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!

Comets Probably Seeded Earth's Nitrogen Atmosphere

samzenpus posted more than 5 years ago | from the in-the-beginning dept.

Space 110

KentuckyFC writes "One of the biggest puzzles of astrobiology is the origin of the Earth's oceans and atmosphere. One favored theory is that our water is the leftovers from a bombardment of comets early in Earth's history. But the ratio of hydrogen and deuterium in the oceans doesn't match the ratio in the four comets measured so far (Halley's, Hyakutake, Hale-Bopp and C/2002 T7 LINEAR). Now a new analysis of the ratio of nitrogen-14 and 15 isotopes in these comets and on Earth places new limits on how much of our environment could have come from comets. On the one hand, the astronomers who did the work say that no more than a few percent of Earth's water could have come from comets. But on the other, they say that the ratio of nitrogen isotopes in these comets almost exactly matches the ratio in Earth's atmosphere. That suggests that while Earth's oceans must have come from somewhere else, Earth's early atmosphere was probably seeded by comets."

cancel ×

110 comments

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

Uh-Oh it's the UTD Comets (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28553765)

Woosh!

Tunguska Clouds an Indication? (5, Interesting)

eldavojohn (898314) | more than 5 years ago | (#28553773)

Recently I submitted a story [slashdot.org] that's probably not going to be published that claims:

Space.com brings word of a team using new evidence is suggesting that the mysterious 1908 event in Tunguska was a comet [space.com] despite a team two years ago arguing it was an asteroid [slashdot.org] . The comet theory does explain the odd phenomenon of the night skies being lit up for several nights following the event all across Europe--about 3,000 miles away. Researchers believe this points to a comet because when the space shuttles launched today pass through the atmosphere they cause or improve the formation of noctilucent clouds [wikipedia.org] . These clouds are so high up (55 miles) they are only made of ice particles and they are only visible at night which gives researchers reason to draw the conclusion that the 300 metric tons of water vapor that the shuttle pumps into the Earth's thermosphere must likely indicate that the thing that hit was loaded with water or ice. This would make it a comet and not an asteroid. This--of course--raises new upper-atmosphere physics problems for the Tunguska event but explains the strange phenomenon over the skies of the world following it. You may remember analysis of Lake Cheko last year [slashdot.org] in an effort to better understand what happened.

Well, if every comet that hit earth dropped off a little bit of water--even in the form of noctilucent clouds ... it'd take a while but is it really so far fetch to think that ultimately all our water and atmosphere are extra-terrestrial? Probably unlikely but over a long enough time, who knows?

Re:Tunguska Clouds an Indication? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28553937)

Isn't EVERYTHING extra-terrestrial?

It's not like Earth magically appeared from no-where...

Re:Tunguska Clouds an Indication? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28554205)

Isn't EVERYTHING extra-terrestrial?

It's not like Earth magically appeared from no-where...

I have a few major religions that would disagree with you on that point. And don't forget how it was made in seven days and moves on a giant space turtle.

Re:Tunguska Clouds an Indication? (1)

OS2toMAC (1327679) | more than 5 years ago | (#28556527)

moves on a giant space turtle.

I had wondered where Gamera has been.

Re:Tunguska Clouds an Indication? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28554643)

With 50 kilotonnes of extraterrestrial impacts per year over the last 5 billion years the earth could have grown from 23,896,800 kilogrammes to the present 5.9742*10^24 kilogrammes we have today. Still, the expanding earth hypothesis is seen only as crackpottery and sacrilege to geologists. Can anyone explain how we could have stayed the same size under billions of years of bombardment?

Re:Tunguska Clouds an Indication? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28555521)

Why, we're becomming more compact of course!

Re:Tunguska Clouds an Indication? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28556819)

There was big bombards early on but that tailed off very quickly. They can tell by checking the age of craters on the moon 95% 3.5 billion years or older. Sorry to rain on your Parade.

Re:Tunguska Clouds an Indication? (1)

Latinhypercube (935707) | more than 5 years ago | (#28555505)

My thoughts exactly. Where else do they think the Earth came from ? I would hazard a guess the Earth's water was amassed through collisions, the same way the Earth's metal was collected. We don't even really know how the MOON was created... If the Moon was created by displaced matter from a huge planetary collision, then chances are the planet that hit us could have been rich in metal or water.
I have often wondered if our iron core was some alien races way of seeding the Earth, because without the iron core to provide an magnetic field, there would be no life on Earth.

Re:Tunguska Clouds an Indication? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28554027)

Noctilucent clouds or not, the deuterium ratio doesn't match, so the answer is 'no'.

Re:Tunguska Clouds an Indication? (4, Informative)

khayman80 (824400) | more than 5 years ago | (#28554029)

... it'd take a while but is it really so far fetched to think that ultimately all our water and atmosphere are extra-terrestrial?

The point is that the isotope abundances of the oceans don't match the only four comets that have been observed precisely enough. H20 and HDO are easily distinguished from each other, and deuterium (the "D" in HDO) is quite stable so the isotope abundances shouldn't have changed. We've only measured 4 comets, though, so perhaps other comets more closely resemble our oceans.

Coincidentally, I attended Dr. Goldblatt's fascinating talk at the Fall 2008 AGU conference where he showed that the faint young sun paradox [dumbscientist.com] could be mitigated by a higher nitrogen pressure in the primordial atmosphere. Someone in the crowd (a Slashdot user, perhaps?) answered my question about experimental constraints on this pressure by saying that current research involving "raindrops" might produce a constraint soon.

