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Was Earth a Migratory Planet?

samzenpus posted more than 2 years ago | from the moving-to-a-better-orbit dept.

Space 257

astroengine writes "Why our planet isn't a "snowball Earth" — a dilemma called the 'faint young sun paradox' — has foxed solar and planetary scientists for decades. Since the Earth's formation, a planet covered in ice should have stifled any kind of greenhouse effect, preventing our atmosphere from warming up and maintaining water in a liquid state. Now, David Minton of Purdue University has come up with a novel solution that, by his own admission, straddles science fact and fiction. Perhaps Earth evolved closer to the Sun and through some gravitational effect, it was pushed to a higher orbit as the Sun grew hotter. But watch out, if this is true, planetary chaos awaits."

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On the upside though (4, Interesting)

Fluffeh (1273756) | more than 2 years ago | (#39729469)

If this is the case, and the "chaos" that awaits is us migrating into a higher orbit, then whoopee, there goes us having to worry about the greenhouse effect... Oh wait... this isn't just another excuse not to curb our burning of fossil fuels is it?

Re:On the upside though (1, Troll)

geekoid (135745) | more than 2 years ago | (#39729543)

just so you know, CO2 is a poison.
Also, getting farther away and darkening the atmosphere isn't really a survivable strategy.

Re:On the upside though (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39729591)

just so you know, you're a retard.
Also, CO2 is not a poison.

Re:On the upside though (0, Troll)

Gideon Wells (1412675) | more than 2 years ago | (#39729633)

poison/poizn/
Noun:
A substance that, when introduced into or absorbed by a living organism, causes death or injury, esp. one that kills by rapid action.

Counter: It is. Though everything is in large enough quantities. Even water. It is all about the LD50.

Fairly stupid response (4, Informative)

SuperKendall (25149) | more than 2 years ago | (#39729695)

A substance that, when introduced into or absorbed by a living organism, causes death or injury, esp. one that kills by rapid action.

*breaths in*

That was just a bunch of CO2 I sucked in right there.

Even your argument that "everything is a poison in large quantities" is stupid, because it's not the CO2 harming you if you go in the garage and turn on the car - it's the fact you are not getting oxygen. The CO2 itself did not hurt you.

Plants also disagree with you. When you've made a plant frown how much lower can you go?

Re:Fairly stupid response (2, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39729923)

I think there's a difference between carbon monoxide, and carbon dioxide.

Re:Fairly stupid response (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39730001)

More CO2 comes out of a tailpipe than CO

Re:Fairly stupid response (4, Informative)

Algae_94 (2017070) | more than 2 years ago | (#39730235)

That doesn't change the fact that the CO is what kills you. As a poster further down mentioned, hemoglobin preferentially and strongly bonds to CO over oxygen causing your blood to not be able to transport oxygen leading to your death. It is extremely common to have CO2 in your lungs, as that is what we breathe out.

Re:Fairly stupid response (2)

QuantumLeaper (607189) | more than 2 years ago | (#39730405)

The Carbon Monoxide will kill you faster than the Carbon Dioxide.

Re:Fairly stupid response (5, Interesting)

Dialecticus (1433989) | more than 2 years ago | (#39730055)

Even your argument that "everything is a poison in large quantities" is stupid, because it's not the CO2 harming you if you go in the garage and turn on the car - it's the fact you are not getting oxygen. The CO2 itself did not hurt you.

Actually, it's not CO2 nor lack of oxygen that kills in this situation, but rather CO. As I understand it, hemoglobin bonds preferentially to CO over O2. Once a red blood cell has absorbed CO, it doesn't want to let go even when exposed to O2. This means that one can effectively suffocate even when there's plenty of O2 available to breathe.

This is why CO is sometimes used on meat. It keeps the meat bright red and healthy-looking so it will look nice on display in the grocery store. Without it, I think meat would tend more toward purple.

Re:Fairly stupid response (5, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39730057)

That's not true. It's not merely displacement of oxygen that can harm you; CO2 also drives blood pH down and results in acidosis.

Related: The increased acidification of the oceans due to CO2 is one of those things that's often overlooked when people start talking about CO2 emissions and Global Warming and all that.

Re:Fairly stupid response (3, Informative)

rujholla (823296) | more than 2 years ago | (#39730387)

I think you mean the neutralization of the ocean as the water is going from slightly basic to slightly less basic. It isn't acidification until you cross neutral.

Re:Fairly stupid response (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39730449)

I didn't invent the term [wikipedia.org] .

Re:Fairly stupid response (3, Funny)

rossdee (243626) | more than 2 years ago | (#39730887)

I thought the prevailing opinion was that basic was bad, (all those gotos) so removing some of the basic (and replacing it with something more structured) , would be good

Re:Fairly stupid response (5, Funny)

evanism (600676) | more than 2 years ago | (#39731363)

Its all a matter of procedure really.

Afterall, there are so many objects in the C.

Re:Fairly stupid response (3, Insightful)

Dahamma (304068) | more than 2 years ago | (#39730903)

It isn't acidification until you cross neutral.

Sure it is, just like water going from hot steam to slightly less hot steam is still "cooling". It's all just based on concentration of H+, with "neutral" being a given concentration in pure water. "Acidification" just means that concentration is increasing.

