Beta
×

Welcome to the Slashdot Beta site -- learn more here. Use the link in the footer or click here to return to the Classic version of Slashdot.

Thank you!

Before you choose to head back to the Classic look of the site, we'd appreciate it if you share your thoughts on the Beta; your feedback is what drives our ongoing development.

Beta is different and we value you taking the time to try it out. Please take a look at the changes we've made in Beta and  learn more about it. Thanks for reading, and for making the site better!

How Water Forms in Interstellar Space at 10K

CmdrTaco posted more than 6 years ago | from the just-drink-a-lot-of-beer dept.

Space 270

KentuckyFC writes "Water is the most abundant solid material in space. But although astronomers see it on planets, moons, in comets and in interstellar clouds, nobody has been able to show how it forms. In theory, it should form easily when oxygen and atomic hydrogen meet. The problem is that there is not enough of it floating around as gas in interstellar dust clouds. So instead, the thinking is that water must form when atomic hydrogen interacts with frozen solid oxygen on the surface of dust grains in these clouds. Now Japanese astronomers have demonstrated this process for the first time in the lab in conditions that simulate interstellar space. That's cool because all the water in the solar system, including almost every drop you drink on Earth today, must have formed in exactly this way more than 5 billion years ago in a pre-solar dustcloud (abstract)."

cancel ×

270 comments

Sorry! There are no comments related to the filter you selected.

5 billion years ago ? (-1, Offtopic)

Daas (620469) | more than 6 years ago | (#23300206)

Isn't the universe like 6000 years old ? Oh, and earth really is flat.

Re:5 billion years ago ? (0, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#23300236)

Why is everyone so hung up on this? Why does every article that has anything remotely to do with cosmology or biology have a huge thread about this bullshit? Get over it.

Re:5 billion years ago ? (1)

The Spoonman (634311) | more than 6 years ago | (#23301336)

Because despite the wealth of evidence to the contrary, the creationists have reared their ugly, hatefilled heads again and are trying to tear society back into the dark ages where their brand of amusement was most popular. We have a moron for a president who actually believes "the jury's still out on evolution". Imagine! It's the 21st century and a world leader of an industrialized nation actually believes there's not enough evidence of evolution to make a valid case!

Enough is enough, it's time to take back reality from the delusional. Will posts on slashdot make a difference? No, but with all of the headway the delusional are making these days, it's nice to know there are still sane, rational people out there, too.

I, personally, will not get over it. Too much progress has been made despite christianity's best efforts to hold it back, I refuse to let them regain any ground.

Re:5 billion years ago ? (0, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#23300238)

Isn't the universe like 6000 years old?
Blasphemy!!

Yrs. truly,

Richard Dawkins

Re:5 billion years ago ? (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#23300582)

Looks like some mods need to have their "funny" discriminator calibrated.

Re:5 billion years ago ? (4, Insightful)

ShieldW0lf (601553) | more than 6 years ago | (#23300324)

The more we learn, the more obvious it becomes that life, far from being a unique or rare thing in the universe, is actually an inevitable natural process, and will consistently and repeatedly erupt under environmental conditions that are actually very common across the universe.

Re:5 billion years ago ? (2, Funny)

Thanshin (1188877) | more than 6 years ago | (#23300372)

The more we learn, the more obvious it becomes that life, far from being a unique or rare thing in the universe, is actually an inevitable natural process, and will consistently and repeatedly erupt under environmental conditions that are actually very common across the universe.
The known theory of Dupe'R'Us.

Re:5 billion years ago ? (1)

vertinox (846076) | more than 6 years ago | (#23300726)

The more we learn, the more obvious it becomes that life, far from being a unique or rare thing in the universe, is actually an inevitable natural process, and will consistently and repeatedly erupt under environmental conditions that are actually very common across the universe.

Its not unlikely that life is common, but as far as we can tell is that intelligent life may be very rare or at least it tends to die out before or after some planet ending disaster like meteor impacts, super volcanoes, and cosmic rays.

If we view that natural selection is the ultimate process of determine which species will invariably live or go extinct then the only species that will survive over time is one that becomes intelligent enough or biologically capable enough to avoid, minimize, or just survive such disasters.

Hell for all we know the cockroaches descendants might outlive us due to the fact the might be able to survive meteor impacts and then go on to have a space faring species that travel on rocks colonizing planets over time.

Re:5 billion years ago ? (1)

HarvardAce (771954) | more than 6 years ago | (#23301198)

Hell for all we know the cockroaches descendants might outlive us due to the fact the might be able to survive meteor impacts and then go on to have a space faring species that travel on rocks colonizing planets over time.
Hell, for all we know the cockroaches have already done this, which is how they ended up on earth!

Re:5 billion years ago ? (0, Offtopic)

Planesdragon (210349) | more than 6 years ago | (#23300732)

The more we learn, the more obvious it becomes that life, far from being a unique or rare thing in the universe, is actually an inevitable natural process...
So far we have ONLY found life on one planet-- a planet that has liquid water, a single moon relatively large compared to the planet's mass, active volcanic and tectonic activity, a strong magnetosphere, and an active weather system.