This paper seems like it should be relevant, but I've yet to see a direct connection. If anything, the disparities in the isotope abundances between 15N/14N and D/H seem to imply their origins are (at best) only loosely connected. But unfortunately the guy who shouted "raindrops" didn't have a microphone and he was across a crowded lecture hall, so I don't have the foggiest idea what he meant. Maybe "raindrops" was a brief reference to the "enstatite chondrites" on page 7 of this new paper (the context seems similar, at least). However, Javoy's paper was published in 1986 and my mysterious benefactor definitely said the research was currently underway. Plus, the topic at the time was the total pressure of nitrogen, not the isotope abundance...

Anyone who knows about this subject, please enlighten me!

Re:Tunguska Clouds an Indication? (3, Interesting)

rve (4436) | more than 5 years ago | (#28554179)

The May issue of scientific american had an interesting article about the slow loss of atmospheric gasses into space...

how-planets-lose-their-atmospheres [scientificamerican.com] ...which suggests that the early earth had a lot more water and a denser atmosphere. It also, obviously, had a lot more CO2, vast quantities of which are now locked up in the form of rock (limestone) and organic matter.

Re:Tunguska Clouds an Indication? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28556193)

Well, the comets we get today have been literally cooked by the sun for millions of years.. I wouldn't be surprised that comets when the solar system and earth formed had more ice because they hadn't been pounded by the sun particles for millions of years.

We probably have to go the Oort cloud to get any kind of verification of what kind of comets could have been hitting Earth when the oceans was forming.

Re:Tunguska Clouds an Indication? (1)

SleepingWaterBear (1152169) | more than 5 years ago | (#28557785)

Well, if every comet that hit earth dropped off a little bit of water--even in the form of noctilucent clouds ... it'd take a while but is it really so far fetch to think that ultimately all our water and atmosphere are extra-terrestrial? Probably unlikely but over a long enough time, who knows?

I think that the point of the summary is that if the water were primarily from comets then we'd expect the water on earth to have a similar ratio of deuterium to hydrogen to that found in comets. Since it doesn't, either most comets out there have a very different composition from the ones we've observed, or the earth's water must have a different source. Of course the water is extraterrestrial in origin (like everything else), but it looks as if we didn't get it from comets.

Nitrogen came from comets . . . (4, Funny)

rattaroaz (1491445) | more than 5 years ago | (#28553843)

Nitrogen came from comets, and methane came from Uranus.

I'm sorry Fry, but... (3, Funny)

Kratisto (1080113) | more than 5 years ago | (#28553967)

Astronomers renamed that planet in 2020 to stop that stupid joke once and for all.
Oh. What's it called now?
Urectum

Urectum? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28557333)

You damned near killed em!

But there's soooo much water on (and in) Earth... (0)

Nutria (679911) | more than 5 years ago | (#28553845)

... how could anyone reasonably think that comets brought it all?

Re:But there's soooo much water on (and in) Earth. (2, Funny)

socsoc (1116769) | more than 5 years ago | (#28553865)

Duh, it reproduced once it arrived on Earh.

Re:But there's soooo much water on (and in) Earth. (2, Interesting)

interactive_civilian (205158) | more than 5 years ago | (#28554267)

I was under the impression that the Earth's water precipitated out of the original accretion disc as the early earth cooled. That is, everything accreted, and then as the molten rock and surrounding gases cooled to form a sold surface, the water that became the Earth's oceans and such also cooled and condensed, and basically rained down on the planet over time.

Has there been some reason to doubt this? i.e. evidence that refutes this hypothesis?

Re:But there's soooo much water on (and in) Earth. (2, Interesting)

Nutria (679911) | more than 5 years ago | (#28554679)

It's easy (unless you're a fundie) to understand where the heavier elements and such come from, since they melt at high temperatures.

But water and the "stuff" that are gases at STP are volatile. So... what kept them "near" the earth while it was very hot (way past the boiling point of waster) and small and accreting? There wasn't enough of a magnetosphere to protect any atmosphere.

Could it be that H2O, N2 and O2 were created from the decomposition of very hot rocks?

Re:But there's soooo much water on (and in) Earth. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28555357)

Could it be that H2O, N2 and O2 were created from the decomposition of very hot rocks?

No. Next question please.

Get up to date on planetary formation theory (3, Interesting)

Kupfernigk (1190345) | more than 5 years ago | (#28554793)

The answer to your question is, because the way the planets arose is slowly getting elucidated and it is a lot more complicated than anybody used to think. One very important concept is the "snow line" - the distance from the Sun at which ice can form. A build up of icy objects around the snow line followed by gravitational disturbances could result in the transport of large amounts of ice in both directions - inwards and outwards. Then the gravity well of accumulating planetary masses does the rest.

This is a rapidly evolving field and I don't pretend to have more than a very casual reader's knowledge - but think of it like this. The Earth is, in cosmic terms, a small planet. Its water layer is a minute fraction of its mass. In terms of the solar system as a whole, the percentage of the available water on Earth is extremely small.

Re:Get up to date on planetary formation theory (1)

aLEczapKA (452675) | more than 5 years ago | (#28563973)

As a result, the Sun was ~25% dimmer 4 billion years ago than it is now.
http://dumbscientist.com/archives/the-faint-young-sun-paradox/ [dumbscientist.com]

This would suggest that 'snow-line' might have been much closer the to earth... I'd say 25% closer?

I've read somewhere that the 'snow-line' is a place where the comets are born. Pulled by the gravitational forces as our solar system travels around the milky way, they got 'pushed' or 'bounced' towards our sun.