Re:Fairly stupid response (1)

Salgak1 (20136) | more than 2 years ago | (#39730385)

A substance that, when introduced into or absorbed by a living organism, causes death or injury, esp. one that kills by rapid action.

Plants also disagree with you. When you've made a plant frown how much lower can you go?

And then, of course, there are the side effects on making the plants sad. They don't fight off the Zombies very well. . . . .

Re:Fairly stupid response (1)

Lumpy (12016) | more than 2 years ago | (#39730391)

You need to set up a bottling system on your car. If it's making CO2, you can make a tidy profit bottling it with a compressor and selling it.

Man Stabbed. Death Caused By Anemia. (5, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39730541)

Your post is neither less stupid than the GP nor informative.

Re: Sucking
It was also just a bunch of CO2 you blew out.

Re: Your ridiculous claims.
*Everything* that kills you works by disrupting something your body needs to do to live. You might as well say paralyzing venoms don't kill you, it's the lack of oxygen because your lungs aren't working. Does that mean venom isn't poison? No.

Re: Car scenario
The CO2 in your scenario doesn't kill you. The CO does that. CO2 CAN kill you, though. Maybe you've heard of hypercapnia [wikipedia.org] . (Note the URL, too.)

Re: Plants
Just because something is not poison to ONE organism does not mean it is not a poison.

Re:Fairly stupid response (1)

count_zero451 (1251260) | more than 2 years ago | (#39730679)

Too much CO2 isn't too good for you, either. If you get a build-up of CO2 in your blood, the CO2 equilibrates with carbonic acid, lowering your blood's pH. This has all kinds of nasty effects. Our bodies like to live with a pH of about 7.35. Get below 7 and you won't last very long.

Re:Fairly stupid response (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39730745)

Look, if I pump enough CO2 into your lungs, eventually you'll explode like a balloon. So, too much CO2 is lethal. mkay?

Re:Fairly stupid response (1)

MaskedSlacker (911878) | more than 2 years ago | (#39730913)

Even your argument that "everything is a poison in large quantities" is stupid, because it's not the CO2 harming you if you go in the garage and turn on the car - it's the fact you are not getting oxygen. The CO2 itself did not hurt you.

So cyanide is not a poison?

Re:Fairly stupid response (4, Informative)

camperdave (969942) | more than 2 years ago | (#39730931)

So cyanide is not a poison?

Not in small enough quantities. Cyanide(s) have been used in the treatment of certain cancers, tuberculosis and even leprosy.

Re:Fairly stupid response (1)

AvitarX (172628) | more than 2 years ago | (#39731125)

My understanding is that it's really hard to kill yourself with the exhaust of a modern car, because there isn't so much of the very poisonous CO in it.

Also, when you breathe in normal air it isn't much CO2, it's essentially nitrogen (85 percent if I remember right) and oxygen (15 percent). Global warming is caused by an increase of .005 to .006 percent CO2 (may be off by an order of magnitude).

Aside from the fact that gp agrees O2 is a poison (I'm guessing the body can take double the relatively inert CO2 better than it could handle a doubling of the very reactive O2).

Re:On the upside though (3, Informative)

DigiShaman (671371) | more than 2 years ago | (#39729661)

So is O2. It takes life and sunlight to constantly replenish the element back into our atmosphere. Otherwise it will just be bound up in oxidation with something else. Most of it already has been with iron. Excess O2 did not start accumulating until about 1.7 billion years ago.

Re:On the upside though (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39729665)

just so you know, CO2 is a poison.
Also, getting farther away and darkening the atmosphere isn't really a survivable strategy.

So is dihydrogen monoxide.

Re:On the upside though (5, Funny)

FatdogHaiku (978357) | more than 2 years ago | (#39729843)

Hey, dihydrogen monoxide is perfectly safe as long as you process it with grain, yeast, a bit of hops, and the correct amount of time... it was in fact this process that saved the world!
http://topdocumentaryfilms.com/how-beer-saved-the-world/ [topdocumentaryfilms.com]

Re:On the upside though (2, Insightful)

letherial (1302031) | more than 2 years ago | (#39730197)

That documentary had so many leaps and assumptions that it was hard to follow. Basically, it showed itself as so bias that the worship of beer seemed more important then facts; undermining the very fabricate of truth it tried to create. It makes such a leap that if it wasn't for beer, civilized society would of never been created, but the impossibility of knowing that is really never mentioned. There are more then just one thing that started civilization moving, declaring it all to revolve around beer is ridiculous. What about the wheel, same argument could be made. While i admit beer has a strong place in our history, it is not the end-all-be-all that this documentary tried to make it seem. At least, that was my impression of it; i guess if i was a beer lover, i may of seen it different, or maybe if i would of been interested in the whole thing, i was over a friends house and barley paying attention, so watch it for yourselves.

Re:On the upside though (3, Funny)

Lumpy (12016) | more than 2 years ago | (#39730403)

"It makes such a leap that if it wasn't for beer, civilized society would of never been created, but the impossibility of knowing that is really never mentioned. "

Agreed, it's preposterous.

Everyone knows that civilized society came about when Whiskey and Gin was invented. And yes I count a good brandy in there as well.

Re:On the upside though (1)

Lumpy (12016) | more than 2 years ago | (#39730377)

But it makes beer so much more enjoyable... I'd rather have fizzy beer than the planet. And most men would agree.