While we have theorized that not all of those are needed, the truth is that we haven't found so much as a single primitive cell anywhere else. And we haven't found one single location in the entire universe with all five save for our home planet.

Re:5 billion years ago ? (4, Funny)

TheMeuge (645043) | more than 6 years ago | (#23300980)

So far we have ONLY found life on one planet-- a planet that has liquid water, a single moon relatively large compared to the planet's mass, active volcanic and tectonic activity, a strong magnetosphere, and an active weather system.

While we have theorized that not all of those are needed, the truth is that we haven't found so much as a single primitive cell anywhere else. And we haven't found one single location in the entire universe with all five save for our home planet.
You sound like a seasoned explorer of space, who has spent countless years braving the depths of interstellar space, visited hundreds of remote star systems, only to be faced with disappointment time after time.

I really feel for you.

/sarcasm

The kind of a claim you're making is even more of a hyperbole than claiming that there are no mexicans working in the kitchens of New York City restaurants, because you haven't seen one in Dubai.

Re:5 billion years ago ? (1)

Tychon (771855) | more than 6 years ago | (#23301178)

Good thing we've still got 10^22 more stars to check out, eh?

Re:5 billion years ago ? (1)

Mr_Magick (996141) | more than 6 years ago | (#23301186)

So far we have ONLY found life on one planet--
We also lack the ability to see any such planets in any other system besides our own. Right now our best telescopes can only see Jupiter sized extra solar planets. As we have only one system to look within for another Earth like planet, and we have not found one, your statements fall short of being a definitive truth on the matter of life on other planets with Earth like conditions.

While we have theorized that not all of those are needed, the truth is that we haven't found so much as a single primitive cell anywhere else. And we haven't found one single location in the entire universe with all five save for our home planet.
I submit that this is true. However, if you see my above comment you will see that I will keep an open mind on the matter until such time as we have found and explored a number of non-Sol system planets with Earth like conditions.

Re:5 billion years ago ? (1)

vajaradakini (1209944) | more than 6 years ago | (#23301246)

Oh yes, we haven't found any other life anywhere else. Given that we can only really look closely at a couple dozen worlds (counting some moons) and we have only actually put probes on less than a handfull of them. There couldn't possibly be life anywhere else in our solar system [wikipedia.org] , let alone the rest of our galaxy [iastate.edu] or the universe.

Clearly this makes life extremely rare and unlikely to be observed elsewhere.

Re:5 billion years ago ? (1)

MozeeToby (1163751) | more than 6 years ago | (#23300760)

If life is inevitable then that is actually very scary for the future of the human race. Think about it, everything we have seen of the cosmos seems to indicate we're alone. SETI has heard nothing, astronomers have yet to find a dyson sphere, and most worrying there is no evidence of Von Nueman probes (self replicating probes could colonize every solar system in the galazy in about 100 million years).

There is a Great Filter somewhere before a species reaches interstellar intelligence. If we are lucky, the Filter is behind us; life could be extreamly dificult to start, multicellular organizms on earth may have been a fluke, intelligence a freak occurance. The other option is that the Great Filter is still to be met; nanotechnological disaster, nuclear/biological war, environmental disaster.

I used to think that intelligence was inevitable in a galaxy the size of ours but if it were there would be evidence of them. The distances are incredibly huge but the time-spans are even more so. If humanity survives the next ten thousand years, I believe we will be well on our way to putting a probe in every solar system in the Galaxy. Send out a single probe, when it reaches its destination it builds ten copies of itself and sends them out. It isn't that hard, NASA drew up rough plans for it decades ago and I'm confident the plans will be viable within my lifetime.

If life is inevitable, why aren't there any visitors in our neighborhood? There are many theoretical answers to that question but the only compelling one to me is that we are alone.

Re:5 billion years ago ? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#23301272)

Since we are not classified as fully intelligent life by the Galactic Coalition, and are not classified as a safe food product by the GCFA, we are mostly ignored. However, there have been reports that many of the sub-species called "drunken rednecks" have been abducted and put through lab testing such as port probing, etc. despite the ban on such processes established under the Galactic Protocol on Treatment of Lower Life Forms for Scientific Study (sub-paragraph 81e on semi-intelligent life forms). In particular, the rougue groups who practice the port probing techniques have claimed that this does not fit the standard of "punishment" or "torture" outlined in sub-paragraph 81f, and therefore is permissible.

Re:5 billion years ago ? (1)

digitrev (989335) | more than 6 years ago | (#23301278)

Just because life is inevitable doesn't mean it's happened elsewhere yet.

Re:5 billion years ago ? (2, Funny)

boneclinkz (1284458) | more than 6 years ago | (#23300518)

When will people realize that it is okay to be a young earth Creationist and still believe in science. The Darwinists have things mostly right, it's just that God created the Universe 6000 years ago and made it APPEAR to be much older. Time, as we observe it, is directly controlled by God and as such he can manipulate it to be anything He wills.