It is possible, but not certain (5, Insightful)

comet63 (1256400) | more than 5 years ago | (#28553863)

The article notes that the ratio of the nitrogen isotopes matches what is in the earths atmosphere. It seems to me, that just makes it possible that the comets are a significant source of the nitrogen on Earth. It is also possible that the nitrogen in the comets and in the atmosphere came from a common source.

Re:It is possible, but not certain (1)

bertoelcon (1557907) | more than 5 years ago | (#28553963)

Agreed, Correlation does not equal causation.

What correlation? (1)

Sockatume (732728) | more than 5 years ago | (#28556097)

This is a comparison, not a correlation.

Re:What correlation? (1)

Sobrique (543255) | more than 5 years ago | (#28557351)

Comparison isn't causation either....

Re:What correlation? (1)

Sockatume (732728) | more than 5 years ago | (#28557793)

Nobody's saying it is, the article is putting an upper bound on the amount of water and nitrogen that could come from cometary ices. They comment that this leaves the door open for a substantial amount of nitrogen from comets, but only a miniscule amount of water.

Re:It is possible, but not certain (2, Interesting)

Nefarious Wheel (628136) | more than 5 years ago | (#28554091)

What comet63 said. Large primoridal clouds of hydrogen are easy to understand, and oxygen is enough lighter than carbon that it could occur early on in stellar formation, I'd think (IANAAP, IMBFOS). So I can imagine large clouds of the two gases igniting in the early part of our planetary history, with enough being captured by our own gravity well to compress and become water. The rest, as they say, is geography. Add lots of the slightly less reactive nitrogen and you'd get something approaching the mixture we're breathing. But in order to seed both the Earth and the Oort cloud, those gas sources would have to be huge. What happened to the rest of it? Blown away on the solar wind? If so, could we see traces like this around other star systems and make a guess about water atmospheres?

god (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28553871)

I'm pretty sure God 'seeded' the...

nevermind.

The answer to all questions ever for ever! (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28553887)

Someone Farrted!!!!

The comets may have seeded life. (2, Interesting)

reporter (666905) | more than 5 years ago | (#28553909)

In addition to creating an atmosphere on earth, comets may also have seeded life [bbc.co.uk] .

Uhmmm... (1)

IonOtter (629215) | more than 5 years ago | (#28553913)

Comets Probably Seeded Earth's Nitrogen Atmosphere

So we've been breathing space spooge all along?

Well THAT explains a lot...

No, no (3, Funny)

djconrad (1413667) | more than 5 years ago | (#28553941)

Everyone knows nitrogen is here because of the Holy Sauce dripped from His Noodly Appendage.

Obvious? (2, Informative)

muphin (842524) | more than 5 years ago | (#28553945)

Although comets may have initiated seeding of life and the foundry of everything from water to minerals .. there has been proof that water is abundant in space and maybe have just been absorbed into the atmosphere on earth and generated that way, over time rain would have brought the water molecules to the surface.
http://www.space.com/scienceastronomy/astronomy/milkyway_water_010412.html [space.com]

That seems to make some sense. (2, Interesting)

Stephen Samuel (106962) | more than 5 years ago | (#28553973)

Hydrogen probably came from:
  • solar wind, and
  • primordial disc hydrogen.

My guess is that earth started out as a (not -so-giant?) gas giant and bled of most of it's original hydrogen. If that's even vaguely true, then there's little likelihood that the isotope mix would be anywhere near what's in comets.

I'm guessing that the deuterium mix is much higher than in comets (because deuterium, being heavier than hydrogen, is less likely to bleed off).

Re:That seems to make some sense. (1)

Psychotria (953670) | more than 5 years ago | (#28554207)

Are you an astronomer? I ask only because you're modded +4 Interesting. But, in your comment you say: "My guess is..." and then "I'm guessing that..." What makes you think that your two guesses are in any way valid? Maybe this (my) comment is directed more at the mods than you because if you were not modded up so much I'd gloss over your comment.

Re:That seems to make some sense. (3, Insightful)

TheTurtlesMoves (1442727) | more than 5 years ago | (#28554461)

By your reasoning only economist should comment on topics of economy, climatologists on topics of global warming, etc...

This is /. you are allowed to speculate and the reader shouldn't be such an idiot to assume every post is by an expert or a lawyer (IANAL crap).

Even more important experts can and should be questioned. People outside the field can give suggestions and should criticize experts if they cannot justify their point of view. The only times we get a group of people that think they cannot be questioned by outsiders... they are usually wrong.

And what are your credentials? Modding expert? Modding consultant?

By the way I am an astronomer by training... Grandparent has a good point.

Re:That seems to make some sense. (1)

Hognoxious (631665) | more than 5 years ago | (#28555391)

He does? I've never heard a theory that the rocky planets started out as gas giants.

Re:That seems to make some sense. (1)

TapeCutter (624760) | more than 5 years ago | (#28555527)

Well you have now and at least one astronomer thinks he has a point.

Re:That seems to make some sense. (2, Funny)

MillionthMonkey (240664) | more than 5 years ago | (#28555655)

Yeah but how do we know he's a real, licensed astronomer?

Re:That seems to make some sense. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28558919)

Easy, we'll just warrantless wiretap his phone and look through all his browsing history.

Re:That seems to make some sense. (1)

db32 (862117) | more than 5 years ago | (#28556547)

The only times we get a group of people that think they cannot be questioned by outsiders... they are usually wrong.

What does government have to do with this discussion?

Re:That seems to make some sense. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28557225)

Every Theory starts off as a hypothesis (often taught in schools to be a Educated guess.) The science isn't some expert sayings "Hey! This is what happens" out of the blue. Science is, "Hey I wonder if this happened/will happen." Then after indepth research and experimentation saying "Seems to be that way lets test it some mone" or "Nope it doesn't seem that way, but lets test it some more just in case."