Re:On the upside though (0)

cpu6502 (1960974) | more than 2 years ago | (#39729763)

We won't curb our fossil fuel use any way... there's no viable alternative (especially for mobile devices like cars, planes, long-distance freight trucks, ships). It would mean living like they lived in the pre-oil age (1800s).

BTW wasn't earth a Snowball already? That didn't seem to affect its ability to warm-up later on. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Snowball_Earth [wikipedia.org]

Re:On the upside though (2)

Jeremi (14640) | more than 2 years ago | (#39729861)

We won't curb our fossil fuel use any way...

We will when we run out.

Re:On the upside though (5, Funny)

busyqth (2566075) | more than 2 years ago | (#39729939)

It won't run out because oil is being constantly created in the earth's mantle, just like blood is continuously manufactured by marrow.
Both Mantle and Marrow start with 'M'.
Think about it.

Re:On the upside though (2)

Known Nutter (988758) | more than 2 years ago | (#39730015)

Not sure if my sarcasm detector is broken, but when you go popping a bunch of holes in your body, pay close attention to your marrow's inability to manufacture enough new blood to keep up with gravity's demand of placing your blood all over the floor.

I think my sarcasm detector is busted, though I'm gonna post the above anyway since I put a fair amount of thought into it...

Re:On the upside though (1)

mooingyak (720677) | more than 2 years ago | (#39730335)

From my end that was either superbly done, or it hasn't occurred to you that you can bleed out even when your blood has to go against gravity to exit your body.

I honestly can't tell.

Re:On the upside though (2)

R3d M3rcury (871886) | more than 2 years ago | (#39730675)

I think you missed it. I believe he was referring to the Abiogenic petroleum origin theory [wikipedia.org] , which is generally discredited (and, thus, his silly example where both Mantle and Marrow start with 'M').

Of course, if you have to explain it, it isn't funny.

Re:On the upside though (5, Informative)

Lumpy (12016) | more than 2 years ago | (#39730457)

"We won't curb our fossil fuel use any way... there's no viable alternative"

That is a completely full of ridiculousness statement.

There is no viable alternative, By what measure, that there is already 80,000 stations selling hydrogen on every street corner for $1.22 a gallon? That you dont already have your home covered in solar?

Fools make such statements. Solar is a highly viable alternative to home energy, Even as far north as Copper harbor, MI there are off the grid homes and even state buildings that have a 5KW solar install that works even on cloudy days (that is easy to do BTW) As for cars, electric storage is coming about, and if you paid for it you could have one built that will go 300 miles on a single charge. bio-diesel, switchgrass, there are a ton of other sources of fuel for use in an Internal Combustion engine if you MUST stick with that old outdated technology.

Will it do 0-60 in 2.4 seconds and take up 3 lanes of traffic and carry 80 people? No, the canyonero gigantor truck people will have to suffer. Will it make a small 4 seater? yes it will. Even a small 4 seater 4X4 truck if you really need one because you live miles away from roads. The technology is there already, it's just most amercians are too stupid to understand it. They think they NEED 300HP and to carry 7 passengers + 40 cu FT of cargo all the time.

You dont. Just like you dont need to have 60 light bulbs in your home burning with 120Watts of light in each of them. Be realistic and suddenly alternatives start popping up everywhere.

Hell you can run a internal Combustion engine off of WOOD! Google it for some education.

Will it require americans to stop being idiots and actually learn things about daily life? yes. And if that is what you are talking about, people being required to have a solid basic education about most everything like they did in the 1800's, then that is a good thing.

none of the caravans crossing the United states, waited for AAA to change their wagon wheel.

Re:On the upside though (2, Informative)

dudpixel (1429789) | more than 2 years ago | (#39731075)

yeah we have all this great technology but can the average person afford it? no, they cant.

we have solar here in australia. the govt provides a rebate which kind of makes it seem attractive, but the truth is that the panels will often need replacing before you've broken even on the cost.

as far as cars go, many people buy second hand cars because that's all they can afford. I suppose if people buying new cars start targetting more efficient / hybrid / greener cars then eventually the situation will change.

but so far "green" cars carry a fairly substantial tax (ie. higher purchase price compared to equivalent petrol/diesel car) which often outweighs any cost benefit you get from it.

The only thing we can deduce is that eventually the cost of petrol/diesel will climb to the point where these other technologies are cheaper...and then people will start to switch.

Re:On the upside though (2)

hairyfeet (841228) | more than 2 years ago | (#39731307)

Uhhh..maybe you missed the story on the front page about how Asian call centers are being trained with tax dollars? [slashdot.org] You see to actually buy all this whizzbang tech, which is anything BUT cheap, you need...oh what is it called...oh yeah MONEY. That kind of thinking is why we have morons like Al Gore say "Well just raise the gas to $5+ a gallon and they'll all buy green cars or take the bus" while ignoring that in many places in the USA there simply are NO buses and the average age of a car in the USA right now is 11 years because nobody has any money to buy new ANYTHING.

This is why I've said for ages what we need is some common sense. What we need is a "people's car" that doesn't use batteries or any other bullshit that will make the price out of reach for the working poor, but instead build a car with a minimum of 40MPG with both a 2 door and a 4 door, and make the price $10k. THEN have a cash for clunkers program so that even the working poor can afford to trade in those 10+ year old gas hogs. If you can get it above 40MPG? great but it must NOT cost more than $10K.