If that is true (1, Insightful)

spun (1352) | more than 6 years ago | (#23300608)

When will people realize that it is okay to be a young earth Creationist and still believe in science. The Darwinists have things mostly right, it's just that God created the Universe 6000 years ago and made it APPEAR to be much older. Time, as we observe it, is directly controlled by God and as such he can manipulate it to be anything He wills.
Then fuck God. Fuck Him right in the ear. Because he's a sick fuck who won't allow his creations to perceive the truth about their origins, who deliberately set out to deceive us, and I will NEVER worship a sick son of a bitch like that.

Re:If that is true (2, Insightful)

Planesdragon (210349) | more than 6 years ago | (#23300826)

Then fuck God. Fuck Him right in the ear. Because he's a sick fuck who won't allow his creations to perceive the truth about their origins, who deliberately set out to deceive us, and I will NEVER worship a sick son of a bitch like that.
?

You, ah, DO realize that God told us all of this, far before we could understand it, right?

Complaining about apparent nuance in the deity's creation is kind of like complaining that your stoner parents are straight-laced professionals now, even though they tell you they were stoners whenever you ask.

I could tell you how easy it is to reconcile the six-day creation with the universe's apparent age without the introduction of deception, but you've obviously made a religious choice to be atheist, and nothing I can say would dissuade you from that.

Instead, how about the gospel in 26 words? "God exists, He loves you, and even though you probably deserve to go to hell, He's willing to let you off if you love Him back."

Re:If that is true (4, Interesting)

spun (1352) | more than 6 years ago | (#23300986)

I do not give in to terrorists. Someone who loved me wouldn't send me to eternal punishment for finite transgressions. An infinite and all powerful creator God can not desire anything, for being all powerful and infinite they have everything they could want before they want it.

I'm not an Atheist, I'm Agnostic. It's just that, if the Christians are correct out of all the myriad beliefs, I would rather go to hell than submit to an insane terrorist God, which is what the God of the Christians looks like to me, from their own description of him.

Re:If that is true (-1, Troll)

Artuir (1226648) | more than 6 years ago | (#23301038)

Most of the people here have better things to do than participate in the grand delusions you call religion. Go back to sleep and leave the intelligent discussion to the adults.

atheist? (4, Interesting)

Animaether (411575) | more than 6 years ago | (#23301054)

I'm curious - why must he be an atheist if he rejects the idea of a God that would leave people in an apparent state of deception (from GP poster's point of view)?

He could just as easily believe in a different God, or multiple Gods, or etc. which to him/her is truthful in every way.

Or he could be agnostic, saying that there may very well be a God, or multiple gods, but that he doesn't believe that the God described in OP is the kind of God he would choose to believe in.

--

As for the 26 words... I know human beings more benevolent and loving like that. I, for one, don't need the love of a random stranger in order for me to help them in any which way I can if I concern myself with their person. Put differently, from the perspective of somebody who were not to believe in 'God', what would 'God' have done for them that would have him deserve their love? On the up side - those who don't believe in God typically don't believe in Hell and all that, and probably couldn't care less about what God thinks and demands, as it becomes a moot issue.

Re:If that is true (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#23301094)

Is it a religious choice to choose to not believe in Santa Clause or the Tooth Fairy? No. Nore is it a religious choice to not to believe in claims without sufficient evidence.

Re:If that is true (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#23301234)

... and even though you probably deserve to go to hell ...

Haha! If there was a creator of everything then he/she created the concept of "deserve" and he/she created "hell" and he/she created you deserving to go hell.

So just do us all a favor, shutup and go already!

However (0, Offtopic)

spun (1352) | more than 6 years ago | (#23301244)

Would you please stop modding Planesdragon down for defending his beliefs? That's just crass.

Re:If that is true (1)

drawfour (791912) | more than 6 years ago | (#23301264)

I could tell you how easy it is to reconcile the six-day creation with the universe's apparent age without the introduction of deception,
Then please, enlighten us.

Re:If that is true (1)

amRadioHed (463061) | more than 6 years ago | (#23301324)

You, ah, DO realize that God told us all of this, far before we could understand it, right?
The parent was responding to someone saying that the creation story is literally true and not a simplified story for primitive people.

And no, I didn't realize that god wrote Genesis. Was he a Sumerian folklorist?

Re:If that is true (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#23300984)

Your arguement is pretty flimsy there.

If you believe that the Bible is saying the Universe was created 6000 years ago, then you believe God did leave very clear indications of our origins in Genesis, which is where that idea came from.

I have no idea how your shitty logic got modded +5 insightful.

Re:If that is true (1, Insightful)

spun (1352) | more than 6 years ago | (#23301080)

Right. God left clear indications in a book which he neglected to make available to 99% of the population. Then he made light in transit from galaxies billions of light years away, buried dinosaur bones, futzed with radioactive decay, and did a bunch of other crap specifically to make it look like the world is billions of years old. But hey, he gave that book explaining it all in cryptic language to a few people in the Middle East, so all that lying and deception is okay.

Re:5 billion years ago ? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#23300660)

That is such a blatant rationalization, I don't know how you guys can't see past it.

Where were all the people claiming that "God Time" worked on a different scale before we discovered the true age of the Universe?

Re:5 billion years ago ? (1, Offtopic)

Planesdragon (210349) | more than 6 years ago | (#23300884)

Where were all the people claiming that "God Time" worked on a different scale before we discovered the true age of the Universe?
The same place the scientists were?