Determining the origins of .... (1, Flamebait)

glitch23 (557124) | more than 5 years ago | (#28554007)

just about anything in the universe, and specifically various aspects of this planet, is becoming more like numerology than anything else. Case in point:

But on the other, they say that the ratio of nitrogen isotopes in these comets almost exactly matches the ratio in Earth's atmosphere. That suggests that while Earth's oceans must have come from somewhere else, Earth's early atmosphere was probably seeded by comet.

Any pattern they find seems to make scientists believe something is true, no matter how improbable. Scientists are only seeing what they want to see in this data. Despite this method of guessing based on simply "interesting patterns" and hoping they are right, these very same people consider taking on faith what the Holy Bible says about the origins of the world as being ludicrous. Ahhh, nothing like the smell of hypocrisy in the early morning hours. Flame on for bucking the *insertGroupNamehere* agenda.

Re:Determining the origins of .... (3, Insightful)

alexhard (778254) | more than 5 years ago | (#28554273)

>method of guessing based on simply "interesting patterns"

That would be the SCIENTIFIC method (or at least the first part of it), the source of all scientific advancement since whenever.

Re:Determining the origins of .... (2, Informative)

ceoyoyo (59147) | more than 5 years ago | (#28556537)

Carefully note the words "probably" and "suggests."

In other words, nobody has claimed anything is "true." They noted an interesting pattern and thought about what it could mean. Now they'll try to devise experiments to test that hypothesis.

Contrast this with theological reasoning: "the bible says so, therefore it is true. End of discussion."

Atoms (0)

nikanth (1066242) | more than 5 years ago | (#28554023)

If everything is made of electrons, protons, neutrons,.... then any thing can form from anything ;-)

Wood to Gold (0)

justinlee37 (993373) | more than 5 years ago | (#28554249)

You might theoretically make anything into anything but from a practical standpoint it is difficult. Show me how to turn wood into gold and I'll buy it ;-) (pun intended)

Re:Wood to Gold (1)

nikanth (1066242) | more than 5 years ago | (#28554657)

Yes, it is difficult to create life,gold,etc... but life,gold,etc.. exists ;-) So do you mean to say gold should have come from some meteor? And if so, where did that come from?

Re:Wood to Gold (2, Informative)

Schmorgluck (1293264) | more than 5 years ago | (#28555883)

Gold? That would be from a supernova.

Re:Wood to Gold (1)

justinlee37 (993373) | more than 5 years ago | (#28562937)

It's so difficult that it isn't practical. As another poster pointed out you can create gold from wood using high-energy equipment, but the energy invested would be worth more than the gold produced and therefore there are limitations on what you can and can't do. So, while strictly speaking it is possible, there are economic considerations.

Re:Wood to Gold (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28557099)

EAsily done in Particle accelerators , so I'm told. Just that the energy cost is 1250x the value of said gold. Depending on the Market that day.
Ben dover HAS turned wood into Gold on a much more practical sense.

Not exactly a new theory: The Big Splash (5, Interesting)

icebike (68054) | more than 5 years ago | (#28554025)

The theory of comets as a source of water was also published in 1990, by Louis A. Frank.

Not exactly your average crack-pot scientists, Frank was the designer of something like 13 payloads on various launch vehicles in the 80s and 90s.

Frank posits that that small comets still hit the moon and earth almost daily, delivering water virtually every day. These small comets are more like fluffy snowballs, and are small enough not to have much if any radar signature, but their effects upon impact with the atmosphere are visible from above.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Big_Splash_(book) [wikipedia.org]

Excerpt from The Big Splash
by Louis A. Frank with Patrick Huyghe
Published by Birch Lane Press, 1990.
ISBN 1-55972-033-6

http://smallcomets.physics.uiowa.edu/blackspot.html [uiowa.edu]

Re:Not exactly a new theory: The Big Splash (1, Funny)

phantomfive (622387) | more than 5 years ago | (#28554659)

Of course he's a crackpot. Water's what was left over after the flood. Rainbows too.

No, it isn't a mystery.... (0, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28554033)

"One of the biggest puzzles of astrobiology is the origin of the Earth's oceans and atmosphere." No, it isn't a mystery.... Gen 1:1 In the beginning God created the heaven and the earth. Gen 1:2 And the earth was without form, and void; and darkness was upon the face of the deep. And the Spirit of God moved upon the face of the waters. Gen 1:6 And God said, Let there be a firmament in the midst of the waters, and let it divide the waters from the waters. Gen 1:7 And God made the firmament, and divided the waters which were under the firmament from the waters which were above the firmament: and it was so. Gen 1:9 And God said, Let the waters under the heaven be gathered together unto one place, and let the dry land appear: and it was so. Gen 1:10 And God called the dry land Earth; and the gathering together of the waters called he Seas: and God saw that it was good.

Re:No, it isn't a mystery.... (1)

Nefarious Wheel (628136) | more than 5 years ago | (#28554155)

No, it isn't a mystery.... Gen 1:1 In the beginning...

That's the Cliff's Notes abstract. For the expanded version, start with the Big Bang and use physics.

God is the name I give to the Universe and all her natural laws.

Science is my prayer. I keep my logical integrity intact by understanding that the converse is not also true.

Yes, it is a mystery (1, Insightful)

justinlee37 (993373) | more than 5 years ago | (#28554231)

If those passages aren't a mystery to you then I say you need to go back to elementary school and learn how to read critically. Who is this God character? How did he create the heaven and the earth from something without form, out of a void? There are obviously some details missing and I demand a refund for this explanation of the universe you have sold to humanity.