Since the average MPG in the USA is 20 you'll have cut our fuel usage in half if you get everyone to switch and you'll also be producing more jobs the old fashioned way when businesses crop us to customize the new car. But all we are doing now is letting rich folks feel green if they so desire and from what i've seen most of the rich folks? really don't care about green, they are in a Lexus.

Re:On the upside though (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39730835)

Except that plenty of people and places are curbing their fossil fuel use and carbon emissions right now! Surprisingly, none of those places have reverted to pre-Victorian living conditions. That's not a surprise, really, because behaving smarter usually has a better pay off than behaving really, really dumb. So how about you forget about the 'we', paleface, and concentrate on the 'me'?

Re:On the upside though (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39730419)

Oh wait... this isn't just another excuse not to curb our burning of fossil fuels is it?

So what! Pollute away and call the extra week in each year Robot Party Week [theinfosphere.org] .

Re:On the upside though (1)

Just Some Guy (3352) | more than 2 years ago | (#39730711)

If this is the case, and the "chaos" that awaits is us migrating into a higher orbit, then whoopee, there goes us having to worry about the greenhouse effect... Oh wait... this isn't just another excuse not to curb our burning of fossil fuels is it?

How many billions of years are you planning to live?

Re:On the upside though (5, Funny)

Fluffeh (1273756) | more than 2 years ago | (#39731105)

How many billions of years are you planning to live?

Ideally as many as I can.

I of course plan to get fashionably mad into my second billion, but the recover after a bit of time in some choice facility. By that time though, I should have enough money to pay for absolutely anything, I deposited six dollars into a compound interest savings plan a week ago Tuesday.

Re:On the upside though (1)

Bruha (412869) | more than 2 years ago | (#39731387)

Not true, the sun gets about 1% brighter every million years so if we move away slowly then maybe that counteracts the increase in light output.

There's a theory out there that believes as the sun loses mass the planets move away slowly, so perhaps by the time the sun is a red giant, we would be far enough away to not get toasted.

Or maybe... (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39729497)

... another asteroidimpact caused a warming and creation of an atmosphere, while the byproduct of that asteroidimpact (called hencefort, the moon,) pulle us into a tighter orbit for those first few 100 laps around the sun, needed for the orbit to stabilise?

Earth is migratory (3, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39729505)

Earth is migratory

In fact, Earth received a Blue-green card as early as 3.5 billion years ago after passing a solar naturalization test.

Funny pages (3, Funny)

paiute (550198) | more than 2 years ago | (#39729519)

"And then a miracle occurs" makes a good punchline but lousy science.

Re:Funny pages (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39729667)

Used that on my calc test the other day.

Re:Funny pages (3, Insightful)

Guppy06 (410832) | more than 2 years ago | (#39729827)

It makes for fantastic science if you then go on to investigate and describe the miracle. "Oh, wow! How did that happen?"

Conclusions... (5, Funny)

busyqth (2566075) | more than 2 years ago | (#39729533)

It is the consensus of 99% of climatologists that the earth isn't a snowball and therefore it is a fact that the earth has slowly moved into a higher orbit at exactly the same rate that the sun has warmed so as to maintain a climate on earth appropriate for life. The more we fill the atmosphere with greenhouse gases and thus heat the earth, the further the earth will move away from the sun so as to maintain an optimum climate. These "inconvenient truths" prove that there is an intelligent designer of the universe.

Q.E.D.

Re:Conclusions... (0)

TWX (665546) | more than 2 years ago | (#39729559)

Repeat after me...

Correlation does not equal causation.

Correlation does not equal causation.

Correlation does not equal causation.

Re:Conclusions... (1)

MickLinux (579158) | more than 2 years ago | (#39729811)

Okay, so the fact that there was an intelligent designer and the fact that the Earth was intelligently designed are only correlations, not causation. But Occam's razor makes it reasonable for me to believe the causation, unless you can find a simpler explanatioon.

Re:Conclusions... (1)

TWX (665546) | more than 2 years ago | (#39730285)

What the hell does Creationism have anything to do with my statement? I'm pointing out the same fallacy as global warming versus the number of pirates.

Re:Conclusions... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39729823)

Repeating the same thing over and over again might brainwash you into eventually believing it but it does not change "reality" for the rest of us. You might feel uncomfortable with the idea that you might be wrong and there is an order and a purpose to this universe set in place by a creator but that is "your" problem. Deal with it.

Re:Conclusions... (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39729611)

These "inconvenient truths" prove that there is an intelligent designer of the universe.

Of course they do. But who is the intelligent designer? There are quite a few candidates so far. And there's also Me. I'll give you 73 virgins in paradise and point to point fiber. In return, you just have to donate a small portion of your savings to My Bank Account.

Don't listen to this guy. (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39729749)

He's a fraud.

I'll give you 74 virgins, your own OC-768, a stripper factory and a beer fountain. For a slightly smaller portion of your savings.

Also, unlike some other imaginary deities, I'll actually be explicit on those love one another and do not kill bits.

Re:Conclusions... (0)

aristotle-dude (626586) | more than 2 years ago | (#39731481)

These "inconvenient truths" prove that there is an intelligent designer of the universe.