No, really. For hundreds of years the scientific notion was that the universe had always existed, and the idea of a "beginning" to the planet--let alone the cosmos--was just religious claptrap.

And if you want to get really specific, the concept that time is a fluid construct of your local frame of reference pre-dates serious scientific discussion as to the begining of the universe.

(Of course, if you're willing to prove me wrong, and can dig up a reference to "god-time" before the Big Bang theory, I'd love to hear it.)

Re:5 billion years ago ? (4, Insightful)

Dog-Cow (21281) | more than 6 years ago | (#23300676)

A better question is when will people realize that the Bible never specifies the date of creation. Only idiots take the story literally.

So if you can't take it literally... (1, Insightful)

Animaether (411575) | more than 6 years ago | (#23300946)

...and it is a 'story'... then would you agree to call 'The Bible' a work of fiction?

Re:So if you can't take it literally... (0, Offtopic)

digitrev (989335) | more than 6 years ago | (#23300998)

Not fiction, but an allegory and analogy designed to explain to early people the history regarding their existence. The fact is, simpler stories on short time scales tended to work well because the human brain has a hard time with large numbers. A day is just long enough for you when your life expectancy is ~30 years.

Re:So if you can't take it literally... (0, Offtopic)

Animaether (411575) | more than 6 years ago | (#23301130)

So now that humankind is capable of dealing with large numbers and such quite easily (and I think it's odd to think that civilization back then would have a hard time understanding 'billions of years' but nodded at 'and the water turned into wine' as if that was perfectly reasonable), is there any edition of The Bible (presumably unofficial) that has everything re-written in the "what it meant to say, but us puny humans wouldn't have understood back in the day, is ..."?

To hook into your sibling poster's comment... a presumably 'non-fictional' work, that indeed could be taken literally (whether the statements within be true or false left aside)?

Re:So if you can't take it literally... (1)

sumdumass (711423) | more than 6 years ago | (#23301032)

A story doesn't have to be a work of fiction. There are biographies that tell the story of someone's life, in courts, witnesses tell their stories and so on. Actually, if you check, there is an entire section of most if not all libraries devoted to true stories.

I'm not going to comment on whether the bible is true or fiction, certainly some of it is true but Hollywood has shown us that even with elements of the truth, it can still be fiction. But the nature of a Story doesn't make anything Fiction or fictitious in nature.

Re:5 billion years ago ? (0, Offtopic)

BountyX (1227176) | more than 6 years ago | (#23301230)

Based upon the genealogy of the patriarchs as contained in Scripture, once one has determined the date of the Exodus of the Israelites from Egypt, one should be able to arrive at a reasonably close determination for the Date of Creation. That dates creation around ~4106 BC. Also, christians are required by the gospel to accept the bible as the absolute word of god with no exceptions. If you do not fully believe in the virgin birth, jesus's ressurection, the flood, etc. then you are not christian by definition of the bible.

I prefer the Jefferson Bible, he removed all the BS from the bible. It cut the bible from 1660 (the one I found in my trash) to 46 pages of useful information.

Re:5 billion years ago ? (0, Offtopic)

saider (177166) | more than 6 years ago | (#23301232)

It does not specify the date, but it does establish a time interval (6 days = 144 hours). Unless God-days are different from our days. The trouble with re-interpreting the Bible is that once you do it in one spot, you open the door to do it all over. And then you end up with N sub-sects which all interpret the Bible in their own way to meet their own agendas.

What I see troubling with the philosophy of reinterpreting things is that people start reinterpreting the wrong ideas. First you redefine how long a day is, then you redefine how long people live, and the next thing you know, astrology is classified as science because you have redefined "logic" to meet your religious needs.

People need to realize that the Bible is a shitty science and history book and was written to an end.

Re:5 billion years ago ? (1)

GreenEggsAndSpam (658869) | more than 6 years ago | (#23301242)

The bible never states the date of creation, true... but we all know it happened on a Thursday.

Re:5 billion years ago ? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#23301340)

No Tuesday when the new DVD's come out.

Re:5 billion years ago ? (1)

Empiric (675968) | more than 6 years ago | (#23300636)

"The book" doesn't actually specify either is the case, but based on this article I'll be taking the "dividing the waters above the sky" part down a notch on my personal allegory/literal spectrum, anyway.

Am I the only person? (-1, Offtopic)

neokushan (932374) | more than 6 years ago | (#23300282)

That thinks this article was a tad poorly written?

For example...

Water forms in interstellar space at 10k

Forgive my possible ignorance, but 10k what? Degrees? (Celsius or Kelvin?) Pascals? Distance? Does a postfixed "K" represent something different within the scientific community that I simply didn't know about?

Re:Am I the only person? (4, Informative)

gardyloo (512791) | more than 6 years ago | (#23300314)

Note that the "K" you mention in the article is always capitalized, and, yes, it's standard nomenclature to use a postfixed "K" to represent Kelvins.

Re:Am I the only person? (4, Funny)

Ferzerp (83619) | more than 6 years ago | (#23300346)

I think this is just an evil plot to get us all downmodded -1 redundant ;)

We all replied with the same thing within seconds of one another.