Re:Yes, it is a mystery (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28554539)

...and yet the fools of the big bang theory believe the same thing... just on a different time scale... who says 7 days is what it appears to be now...? Time is relative.

Re:Yes, it is a mystery (0, Flamebait)

justinlee37 (993373) | more than 5 years ago | (#28555063)

Yes, you said it, they are fools. Anybody who thinks they know how the universe was created based on a few pages they read in some book that someone else wrote is a drooling idiot. Strict agnosticism is the most rational and logical theological position.

Furthermore your weak and unrelated hypothesis doesn't even begin to answer my question, how were the heavens and the earth created from nothing?

Face it, neither modern science nor biblical creation myths provide a satisfactory explanation as to why all of these particles are floating around in a three-dimensional space. The stupidest thing you could possibly do, regardless of your religious affiliation, is believe that the universe is not a mystery and that YOU in your infinite wisdom have EVERYTHING figured out.

Go milk a cow.

Re:Yes, it is a mystery (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28557245)

Strict agnosticism is the most rational and logical theological position.

http://www.freebase.com/view/en/god/-/base/argumentmaps

Re:Yes, it is a mystery (1)

amicusNYCL (1538833) | more than 5 years ago | (#28557897)

I'm confused about why you're replying to a statement on agnosticism with a page that describes god as a person or being in fiction.

Re:Yes, it is a mystery (1)

mcgrew (92797) | more than 5 years ago | (#28557571)

Who is this God character? How did he create the heaven and the earth from something without form, out of a void? There are obviously some details missing and I demand a refund for this explanation of the universe you have sold to humanity.

He's the programmer who created the Matrix. They never did get all the bugs out of the "dirt" subroutine. I'd give you more information, but unfortunately the code is closed source.

Re: No, it isn't a mystery.... (2, Funny)

Black Parrot (19622) | more than 5 years ago | (#28554927)

Dude, your passage doesn't actually say anything about where the ocean and atmosphere came from. It just claims that God pushed some water around a bit.

If you're going to vest your credibility in a mythological text, you should at least read it carefully.

Re:No, it isn't a mystery.... (1)

MillionthMonkey (240664) | more than 5 years ago | (#28555751)

No, it isn't a mystery.... Gen 1:1 In the beginning God created the heaven and the earth. Gen 1:2 And the earth... and God saw that it was good.

Yeah, all right, what really happened? Tell the truth.

Can someone answer this honest question? (1)

WheelDweller (108946) | more than 5 years ago | (#28554245)

I keep going over the proof for Noah's flood. It's not as far-flung as it sounds if you actually RTFM. It calls for a number of animals that would fit in a rowboat- it doesn't have to be millions. And it doesn't have to be a full world, either: Rome 'taxed the world' and I'm certain they didn't get New Jersey.

So here's the question.

What *actually* happens when the poles reverse and the Van Allen (etc) belts come down for a short time? The solar wind, largely H3 I'm told, touches an oxygen-covered surface at 33,000mph. So hot hydrogen..on oxygen...rain?

Everyone I've asked just asserts how ridiculous the question is, but no one ever has a response, other than to roll their eyes. There must be an answer- another reversal is coming up.

And this relates to the article by suggesting the pathology that the planet was heavy *nitrogen* first, and the added water brought the oxygen...

I'm not a scientist, but obviously neither are the people I've asked.

Re:Can someone answer this honest question? (1)

stevelinton (4044) | more than 5 years ago | (#28554883)

Let's see. first of all, it's entirely possible that some guy's personal world flooded, wiping out his neugbours and that he and his livestock escaped becase he happened to have a boat. Indeed, statistically, it must have happened often. I think the Epic of Gilgamesh has a somewhat similar event.

The solar wind is hydrogen nuclei, and going much faster than 33000 mph, but it's VERY VERY thin. I doubt the total amount impacting on the Earth's magnetic field in a year would be enough to raise sea levels a millimeter. Also, the same impacts will knock a certain amount of hydrogen off water molecules in the upper atmosphere and kick them off into space, so we lose as well as gaining.

Re:Can someone answer this honest question? (1)

WheelDweller (108946) | more than 5 years ago | (#28555139)

Yeah, I've heard things in the Bible explained as having happened before; never is there truth to it- like the Iranian tale of Mithri: "Just like the messianic tale, Mithri died to save the world!" Execpt he didn't; according to scholars, the most he ever did was kill a bull of some sort. There's a great many people trying to make God go away. Kinda sad, really. No one tries to make Buddah go away, or discount Ra, or dispute Karma.

The presumption that science != christianity kinda bothers me. Was it not the Bible that suggested this reality began with "let there be light" as the nuclear scientists of the 30's and 40's posited? Wouldn't the Bible have looked stupid for a long time until then?

How about the part deep in Genesis where it says "The Earth is suspended from nothing". That, too, was up for debate until John Glen learned that the Indian idea of it being on the trunk of an elephant, swimming in a sea of milk was wrong. And Atlas was wrong. But for a long time the Bible looked stupid.

The Hittites. The co-management of Babylon's last regime. All these were thought to be stuff and nonsense until actual hard proof arrived. Science and Christianity agree. When they don't (see also The Pope & Capernicous) we have bad theology or bad science. Did you know that for some 700 years the speed of light was thought to be about 30 miles an hour? Things change.

But back to the story; there is a suggestion of a waterfall-churn being at that narrow point south of Portugal- as if, water on the other side flowed for a long time. And, if you draw a straight line, 90 degrees from that point, you wind up on Mt Ararat.

I dunno; the tale is repeated through some 110 civilizations. Record keeping, as date-keeping was spotty back then. But upon a re-read of the tale, through modern eyes, it just keeps seeming more possible, not less.