Of course they do. But who is the intelligent designer? There are quite a few candidates so far. And there's also Me. I'll give you 73 virgins in paradise and point to point fiber. In return, you just have to donate a small portion of your savings to My Bank Account.

The god that is love. The god that does not promise sex slaves in paradise. The god that inspires man to move beyond base and selfish desires. The god that gave commandments like "Thou shall not kill", that god. That is the god that created us. We were created in his image but we fell. The image in this case refers to our creative, loving natures rather than what the result of the corruption from the fall. Whenever you help out someone in need then you are reflecting that nature god imbued in us originally.

Re:Conclusions... (3, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39729635)

It is the consensus of 99% of climatologists that the earth isn't a snowball and therefore it is a fact that the earth has slowly moved into a higher orbit at exactly the same rate that the sun has warmed so as to maintain a climate on earth appropriate for life. The more we fill the atmosphere with greenhouse gases and thus heat the earth, the further the earth will move away from the sun so as to maintain an optimum climate. These "inconvenient truths" prove that there is an intelligent designer of the universe.

Q.E.D.

Dude, if you can get a creationist to accept enough science to admit that anthropogenic global warming is real, that miracle itself is enough to prove the existence of God.

Re:Conclusions... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39729729)

Good example of Poe's Law [rationalwiki.org]

Re:Conclusions... (3, Insightful)

rtb61 (674572) | more than 2 years ago | (#39730371)

In the game of interstellar billiards quite unusual things can happens to planets over time. Slowly moving to higher orbits is not one of them. Interacting with other high gravity masses is, whether it's a object passing through the solar system upon it's own intergalactic trajectory causing a direct change or that object impacting other high gravity masses and causing an indirect change or usual orbits of high gravity masses within a system.

For decades science has avoided catastrophic based planetary orbits, it makes for messy science but over millions of years in a much more interactive galaxy and universe than originally thought, much to the fear of us tiny rock in space dwellers, catastrophic orbital patterns are all too common.

Catastrophic orbits of course imply major life extinguishing impacts, that's were the catastrophe part comes in and of course that's why science doesn't like to think about them too much.

Although it allows the hypothesis of much simpler and more logically planetary development models and those planets out of sequence being treated as just the result of catastrophic interactions, it leaves those scientist with such a gut wrenching sense of impermanence that emotion over rules logic and far more stable convoluted models are preferred.

Re:Conclusions... (5, Funny)

Red Flayer (890720) | more than 2 years ago | (#39730605)

Perhaps you should re-read the canon.

Book Secondi 3:12

Lo, for the baking of the divine meal
Let it be done that the goliath meatball[1]
Be moved upon the table[2]
At such distance that the woodfire oven[3]
Provides a strong heat source to allow for the Maillard reaction
To properly crustify the goliath meatball
And then let it be moved
To a sufficient distance, where it may
Yet leave the inside full of tenderness
Like the twin meatballs upon the bosom of a mother
His Noodly Appendage shall make such adjustments
Necessary to make it so.

Ramen

[1] the goliath meatball being our planet.
[2] the table, sometimes mistranslated as "the firmament", is of course, the fabric of spacetime
[3] there is some disagreement among scholars about this translation, but we know from context that this is the sun

Clearly, from analysis of scripture, we can determine that the Master of the Heavenly Forkful moves or planet into a lower or higher orbit to ensure that it cooks properly.

Mod up (1)

ridgecritter (934252) | more than 2 years ago | (#39731149)

Wish I had mod points for you. Maybe if I make a Sprinkled Parmesan sacrifice to His Noodlyness, I'll get some....

Old idea, no new insight (2)

MatthiasF (1853064) | more than 2 years ago | (#39729535)

Planet migration theories have been floating around since the 1970s. Nothing new, but I guess Discovery's standards are continuing to fall.

Re:Old idea, no new insight (2)

Artifex (18308) | more than 2 years ago | (#39729613)

I guess Discovery's standards are continuing to fall.

Last time I went to the site I saw articles on things like alien abduction.

Re:Old idea, no new insight (1)

jaca44 (2557600) | more than 2 years ago | (#39730287)

Yes! There have been better articles in Sci Am which indicate volcanic activity was sufficient to start the swing back from snowball earth; but that's not so exciting, is it?

What about the Theia impact theory? (1)

Artifex (18308) | more than 2 years ago | (#39729593)

Doesn't it suggest that the Earth was heated up a lot at the time? That could have jumpstarted the greenhouse engine.
Could have altered its orbit, too, probably.

Re:What about the Theia impact theory? (2)

AshtangiMan (684031) | more than 2 years ago | (#39730137)

It was pulled into a larger orbit by swallows. Swallows.

Re:What about the Theia impact theory? (4, Funny)

Brad1138 (590148) | more than 2 years ago | (#39730573)

It was pulled into a larger orbit by swallows. Swallows.

African or European?

Wouldn't a giant impact change its orbit? (4, Interesting)

Brad1138 (590148) | more than 2 years ago | (#39729605)

Kind of like this [wikipedia.org] ...

Re:Wouldn't a giant impact change its orbit? (1)

Fusselwurm (1033286) | more than 2 years ago | (#39730699)

Wouldn't a giant impact change its orbit? Kind of like this [wikipedia.org] ...

The moon-creating impact was my first thought also. But I can imagine that it may also have heated things up a bit on its own, all without significant chaneg of orbit.