The parent of your post knew the answer, and knew we'd all correct him at the same time!

Re:Am I the only person? (4, Informative)

bunratty (545641) | more than 6 years ago | (#23300316)

10K means 10 Kelvins, that is, 10 degrees Celsius above absolute zero. It's not degrees Kelvin. 10k would be 10000 of something that is either unitless or of units that are not given.

Re:Am I the only person? (3, Informative)

Ferzerp (83619) | more than 6 years ago | (#23300326)

10K, not 10k...

10K is not vague. It is 10 Kelvin

Re:Am I the only person? (2, Informative)

$RANDOMLUSER (804576) | more than 6 years ago | (#23300328)

No, not at 10k, but at 10K, in other words 10 degrees . [wikipedia.org]

Close, but not quite correct (2, Informative)

Cedric Tsui (890887) | more than 6 years ago | (#23300768)

Interestingly. 10 kelvin != 10 degrees.
The unit is 'kelvins' not 'degrees kelvin.' A degree means an increment between one extreme to another, which made sense for the Fahrenheit system (100 increments between the likely lowest and highest temperatures generally experienced in the environment the system was made in) and it made sense for the Centigrade system (100 increments between the freezing point and the boiling point of water at standard pressure.)

That's why degrees are also used in angles. 360 increments around a circle.

As the kelvin scale is absolute, referring to them as degrees isn't correct.

Re:Close, but not quite correct (1)

Tanktalus (794810) | more than 6 years ago | (#23301034)

Um, that wasn't what Fahrenheit was about at all. Or are you saying that 0 degrees F is the lowest temperature generally experienced in the UK? Or that they get to 100F on a regular basis, surpassing it about as often as they get below 0? I don't think so.

Fahrenheit was actually somewhat scientifically created, though I like to think the endpoints of Celsius make more sense. Fahrenheit's end-points are: at 0, the melting/freezing point of salt water (think: Atlantic ocean), and at 100, the temperature of the human body (methinks the guy was sick that day - it's a mistake).

(The rest of your post seems ok to me, though the definition of Celsius is probably far more precise than that, which is ok since this is a /. post, not a published treatise on the measurement of average heat.)

Re:Am I the only person? (2, Informative)

gabspeck (948318) | more than 6 years ago | (#23300330)

From Wikipedia:

The kelvin (symbol: K) is a unit increment of temperature and is one of the seven SI base units.

Re:Am I the only person? (1)

ehrichweiss (706417) | more than 6 years ago | (#23300786)

and is one of the seven SI base units.

B-b-b-b-b-but I thought SI was always base-10, that clearly says 7.

Re:Am I the only person? (1)

conureman (748753) | more than 6 years ago | (#23300778)

"Am I the only person?"

To RTFA?
It would appear so.

Re:Am I the only person? (1)

Gilmoure (18428) | more than 6 years ago | (#23301072)

I thought it was a marathon. All water in the universe is space sweat?

Re:Am I the only person? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#23301202)

You are an idiot. Please pass 7th grade science before posting on Slashdot.

And the next question will be.... (1)

mikael (484) | more than 6 years ago | (#23300336)

Where do all the Oxygen atoms come from ... I'm guessing fusion from within stars?

Re:And the next question will be.... (1)

Ferzerp (83619) | more than 6 years ago | (#23300388)

That is generally where every element that isn't hydrogen comes from...

(note: generally since nuclear reactions also take place outside of stars)

Re:And the next question will be.... (5, Informative)

$RANDOMLUSER (804576) | more than 6 years ago | (#23300430)

Yes. All (OK, for the pendants, MOST OF) the post-hydrogen elements come from stellar fusion. In oxygen's case, from helium fusion [wikipedia.org] .

Must it? (4, Insightful)

pla (258480) | more than 6 years ago | (#23300338)

That's cool because all the water in the solar system, including almost every drop you drink on Earth today, must have formed in exactly this way more than 5 billion years ago in a pre-solar dustcloud

Why must it? Could you justify that statement?

Gravity alone tends to cause interstellar clouds to collapse into stellar accretion disks, and then into stars and planets.

Although the Hydrogen and Oxygen in the original cloud may have had almost zero chance of getting together, once the cloud collapsed into relatively dense planetary atmospheres, why couldn't water have formed then?

Re:Must it? (1)

Ferzerp (83619) | more than 6 years ago | (#23300466)

That and water is relatively easy to break apart, put back together, recombine with other things, etc.

It wouldn't be far fetched to think that only minute amounts of the current water on earth was formed this way.

Sure looks that way (4, Informative)

tjstork (137384) | more than 6 years ago | (#23300482)

Why must it? Could you justify that statement?

The problem is that the Earth doesn't have sufficient gravity to hold free hydrogen. Free hydrogen on earth goes by by into space. So that almost automatically rules out any free hydrogen / oxygen hypothesis... or at least renders it less likely.