As to this density of the solar wind; is there no study on this? Are these just guesses- that's all I've gotten so far. Or is even the actual concept of a pole reversal well known? I know it's been a heck of a long time since one happened...

Re:Can someone answer this honest question? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28557259)

Pole reversal ... the poles stay where they are ... its only the magnetic pole that moves .. even then its happened many times over Geologic history. The flood is posited to have been around the black sea (from NatgeoTV) bosphorus breakin thru and drowning an early Garden of Eden which would have been very fertile and warm.

Re:Can someone answer this honest question? (1)

amicusNYCL (1538833) | more than 5 years ago | (#28558047)

There's a great many people trying to make God go away. Kinda sad, really. No one tries to make Buddah go away, or discount Ra, or dispute Karma.

Just to point out, everyone who has ever taken the moral high ground with me based on religion, or anyone who has ever tried to shove religion down my throat, or sell it to me from my doorstep, have all worshiped the Christian god. I'm counting Muslims among these people as well, Islam is basically a breakaway Christian sect. I've never seen a Buddhist running around with an AK looking to kill anyone who doesn't believe in Buddha, and I haven't heard of any Egyptian campaigns, or crusades if you will, to spread their religion around the world. People who have a negative reaction towards the Christian god have that reaction probably because it has been shoved down their throat from day 1 with people claiming that if you don't believe the same thing you're automatically wrong about whatever you're arguing.

Re:Can someone answer this honest question? (1)

WheelDweller (108946) | more than 5 years ago | (#28558441)

Well maybe you need to look closer; Muslims are *ordered* to kill if they can't enslave the non-Muslim. After Muhommod got back from Medina (and whatever happened there) the religion took an entirely different turn.

Christrianity is constrained _against_ killing. The parable of the tares for example. Tares look just like wheat until the harvest time, but are poisonous. Given the notion that God'd field was sprinkled with tare, a servant asks what to do about them- want us to cull them? He very clearly says "no" and continues to say that not only is it not our job to do the sorting, but to wait for the sorting until harvest. We're even NOT supposed to smack people when they've wronged us, because that's His job.

Clearly, the two are about as different as a tomato and a suspension bridge.

But notice:

1) I'm not shoving. There's no AK in my hand, and anyone using one to convert to Christ is clearly not Christian.

2) You're free to believe what you want, even if you're intentionally mean to me (or Him).

3) There's even a clause where, if you get salvation then decide you don't want it, where you can give up God's grace and be done with it.

Christianity isn't hateful or dangerous; anyone claiming to be Christian using these tactics is wrong. But no surprise there- the content of the religion contains _people_ not toasters. People are like that.

That's all. Kinda a difference, one centered on killing, one centered on life.

Re:Can someone answer this honest question? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28561987)

Ignorance, the beautiful step sister of idiocy.

Re:Can someone answer this honest question? (1)

dave420 (699308) | more than 5 years ago | (#28558599)

I hate to derail the discussion, but you did ask for it. People don't try to make Buddha go away because Buddha never claimed to be a god. He always maintained that he was just a man. So why try to make him go away? People have issues with Christianity because they see things like the Pope saying condoms don't prevent AIDS, ministers railing against gay people, and thousands upon thousands of Christians making a mockery of marriage by getting divorced all over the place. People are just fed up with hypocrisy and such obvious hatred. And, yes, the Bible has been correct about a few things. But it's been sooo wrong on soooo many more things, it's pointless to try to use it as a source of fact, as you might as well make the truth up - you've got just as much chance of being right. And you might want to read this list [ods.org] of crucified saviours, some of whom are claimed to have ascended to heaven, with just as much evidence for it as for Jesus.

Re:Can someone answer this honest question? (1)

WheelDweller (108946) | more than 5 years ago | (#28559021)

Did you notice that every instance you quoted was about the errant people of God, not God himself? That's the nature of people; look around you. People are hypocrits- it's their nature.

The 'big-picture' of a proper Christian has him taking the (metaphoric) leap and comin to Christ. From that point on, he does his best to be just like Him. No one ever makes it, but the attempt is what's important.

Look at David; after many years of the Hebrew people begging God for a man-king, and God telling them "you won't like it", David rose through the ranks as a man subservient and powerful. He fought for like 25+ years and never lost a fight. He was 'golden'.

But one day he, too, he eyed the wife of his junior commander. They had an affair- he even sent the commander to a kamikaze patrol where he died. (Uriah). This guy, as 'good' as he was, he too fell from grace. We all do!

We're all screwups in His eyes; Christ gives us the reason to be redeemed.

Everyone talks about "life should be simpler", and "what's wrong with man? (for the hate and the killing)" both are answered by the same book: we screwed up due to an external influence. It doesn't force us, we give into it.

That's the life of a Christian. You won't find it on TV; there, only recalitrant Catholics and antique (Jewish) sects are known. But then, the people that put shows on TV are working to make Him disappear, too.

NONETHELESS...

Does no one know the answer? Surely NASA does, right?

Re:Can someone answer this honest question? (1)

MightyDrunken (1171335) | more than 5 years ago | (#28558361)

I keep going over the proof for Noah's flood. It's not as far-flung as it sounds if you actually RTFM. It calls for a number of animals that would fit in a rowboat- it doesn't have to be millions. And it doesn't have to be a full world, either: Rome 'taxed the world' and I'm certain they didn't get New Jersey.

What? Considering there are thousands of species of mammals, birds, amphibians and reptiles each. Plus 100,000s of species of plants and millions of species of insects it must be quite a large row boat. No they could not have evolved suddenly in the last few thousand years, into the multitude we see today.