Re:Wouldn't a giant impact change its orbit? (2)

ridgecritter (934252) | more than 2 years ago | (#39731179)

The giant impact lunar origin theory got a little less likely just recently. The original article in Nature Geoscience is behind a paywall, but you can read a summary at http://www.space.com/15035-moon-formation-theory-challenged.html [space.com] .

Basically, titanium isotope signatures from Earth and lunar samples are identical. For the giant impact theory to be correct, the impactor would have had to have the same titanium isotope mix as Earth, which seems unlikely if it originated elsewhere/when in the solar system's formation. But as usual, it's complicated. See the article and stay tuned...

The answer is easy (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39729649)

During its initial formation the Earth was molten and hot. As it cooled it continued to collect water from comet impacts or whatever (there is lots of water in a solar system). As it continued to cool eventually the planet reached an equilibrium between temperature, the amount of water on the it and greenhouse gases to keep it from cooling too much.

It's as simple as that.

Well, yeah... (5, Funny)

Lord_of_the_nerf (895604) | more than 2 years ago | (#39729691)

Up until it found it was having humans. Then it had to settle down.

Perhaps, perhaps, perhaps (1)

Cazekiel (1417893) | more than 2 years ago | (#39729707)

There are a lot of "maybe"s out there when it comes to these science theories and discoveries, but adding a "watch out" for planetary chaos at the end is so drama-llamas. I'm not going to worry, because even if it came about, wtf can I (or anyone) do about it? Gotta live out what we got in the here and now while doing our best to observe the future--rationally, not Mayan-Calendarly.

It's not that novel (4, Informative)

Daetrin (576516) | more than 2 years ago | (#39729911)

Well, unless he's trying to be punny. Migratory planets were proposed by Immanuel Velikovsky [wikipedia.org] in, among other things, his 1950 book "Worlds in Collision" [wikipedia.org] . His ideas were picked up by James P Hogan [wikipedia.org] for his "Giants" series [wikipedia.org] and other books. (James P Hogan was notable for adapting crazy theories into interesting books in his early years, but then digressing later in life to the point where he never met a conspiracy theory he didn't like.)

Re:It's not that novel (1)

ohnocitizen (1951674) | more than 2 years ago | (#39730157)

+1. Though in this case, the migration happened ages ago, as opposed to within historical memory (to the point it influenced mythology).

Re:It's not that novel (4, Informative)

spacemandave (1231398) | more than 2 years ago | (#39730985)

This work bears only a superficial resemblance to the ideas of Velikovsky (and I'm being generous here).

It was hit from the outside... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39730135)

... extra-solar planet, on the way in, hit earth, which was iced up back then, imparting both the heat neccessary to "atmospherize" (you like that!??) the planet, and the force neccessary to impel it into a "goldilocks" orbital.
Seriously, don't most of the astronomy articles dealing with our odd little solar system have their answers in that whacky old series of books called "The Earth Chronicles", written by that recently-deceased "kook" and "charlatan", Zecharia Sitchin?
We deserve another Dark Age; we sure haven't availed ourselves of Reason in this "enlightenment".
And before you "poo-poo" it, try reading just one of them. I've yet to meet anyone who wasn't trained in Anthropology who could hang through the first fifty pages (a real snoozer unless you care about how civilization developed...)
Got your G.O.O.D.s in order? :)

And this chaos will occur in (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39730143)

21.12.2012! Or was it 20.12.2012? It's much nicer looking date anyway. Like, two similar sequences of numbers a row. Oh, yeah.

Are you suggesting (2)

gstrickler (920733) | more than 2 years ago | (#39730181)

it was brought here by a European Swallow?

Re:Are you suggesting (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39730477)

That's African Swallow, you insensitive clod!

In the beginning... (-1, Troll)

p51d007 (656414) | more than 2 years ago | (#39730233)

In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth. 2 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. 3 And God said, “Let there be light,” and there was light. 4 God saw that the light was good, and he separated the light from the darkness. 5 God called the light “day,” and the darkness he called “night.” And there was evening, and there was morning—the first day. Believe it if you want, don't believe it if you don't, but it is enough of an explanation for me. It's something called FAITH. The problem I have with a lot of people is I don't try to shove my belief in god on them, but a lot of them want to shove their non belief on me.

Re:In the beginning... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39730341)

Who's shoving on whom here? If you weren't interested in shoving, You would have kept your mouth shut. Go troll somewhere else.

Re:In the beginning... (1)

Lumpy (12016) | more than 2 years ago | (#39730463)

O.M.G. you are a genius!

PRAY FOR MORE OIL! God will provide my brothers!

Re:In the beginning... (1)

busyqth (2566075) | more than 2 years ago | (#39730545)

2 Kings, Chapter 4.

Re:In the beginning... (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39730481)

It's actually sufficient to mock you for your beliefs, we don't need to force anything on you.

Christian, n. One who believes that the New Testament is a divinely inspired book admirably suited to the spiritual needs of his neighbor. One who follows the teachings of Christ in so far as they are not inconsistent with a life of sin.