Now, so, maybe there is some sort of hydrogen compound and some sort of oxygen compound that could react on earth to form water. Well, then, you'd have to ask, where's the traces of those reactions occuring, and, are there any minerals out there today that support those conclusions. Right now, you can find oxygen in just about any good old mineral, but hydrogen, I think that's an entirely different mater. I'm not a geologist, but I'm pretty sure that the only hydrogens we find on earth are from organic compounds, and they get it from a reaction that ultimately originates with water as one of the reagents.

Now, that is of course based on a geological understanding that goes maybe at most a mile or two into the earth's crust. There could be some sort of something in the mantle where, ahah, there is a ton of hydrogen... you know, like water is formed from some hydrogen bearing rock mixing with some oxygen bearing rock inside the earth and shoots up out of a volcano. IF you could somehow find a set of candidate rocks and then make a good case for it, inside the earth, consistent with what we already know from the geological record about how the earth was formed, then yeah, you'd probably refute the underlying assumption of these japanese scientists and be some kind of a hero.

But you'd be a bigger hero than that... because, if you actually could find a non-organic source of hydrogen on the earth you'd be a huge hero, because you would have discovered a fairly green non-fossil fuel. Good luck with that!

Re:Sure looks that way (1)

sumdumass (711423) | more than 6 years ago | (#23300780)

I guess the point still remains "Why must it? Could you justify that statement" .

Even with your understanding of hydrogen, the possibility of it coming from a rock or a reaction with a rock could simply mean that asteroids or meteors impacting the earth in the past could release enough Hydrogen to produce the amount of water on earth. The hydrogen release could be extinguished by now or buried at the bottom of an ocean somewhere where the pressure of the water above it retards the production or release of hydrogen. Imagine a meteor or something moving through a hydrogen cloud to the point that it traps some of the hydrogen within it's movement and it strikes the earth at a later date bringing the hydrogen with it.

Re:Sure looks that way (1, Insightful)

Starcub (527362) | more than 6 years ago | (#23301158)

Yeah, the Earth is continuosly being bombarded by meteorites that burn up entirely in the atmosphere. No doubt that hydrogen is released and mixed into the atmosphere in the process. We know that oxygen is produced via natural processes, and is crucial for the development the Ozone layer. So I'm sure the Earth (with it's atmosphere) is constantly producing new water.

Now if we could find 5 billion year old wine, *that* would be news!

Re:Sure looks that way (1)

amRadioHed (463061) | more than 6 years ago | (#23301024)

The problem is that the Earth doesn't have sufficient gravity to hold free hydrogen
But the accretion disk around the primordial sun had sufficient gravity and density, didn't it?

I think you're wrong. (1, Interesting)

brunes69 (86786) | more than 6 years ago | (#23301124)

Without looking into all your points, I am pretty damn sure that things don't happen as you describe.

You have three points here that don't go together:

- The only hydrogen compounds on earth are in organics and water
- Organics got their hydrogen compounds soely through reactions with water
- Free hydrogen escapes into space

If all of these were true, the total amount of water on earth would be constantly decreasing, and would have been for billions of years. This is not the case - the amount of water on earth is relatively constant. As far as I remember from my university chemistry and biology classes, organics don't, for the most part, break down water ever.

Now I don't know the **actual** hydrogen sink for life on earth, but I am pretty sure it isn't water as you describe.

Re:I think you're wrong. (1)

Hatta (162192) | more than 6 years ago | (#23301332)

As far as I remember from my university chemistry and biology classes, organics don't, for the most part, break down water ever.

Water is broken down all the time in hydrolysis [wikipedia.org] reactions.

Re:Sure looks that way (4, Interesting)

Planesdragon (210349) | more than 6 years ago | (#23301154)

The problem is that the Earth doesn't have sufficient gravity to hold free hydrogen
What are you talking about?

Sure, hydrogen released at sea level will rise to the outer surface of the atmosphere. But that's only because it's the least dense gas in existence, and all the other heavier gases push it up due their own higher gravity. Eventually, the hydrogen would reach a point where the pull of gravity and the "push" of the rest of the atmosphere would even out.

Some hydrogen will get away due to thermal escape (an individual molecule moving fast enough to have escape velocity), but the earth will also collect some hydrogen due to the solar wind and its ordinary passage through space.

I wager that the 1ppm we have of atmospheric hydrogen is a few orders of magnitude greater than the atomic hydrogen present in the vacuum of space -- even if we disregard the amount of hydrogen that has bonded with oxygen in our little dust-ball.

Re:Must it? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#23300496)

exactly shhh dont tell my chemistry teachers. The two I had both liked to use the 'exploding hydrogen balloon' experiment. It creates *wait for it* water and ozone as the by products.

Where was the hydrogen harvested from? Probably oil, or water in the first place. As some teachers will split the water back into oxygen and hydrogen then explode the two turnning it back into water.

Re:Must it? (1)

Vellmont (569020) | more than 6 years ago | (#23300692)


Although the Hydrogen and Oxygen in the original cloud may have had almost zero chance of getting together, once the cloud collapsed into relatively dense planetary atmospheres, why couldn't water have formed then?

