systems don't know if they are going to be stable for billions of years." Minton says that the best dynamical computer simulation for relocating Earth has a rogue plant that is 75 percent Earth's mass smashing into Venus -- in the ultimate planetary pinball game of "three's a crowd." This would have happened in as little as 2 or 3 billion years ago. Earth got kicked out into its present orbit as a consequence."

Marko comments:

Wow, isn't it amazing what scientists come up with these days! The only problem is, there is no experiment they can conduct to test this idea ... so this is not "Science".

When will scientists admit that there is no purely "natural" answer to the universe? All things point to a Creator, just as the Bible tells us to look for.

(excerpts from Ray Villard, Was Earth a Migratory Planet? Discovery News, April 18, 2012)