So here's the question.

What *actually* happens when the poles reverse and the Van Allen (etc) belts come down for a short time? The solar wind, largely H3 I'm told, touches an oxygen-covered surface at 33,000mph. So hot hydrogen..on oxygen...rain?

Well the Van Allen belts will dissipate presumably dumping some charged particles in the atmosphere. The reduced magnetic field will allow more solar wind and cosmic rays to hit the atmosphere. But considering there have been many such reversals over time and life has survived fine it's probably not that bad. Regarding rain well I don't know but as the last reversal [wikipedia.org] was 780,000 years ago I doubt it was ever recorded. Homo sapiens are believed to have originated 200,000 years ago.

Re:Can someone answer this honest question? (1)

WheelDweller (108946) | more than 5 years ago | (#28558707)

Again; the specification of the story have us all making assumptions that don't make sense.

It's the supposition of John Clayton, a geologist, that the flood was partial. The list (which you can still read today) talks about pairs of categories of animals. Birds and fish aren't even on the list- they could survive it anyway. But over the years, we take with us the notion that 'all' animals were in the ark, when that's not what the story says.

Now while I can't point to various proof and close the case, there sure seems to be a great deal of circumstantial evidence. How does something like 110 civilizations get someone saving them all from a great flood in their distant histories? It's not like it was a catchy tune like the Macarana. :)

But really- anyone know the _actual_ presumed effect of the solar wind on the bare planet's surface?

OR.... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28554463)

DUH, scientists have found significant evidence that we're all leftovers from old stars and supernovas. Its no surprise that everything in our vicinity would be very similar to each other, since we all came from the same place.

Actually.... (0, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28554711)

In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth. Now the earth was formless and empty, darkness was over the surface of the deep, and the Spirit of God was hovering over the waters. And God said, "Let there be light," and there was light. God saw that the light was good, and He separated the light from the darkness. God called the light "day," and the darkness he called "night." And there was evening, and there was morningâ"the first day.

And God said, "Let there be an expanse between the waters to separate water from water." So God made the expanse and separated the water under the expanse from the water above it. And it was so. God called the expanse "sky." And there was evening, and there was morningâ"the second day.

And God said, "Let the water under the sky be gathered to one place, and let dry ground appear." And it was so. God called the dry ground "land," and the gathered waters he called "seas." And God saw that it was good.

Then God said, "Let the land produce vegetation: seed-bearing plants and trees on the land that bear fruit with seed in it, according to their various kinds." And it was so. The land produced vegetation: plants bearing seed according to their kinds and trees bearing fruit with seed in it according to their kinds. And God saw that it was good. And there was evening, and there was morningâ"the third day.

And God said, "Let there be lights in the expanse of the sky to separate the day from the night, and let them serve as signs to mark seasons and days and years, and let them be lights in the expanse of the sky to give light on the earth." And it was so. God made two great lightsâ"the greater light to govern the day and the lesser light to govern the night. He also made the stars. God set them in the expanse of the sky to give light on the earth, 18 to govern the day and the night, and to separate light from darkness. And God saw that it was good. And there was evening, and there was morningâ"the fourth day.

And God said, "Let the water teem with living creatures, and let birds fly above the earth across the expanse of the sky." So God created the great creatures of the sea and every living and moving thing with which the water teems, according to their kinds, and every winged bird according to its kind. And God saw that it was good. God blessed them and said, "Be fruitful and increase in number and fill the water in the seas, and let the birds increase on the earth." And there was evening, and there was morningâ"the fifth day.

And God said, "Let the land produce living creatures according to their kinds: livestock, creatures that move along the ground, and wild animals, each according to its kind." And it was so. God made the wild animals according to their kinds, the livestock according to their kinds, and all the creatures that move along the ground according to their kinds. And God saw that it was good.

Then God said, "Let us make man in our image, in our likeness, and let them rule over the fish of the sea and the birds of the air, over the livestock, over all the earth, and over all the creatures that move along the ground."

So God created man in his own image,
              in the image of God he created him;
              male and female he created them.

God blessed them and said to them, "Be fruitful and increase in number; fill the earth and subdue it. Rule over the fish of the sea and the birds of the air and over every living creature that moves on the ground."

Then God said, "I give you every seed-bearing plant on the face of the whole earth and every tree that has fruit with seed in it. They will be yours for food. And to all the beasts of the earth and all the birds of the air and all the creatures that move on the groundâ"everything that has the breath of life in itâ"I give every green plant for food." And it was so.

God saw all that he had made, and it was very good. And there was evening, and there was morningâ"the sixth day.

Genesis 1

Re:Actually.... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28556889)

yea, but did God use comets to get the water to Earth when he was making it?

Re:Actually.... (1)

mcgrew (92797) | more than 5 years ago | (#28557637)

Then Eve went into the orchard, and Satan talked her into trying a bite out of the tree of life. And then she talked Adam into a bite.

Then they fucked, and Eve went down to the river to bathe.

God saw Adam cowering behind a bush and said "WTF???" And Adam said "er, uh, um" and God said "Damn it, you ate that apple, didn't you? Then you fucked her, didn't you?"

And Adam said, Uh, yes sir, I'm sorry..."

And God said "Ok, whered the bitch go?"

And Adam said "she's down by the river washing up."

And God said "Oh shit, I'll never get the smell out of those fish!"

Ramen! (1, Funny)

bazorg (911295) | more than 5 years ago | (#28554731)

I can easily picture the Flying Spaghetti Monster lobbing comets around ...