Decalogue, n. A series of commandments, ten in number -- just enough to permit an intelligent selection for observance, but not enough to embarrass the choice. Following is the revised edition of the Decalogue, calculated for this meridian.
          Thou shalt no God but me adore:
                    'Twere too expensive to have more.
          No images nor idols make
                    For Robert Ingersoll to break.
          Take not God's name in vain; select
                    A time when it will have effect.
          Work not on Sabbath days at all,
                    But go to see the teams play ball.
          Honor thy parents. That creates
                    For life insurance lower rates.
          Kill not, abet not those who kill;
                    Thou shalt not pay thy butcher's bill.
          Kiss not thy neighbor's wife, unless
                    Thine own thy neighbor doth caress.
          Don't steal; thou'lt never thus compete
                    Successfully in business. Cheat.
          Bear not false witness -- that is low --
                    But "'hear 'tis rumored so and so."
          Covet thou naught that thou hast not
                    By hook or crook, or somehow, got.

Evangelist, n. A bearer of good tidings, particularly (in a religious sense) such as assure us of our own salvation and the damnation of our neighbours.

Faith, n. Belief without evidence in what is told by one who speaks without knowledge, of things without parallel.

Pray, v. To ask that the laws of the universe be annulled in behalf of a single petitioner, confessedly unworthy.

Religion, n. A daughter of Hope and Fear, explaining to Ignorance the nature of the Unknowable.

Scriptures, n. The sacred books of our holy religion, as distinguished from the false and profane writings on which all other faiths are based.

All definitions courtesy of The Devil's Dictionary by Ambrose Bierce, which is freely available online and contains a great many more examples of his superlatively sarcastic wit.

The Inside Scoop (5, Informative)

spacemandave (1231398) | more than 2 years ago | (#39730455)

Ah, so here's the deal. I'm the person that this article is talking about (David Minton, professor at Purdue University). I've been reading Slashdot for a fair number of years now, though it took me a long time to sign up and comment for the first time (I've always been a lurker at heart). Because I have a soft spot for all you basement dwellers (I kid!), I'm going to give you a bit of behind the scenes regarding this article, which kind of took me by surprise, actually. This is a bit long, so TL;DR: Science sometimes happens during panicked last minute coding sessions in hotel rooms prior to delivering invited talks that were procrastinated about.

So about five years ago my graduate school advisor and I wrote what was my very first peer-reviewed paper, which was on the subject of the Faint Young Sun Paradox. The paradox goes something like this: The early Sun was fainter than it is today, so all things being equal the Earth should have spend the first half of its life frozen over. Geologists tell us it wasn't, so something wasn't equal. What was it? We investigated the idea that the Sun may have been slightly more massive (something like 2-7% more massive), and that it had to lose most of that excess mass over a few billion years, which is at odds with measurements of mass loss of Sun-like stars. So we published it, and I went on to do other things in grad school, mostly involving trying to figure out the early impact bombardment history of the solar system, which we think may have been influenced by an early period of migration of the gas giant planets.

Fast forward to a few months ago, and a fellow at the Space Telescope Science Institute (the place they run the Hubble from) contacted me to ask if I'd like to give a talk about my old mass-losing Sun paper at a workshop that was planned to bring together astrophysicists, geologists, climate scientists, and planetary dynamicists to talk about the Faint Young Sun problem. They wanted me to also talk about planet migration and how that might fit in to the problem. Sure, why not? Revisiting the problem would be fun! The thing is, I've just started a new faculty job, and part of my job is helping get a new planetary science group built up at Purdue, so I've been extremely busy. And, well, I procrastinated. Big time. There was always some pressing thing to do that took time away from getting ready for the workshop. So the next thing I know, it's a few days before the meeting and I still haven't really thought about the faint Sun in about five years. So I dust off my old files, start futzing around with a talk, and the next thing I know I'm on a plane to Baltimore.

Late the night before the workshop is about to start, I'm racking my brain trying to come up with something new to say. You see, I've been thinking about early solar system history, and planet formation. Migration is a big deal in those early days. It's easy to get planets to move around in young solar systems. But the Faint Young Sun problem is a problem for the Earth's mid-life, not it's adolescence. Then I remembered a paper I really liked that came out a couple of years ago by Jaques Laskar and Mickaël Gastineau. They showed that our own solar system could potentially destabilize after a few billion years of seeming-stability due to Mercury's proximity to a chaotic region. It's described briefly here: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Stability_of_the_Solar_System#Laskar_.26_Gastineau [wikipedia.org]

What if something like that had happened *already?* So I futzed around with an N-body gravitational dynamics code remotely from my hotel room, in my pajamas, playing around with plausible initial solar systems where Earth stared just a tad closer to the Sun, but close enough to solve the problem of being frozen over, and Venus started out as two separate planets and then went unstable after many billions of years, scattering Earth to its present location in the process. And, when I checked the output of the code the next morning, I found a set of conditions that worked beautifully! So I had an intriguing new result to present at this workshop that tied in to some of my more recent work. I presented it with lots of caveats that, while intriguing, was probably not likely, and I hadn't even really thought about what other constraints there were.

There was one thing that I didn't really appreciate, and that was that this workshop was being webcast. Two things happened that are now out there on the Web forever. First, the audience pointed out a typo in a plot from my old grad-school paper that I had missed. It's a critical plot, and the typo made the mass-losing Sun idea seem worse than it really is. Oops. The second thing is this article, which is ultimately about my wacky idea (but it's so crazy it might just work!), but that I haven't spent the time poking around at to see if I can kill it. But I'm okay with that. Science can sometimes resembles play, and between writing grant proposals, committee meetings, peer review, debugging code, and all the other stuff that is important but not really directly about the science it's easy to forget that. A lot of it is really about just trying out new stuff to see what sticks, sometimes by standing on giants' shoulders and seeing farther, but sometimes by procrastinating too long and scrambling around at the last minute because you feel like you need to do *something* new.