The problem with that is where we find water. We see a lot of water in the form of comets that couldn't have come from something as big as a planetary body. So the conclusion is water must have formed before planetary bodies. I believe the thinking is most of the water on earth came from comets.

both scenarios are true (4, Funny)

circletimessquare (444983) | more than 6 years ago | (#23300696)

but the interstellar dustcloud waterchild concept wins hollywood glamor points, while your more reasonable point of view is mundane and humdrum

it is a facet of scientific theory formation known as michael bayification: the more dramatic and trippy the theory, the more likely it is to spread in the popular press, and therefore to gain more traction in the minds of the average joe

"5 billion interstellar dustcloud water" is just so cool sounding man. while your point of view is full of zzz

so c'mon, get with the program, your ideas are just so drab. perhaps if you redescribed your theory as it would appear being mumbled by a secret military organization figurehead in a big budget disaster movie. make believe you are a 23 year old hollywood script writer perusing wikipedia in forming your scientific mumbo jumbo

repeat after me: "hyperplanetary accretion disc catalysis"

or "gravity well coupled reverse electrolysis"

there you go, now we are playing in the big leagues of science-theory-by-public-relations-ad-copy-writer

Re:Must it? (1)

Hatta (162192) | more than 6 years ago | (#23301364)

Not to mention that just about every water molecule must has probably been broken apart and reformed several times by organic activity.

Water, Water, Every Where (0, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#23300342)

Nor any drop to drink

Re:Moderaters (1)

conureman (748753) | more than 6 years ago | (#23301250)

Don't we all just hate it when off-topic trolls drag the discussion into the gutter. I'm glad someone knew how to use their mod-points wisely.

To be correct.. (4, Insightful)

UPZ (947916) | more than 6 years ago | (#23300376)

Most of the water seen today is not the original interstellar water intact in its original form. Instead, it has been cycled through organic matter over the last few hundred million years.

Re:To be correct.. (2, Interesting)

maxume (22995) | more than 6 years ago | (#23300788)

There is somewhere between 100,000 and 2,000,000 times as much water on earth as there is biomass(go ahead and find a better estimate on how much water there is, biomass is close enough to 2,000 billion tons, which is 6.7*10^14 kg).

Given a million years, not very much of that needs to be cycled each year for most of it to have been organic matter at some point, but it would be interesting to see just how much of the water in a plant is newly created(and the percentages of water that a plant destroys and creates in a given year would be cool too).

Re:To be correct.. (1)

mdsolar (1045926) | more than 6 years ago | (#23301132)

One way to estimate this is to look at the carbon respiration of the planet. It takes 4 or 5 years for the amount of carbon we put into the atmosphere to equal the amplitude of the seasonal variation and the seasonal variation is a rough indicator of the amount of cycling that biomass does. If we assume equal molar quantities of water and carbon dioxide get cycled and note that we put about 7Gt of carbon into the air each year then at least 20Gt of water gets turned into hydrocarbons and turned back into water each year. The mass of the hydrosphere is about 1.4 billion Gt http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ocean#Physical_properties [wikipedia.org] so the biosphere ought to cycle that in about 700 million years. Less than a majority of water molecules are in their original (pre-solar) configuration.

Re:To be correct.. (1)

MrMr (219533) | more than 6 years ago | (#23300792)

I always used to think that, except when I looked up the residence time of my local water supply ( http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Water_cycle [wikipedia.org] - deep ground water) I discovered that there is an 80% chance that I have not been drinking dino-piss after all...

Re:To be correct.. (3, Interesting)

tygt (792974) | more than 6 years ago | (#23300836)

At first I was tempted to state "water is used organically but remains water"; however this is not always correct.

Dredging my memory from a high school class about 30 years ago, photosynthesis utilizes water and recombines the molecules:

CO2 + H2O + sunshine => C6H12O6 + O2

Apologizes for the lack of subscripting; I tried and failed...

Re:To be correct.. (1)

UPZ (947916) | more than 6 years ago | (#23301086)

CO2 + H2O + sunshine => C6H12O6 + O2
Yep, water is actually broken down. What's so interesting is that the O2 that plants release into atmosphere does not come from CO2, it comes from H2O. Water is broken down and rebuilt into carbohydrates and free oxygen.

far out, man (1)

circletimessquare (444983) | more than 6 years ago | (#23300384)

That's cool because all the water in the solar system, including almost every drop you drink on Earth today, must have formed in exactly this way more than 5 billion years ago in a pre-solar dustcloud


in the immortal words of Keanu Reeves: "Whoaaa"

also forming in that dustcloud 5 billion years ago were minute traces of lysergic acid diethylamide. slight traces of which may also enable you to appreciate the far-out implications of you being a 5 billion year old dustcloud waterchild

duuude

Re:far out, man (1)

Gilmoure (18428) | more than 6 years ago | (#23301122)

We are stardust, we are golden,
caught in the devil's bargain
billion year old carbon...

That explains it (4, Funny)

cmacb (547347) | more than 6 years ago | (#23300386)

I knew my tap water tasted funny.

Are you serious ? (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#23300440)

You're saying ALL the water in Earth's oceans came from hydrogen atoms interacting with solid oxygen on the surface of cosmic dust particles ??? I think it's more likely that molecular oxygen and hydrogen reacted at higher temperature on our planet (much like a rocket taking off into space).