I don't understand (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28554981)

I am tired of hearing that water or atmosphere have come from comets.
What are comets? Aren't they the remnants of what did not become planets? Don't they come from the same cloud of dust that formed the solar system?
So, what the hell is this theory that water or atmosphere or life comes from outside earth? From comets?

The process of formation of earth included comet and asteroid collisions. It's the way planets are formed. The whole planet formed from matter from outside of earth because planets are formed by matter as it begins to group by the effect of gravity.

Re:I don't understand (1)

Sockatume (732728) | more than 5 years ago | (#28556157)

Well, I'm glad you've got it all figured out, everybody in planetary formation research can go home now.

Re:I don't understand (1)

MightyDrunken (1171335) | more than 5 years ago | (#28558495)

I don't understand

Uh, huh. Well if you notice that the four inner planets are rocky and most are devoid of water. While the outer planets are made of gas and bigger maybe the material that formed the solar system was not evenly spread. The top reason for this is the sun is hot! Read an encyclopaedia [wikipedia.org] .

from the ??? dept. (1)

adavies42 (746183) | more than 5 years ago | (#28555109)

what happened to the dept tag?

These stories (1)

taucross (1330311) | more than 5 years ago | (#28555507)

I find these stories kind of unfulfilling. No matter how far we get back in nature's cause and effect, I'm still left thinking 'what came before that'. When scientists finally discover the root of all creation, I'll still be thinking the same thing.

You know what happens when you assume... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28555783)

Ever think that the ones we measure now don't have a lot of water because all the ones with water already hit the planet? Not to say that its necessarily likely that ALL the comets with significant amounts of water would hit the Earth, but we've only measure what, 4 comets, I don't think that's enough to make the assumption that the water on Earth could not have come from comets.

Maybe those commets formed at a different place .. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28555979)

Couldn't it just be that there was a high abundance of water or hydrogen and oxygen at least in the inner regions of the solar system that was just successively collected through gravity, when/after the earth formed ?

Of the inner planets, Mercury is simply too small and too close to the sun to hold water, Venus has almost the mass of the earth, but has a different athmosphere and is extremely hot. It's probably also just too close to the sun.
Closest outer planet is Mars, it's supposed to have had water, maybe still has some in frozen form. Mars is probably just too small, maybe also too cold to build a similar athmosphere.
So I wonder, if water molecules or hydrogen and oxygen maybe just haven been there in high abundance around the sun, but the earth was the most successful collector after all that's also able to holds a lot of it's water (not dissipating it back in space and not having a lot of chemical reactions on that use those molecules up again). The reason, why earth did it so well might just be that it has the right mass and is in the right distance to the sun to have the right temperature.

Maybe the ratio of normal hydrogen to deuterium was also dependent on the distance to the sun. So actually only the matter that clustered together through gravity around earth orbit has the ratio that we meassure on earth. The commets that were tested might have formed somewhere else.
I wonder, if the water on the Jupiter and Saturn moons shows a different ratio of deuterium and hydrogen. That might support that idea.

God did it. (1)

tbgreve (857544) | more than 5 years ago | (#28556037)

# Second day: God creates a firmament ("Let a firmament be...!") - the second command - to divide the waters above from the waters below. The firmament is named "heavens". # Third day: God commands the waters below to be gathered together in one place, and dry land to appear (the third command). "Earth" and "sea" are named. God commands the earth to bring forth grass, plants, and fruit-bearing trees (the fourth command). Borrowed From http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Creation_according_to_Genesis [wikipedia.org]

sure is taking a lot of faith (1)

night_flyer (453866) | more than 5 years ago | (#28556047)

to believe in some of these theories....

Re:sure is taking a lot of faith (3, Informative)

radtea (464814) | more than 5 years ago | (#28556671)

Faith in what? Have you read the paper behind this idea? It's full of assumptions and caveats that are explicitly laid out by the authors, pointing out that one can follow a particular thread of plausible but unproven argument, and suggesting ways of empirically testing it.

Ideas are tested by experiment and systematic, often quantitative, observation. That is the core of science.

Ideas are believed without question. That is the core of faith.

See the difference?

Re:sure is taking a lot of faith (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28557113)

Faith in the authors.

Re:sure is taking a lot of faith (2, Insightful)

amicusNYCL (1538833) | more than 5 years ago | (#28558083)

That's the good thing about science: when the authors not only describe their conclusions, but also show all of the evidence they used to come to their conclusions, you can examine the evidence yourself and determine if you come to the same conclusion. You don't need to have faith in the authors when they give their reasons for their conclusions.

What about Venus? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28556495)

Why isn't Venus's atmosphere mainly nitrogen then? I don't think comets selectively crashed into earth so they could build it an atmosphere.

I guess I'll disagree (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28557317)

Most of the nitrogen in the Earth's atmosphere is N-14, which is the natural decay product of Carbon-14. Likewise, most of the argon in the atmosphere is Ar-40, which is the natural decay product of Potassium-40. Therefore I'd say the comet comparison is just a coincidence.

Seeded by comets? Or not... (1)

dtjohnson (102237) | more than 5 years ago | (#28558359)

they say that the ratio of nitrogen isotopes in these comets almost exactly matches the ratio in Earth's atmosphere. That suggests that while Earth's oceans must have come from somewhere else, Earth's early atmosphere was probably seeded by comets.

Or the nitrogen in the comets and the nitrogen in the Earth's atmosphere had a common origin which seems much more likely, the story title notwithstanding.

RE: One of the biggest puzzles of astrobiology (1)

ewenix (702589) | more than 5 years ago | (#28559243)

This is only a puzzle if you come from a particular worldview.
Load More Comments
Slashdot Login

Need an Account?

Forgot your password?