This "jumping Earth" idea is probably wrong. I'm actually working now to find out how I might kill the idea dead (I'm looking at the effect a big collision like that would have had on the cratering record of the Moon, which should be a very tight constraint for an event so late in solar system history). I'll probably write a paper for peer review on the work once I've explored all the ways I can think of that might show that the idea is wrong. If I kill it dead, then at least we can cross this off the list of possible solutions to the Faint Young Sun problem (and there are already too many). If I can't, then maybe someone smarter than me will. Or maybe Venus really did wait a few billion years to finish forming and its precursors scattered Earth out in the process. The Universe has shown itself to be stranger than was ever imagined, and it's through the process of science that we've pinned down much of the details of its particular flavors of strangeness. Science can be fun and creative, and when I'm getting a chance to do it, I realize that I have one of the best jobs in the world.

Re:The Inside Scoop (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39730707)

thanks for your reply! :)

Re:The Inside Scoop (5, Informative)

IonOtter (629215) | more than 2 years ago | (#39730873)

Slashdot needs a moderation code for Awesome.

Thank you, sir!

Re:The Inside Scoop (2)

GeekyGuru (685472) | more than 2 years ago | (#39730907)

Does your theory take into account the additional heat generated by tidal forces when the moon's orbital radius was smaller?

Re:The Inside Scoop (5, Interesting)

spacemandave (1231398) | more than 2 years ago | (#39730957)

During the Archean, the time period relavant to this study, tidal heating was not terribly important. The larger internal heat from radioactive decay was higher, yet still dwarfed by the energy input from the Sun in setting the surface temperature of the Earth.

Double plus good post (1)

ridgecritter (934252) | more than 2 years ago | (#39731203)

Thanks

Re:The Inside Scoop (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39731291)

Bless your heart Dr. Professor Sir. Play is a the center of much learned and certainly enjoyed. Thanks for doing a wonderful job of explaining the fun of science.

What (1)

wisnoskij (1206448) | more than 2 years ago | (#39730615)

That makes no sense. Early in Earth's life it was a molten ball of lava because it was just forming and it had a heavy atmosphere since volcanoes spit out green house gasses like crazy.
As far as I knew early in Earth's life it was extremely hot, as even after life starting it was far far hotter then now and far too hot to have snow/ice.

Re:What (1)

Ambitwistor (1041236) | more than 2 years ago | (#39730925)

Yes, that's the paradox: the early Earth was warmer than it "should" have been, given what we (think we) know about solar output, greenhouse gases, etc. at the time.

apparrent (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39730733)

The answer on migratory planets is frightening apparent. No one above get's it.
I just realised what I was fighting all those years. That I am not special, that IQ scores do not mean that much. I was wrong.
Will share it with the author of the article and not here.

Err ... Mars .. Sheesh (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39730829)

All geological accounts indicate that Mars had liquid oceans.

Under this theory, Mars being significantly further from the sun should have been a Hoth planet. Instead, Mars oceans gradually evaporated and with insufficient gravity to retain even the heavier gases, Mars lost not only its oceans but most of its atmosphere.

The theory presented in this articles blows. First the needed level of energy to push the Earth away from the Sun would be ... errr ... astronomical.

But more than that, it does not explain Mars loss of oceans.

Re:Err ... Mars .. Sheesh (2)

shoor (33382) | more than 2 years ago | (#39731187)

I'm not an astrophysicist, but I'll respond to the part about the amount of energy 'to push the Earth away'. It's all about conservation of momentum. If one planet moves closer to the sun, something else has to move out. Big Jupiter might move in a little by pulling a small planet like earth or Mars out a lot. No energy is 'lost'. One might even argue that energy is not even used, just passed around. To give a relatively simple example of how the motions of the planets are more complicated than the simple models we learn as kids in school, consider that the fact that the moon is slowing down the rotation of the earth though tidal action means that that angular momentum has to go to the moon, so it's orbit is gradually getting further away from the earth. And yeah, some energy is 'lost' in this case because of tidal friction. It would only become 'stable' when the earth was rotating at such a speed as to be in lock step with the orbit of the moon so that the moon was always directly above the same place on the earth like communications satellites are now.

Intellectual nightmare (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39731293)

Trying to reconcile the garbage that is man made global warming with real science. It forces more and more people to adopt stupidity and idiocy instead of rational thought.

I fully expect the MSM to be chock full of lies, but here at /. I expected a little more honesty and rebellion. Ars-technica is now riddled with idiots who believe in man made global warming. Are you here the same now as well? Have you surrendered that much honesty and objectivity?

Re:Intellectual nightmare (1)

cheaphomemadeacid (881971) | more than 2 years ago | (#39731473)

Was gonna mod this down, but i'll reply instead. Sure there are lies about global warming. That said, what do you, personally, think what variables are responsible for climate of earth? Are you making the case that humans have affected exactly NONE of these variables? Because, that sounds kinda far fetched ;P
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