Probably not the way you think (1)

dreamchaser (49529) | more than 6 years ago | (#23300650)

The Earth's gravity is not nearly strong enough to keep molecular hydrogen trapped. You might get a few water molecules formed that way, but most of any free hydrogen escaped as is.

I think it would be more accurate though to state that MOST water was probably created via the mechanism described in the article. I'm pretty sure there was some fraction of water that was created through other mechanisms.

Think outside the box... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#23301074)

I'm the guy who posted the thing about our water coming from the reaction between H2 and O2 *ON* our planet. You are saying that most of the hydrogen would have escaped. You have to remember that our atmosphere was not always the way it is now. If we had an atmosphere of just hydrogen or mostly hydrogen, for example, the hydrogen would not escape because it isn't contained within a heavier gas, therefore it wouldn't be buoyant. H2 has mass too, so gravity would trap it on Earth. Maybe there was a lot of hydrogen and only a little bit of oxygen in the air...and no nitrogen...who knows. All of our nitrogen could have come later; released by organic compounds that decomposed.

I don't know what happened back then but I'm simply stating that hydrogen CAN be trapped on Earth if the atmosphere isn't really heavy.

Re:Are you serious ? (1)

aliquis (678370) | more than 6 years ago | (#23300784)

Yeah, I didn't like the "must have formed in exactly this way"-part either. They make a theory and it MUST be true? And it MUST have happened in that way only? Right ..

How water forms (5, Funny)

suso (153703) | more than 6 years ago | (#23300448)

You don't have to try it figure it out. God just creates it. No scientific explaination needed. Now wasn't that easy.

Re:How water forms (3, Interesting)

dkleinsc (563838) | more than 6 years ago | (#23301356)

Actually, if you read the very beginning of Genesis closely, you'll notice that God doesn't create water:
"And the Spirit of God was moving over the face of the waters."

That's before light exists.

All water? (2, Funny)

teslar (706653) | more than 6 years ago | (#23300452)

That's cool because all the water in the solar system, including almost every drop you drink on Earth today
So, what are the drops of water that are not included in the "almost every drop" made of? :)

Re:All water? (2, Interesting)

Zcar (756484) | more than 6 years ago | (#23300730)

And is it really "almost all"? Water is a product of many common metabolic chemical reactions (e.g. the catabolism of glucose produces 6 water molecules per glucose molecule catabolized). Similarly, water is destroyed in photosynthesis to produce glucose.

I'd imagine a sizable proportion of the world water supply has taken part in these processes at some point or other.

nig6a (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#23300558)

That's the easy part (1)

sm62704 (957197) | more than 6 years ago | (#23300560)

Water is the most important thing needed for life. The hard part of life isn't explaining how water forms, but how inantimate, dead chemicals can become alive. As far as we know so far, life has never arisen anywhere but here, although despite any lack of proof it's assumed that we are not alone.

Re:That's the easy part (1)

maxume (22995) | more than 6 years ago | (#23300834)

Water is crucial for water based life. We don't have any evidence of life that isn't water based, but we also don't have any evidence that all life is water based (because it is impossible to prove that there isn't any other life out there).

Water based life could be a tiny fraction of the life that is out there.

NOT EVERY DROP !!! (0, Troll)

Taco Cowboy (5327) | more than 6 years ago | (#23300796)

Not every single drop of the water we use today is formed that way. There are lots of other ways water is formed.

For example: Volcanic activity

Whenever there's some volcanic activity, you see steam coming up. Those are "NEW" water, as Hydrogen streaming out of the earth crust, it mixes with Oxygen in the air, and walla ... H2O !

I bet the Kilauea volcano in Hawai'i has given us quite a number of drops of H2O over the years. :)

Re:NOT EVERY DROP !!! (1)

Zcar (756484) | more than 6 years ago | (#23300910)

Is that really "new" water, or just water trapped under ground being released?

Oh, it's certainly not all water, but does vulcanism really produce new water from hydrogen and oxygen?

Re:NOT EVERY DROP !!! (1)

blank_vlad (876519) | more than 6 years ago | (#23300920)

I bet the Kilauea volcano in Hawai'i has given us quite a number of drops of H2O over the years. :)

But still small beans compared to the contribution of Xenu.

Re:NOT EVERY DROP !!! (1)

jav1231 (539129) | more than 6 years ago | (#23301196)

It can't be new. See scientists have already decided this is how all water is formed. RTFA! You can't expect to be taken seriously, can you? Even if you had the credentials, we'd just wait until this becomes accepted fact and ridicule you for not conforming.

Re:NOT EVERY DROP !!! (1)

chopper749 (574759) | more than 6 years ago | (#23301266)

And where does all that water coming out of car exhaust pipes come from? I would swear it's not 5 billion years old either.

Finally! (0, Troll)

jav1231 (539129) | more than 6 years ago | (#23301166)

I'm so glad that's settled.

I was thinking the other day, how am I supposed to just go through life without knowing how water is formed in space?

Re:Finally! (1)

Boronx (228853) | more than 6 years ago | (#23301386)

One day at a time, my friend. They don't have the full story.
Load More Comments
Slashdot Login

Need an Account?

Forgot your password?