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Venus's Surface May Be 1 Billion Years Old

kdawson posted more than 7 years ago | from the sister-planet dept.

107

dptalia writes, "For a while scientists have believed that Venus's surface is fairly young, having recently been covered by lava 1 to 3 kilometers deep. However, more study into photos sent back by Magellan seems to show that the cataclysmic volcano theory is wrong. Now scientists are postulating that Venus's surface may be a billion years old and could be probed to determine the history of the planet."

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107 comments

Robotic Lander (1)

Robot Randy (982296) | more than 7 years ago | (#16691007)

Interesting... I and anxious to find out how they plan on hardening the lander to withstand the heat and atmospheric pressure on the surface.

Not impossible, but it'll be a lot to consider.

Re:Robotic Lander (2, Funny)

inviolet (797804) | more than 7 years ago | (#16691089)

The Russian landers were built with insulating systems designed to buy them a couple of hours before being overwhelmed. That is indeed a Hard Problem.

Maybe we need to just buy a flare-riding ship, which carries a small black hole onboard that functions as a billion-ton heatsink. Anybody got the number for the Daedalus Club?

Re:Robotic Lander (1)

Ana10g (966013) | more than 7 years ago | (#16692781)

Daedalus Club... that's like the Red Carpet Club for interplanetary travel, right?

Re:Robotic Lander (1)

Urkki (668283) | more than 7 years ago | (#16700741)

Maybe we need to just buy a flare-riding ship, which carries a small black hole onboard that functions as a billion-ton heatsink.

No no, you're overlooking a significant detail. Portable size black holes are not cold, they're extremely hot due to Hawking radiation. So you wouldn't want to have one with you on Venus of all places. Pluto maybe, but not Venus...

However, a suitable amount of cryo-cold neutronium in a high-pressure container, now that just might do the trick... Negligibly small surface area means that heat absoption from the atmosphere is minimal, so all you need to do is calculate the amount of heat you need to have absorbed, and then take with you enough neutronium mabsorb that amount of heat.

Re:Robotic Lander (4, Funny)

SnarfQuest (469614) | more than 7 years ago | (#16691351)

All they need to do is drop a SUV onto the planet, which will immediately cause global warming. Everyone who goes to the movies knows that global warming causes the planet to freeze over. You can then drop probes (with appropriate heating installed), with some old oil drillers, to drill to the center of the Earth to restart the magnetic field, to insert a nuclear bomb at exactly 700 feet... ... Ouch, I think I'm getting my bad science fiction movies mixed together.

Re:Robotic Lander (1)

Renegade88 (874837) | more than 7 years ago | (#16691991)

You remember incorrectly. It's exactly 800 ft. Even 10 feet too shallow, and that nuke is completely ineffective.

Re:Robotic Lander (1)

jamstar7 (694492) | more than 7 years ago | (#16692819)

That's only if you wanna blow it apart. If you wanna restart the core, you got to get to the core. Oh, and have Hillary Swank with you.

Re:Robotic Lander (1)

Wolfger (96957) | more than 7 years ago | (#16703881)

Everyone who goes to the movies knows that global warming causes the planet to freeze over.
Hmm. I must've missed each and every one of those movies. Yes, global warming causes some localized cooling. Unfortunately, you're missing the key ingredient of polar ice caps to melt... No ice caps to melt, no lowering of localized temp due to global warming. Just a raising of the temp everywhere.

Re:Robotic Lander (1)

enharmonix (988983) | more than 7 years ago | (#16705563)

Everyone who goes to the movies knows that global warming causes the planet to freeze over.
Hmm. I must've missed each and every one of those movies. Yes, global warming causes some localized cooling. Unfortunately, you're missing the key ingredient of polar ice caps to melt... No ice caps to melt, no lowering of localized temp due to global warming. Just a raising of the temp everywhere.
For your viewing displeasure: The Day After Tomorrow (2004) [imdb.com]. IMDB plot summary: "A climatologist tries to figure out a way to save the world from abrupt global warming. He must get to his young son in New York, which is being taken over by a new ice age." Yes, global warming is responsible for record low temperatures too. Makes me think maybe Michael Crichton is on to something [michaelcrichton.net].

Re:Robotic Lander (1)

Salvance (1014001) | more than 7 years ago | (#16691379)

The problem doesn't seem to be the surface components and mechanical parts of the lander (since modern ceramics could easily withstand the temperatures), but rather the wiring and power systems since these would essentially use the same materials as 20 years ago when the Russian's probed the surface last.

Cooling (1)

joggle (594025) | more than 7 years ago | (#16691647)

The problem is keeping the electronics cool. Regardless of what they are made of, they must be able to get rid of heat. And unless you intend for the electronics to run at an even higher temperature than ambient (which would be absurd on Venus), you must provide a forced cooling system of some kind. No refrigerator has ever been invented for that kind of environment although I have heard that one may be possible by using liquid sand as a refrigerant (in what I would presume would be a multiple step heat-transfer system).

Re:Cooling (1)

Rob Carr (780861) | more than 7 years ago | (#16691979)

Use a laser to dump the heat. (Reference to Brin's "Sundiver," a great book for anyone who has ever had to take thermo and didn't kill themselves.) Liquid sodium was used in fast breeder reactors for the coolant systems for a number of years. I understand it was a bit of a headache. I should look up the boiling point of sodium, mercury, and a few others, and see what's closest to the temp on the surface of Venus, but I'm having a crappy day and can't be bothered. Shame on me.

Re:Robotic Lander (1)

creimer (824291) | more than 7 years ago | (#16691621)

If the surface is a billion years old and largely undisturbed, the environmentalist will file a lawsuit to prevent any lander from reaching the surface. Which is a shame considering that's the prime location for observing solar flares. I guess the real estate agents will have to settle for Mercury instead.

Re:Robotic Lander (1)

B3ryllium (571199) | more than 7 years ago | (#16697435)

Uh. I think you've got your planets mixed up.

Mercury would be better for solar flare observation.

we can send people (1)

r00t (33219) | more than 7 years ago | (#16700143)

The thick atmosphere will be great for running a cooler. Obviously that would require nuclear power.

To walk on the surface:

Use a phase-change material, possibly plain water ice, to keep people cool while they walk about.

The pressure is rough, but doable. It's 94 atmospheres worth. In terms of water depth, it's about 1000 meters or 3000 feet. You need to use a mixture of oxygen, hydrogen, and either helium or neon. (to avoid explosion, you don't add the hydrogen until your total pressure is such that the partial pressure of the oxygen is far below that of the helium or neon -- only then may you replace the inert gas with hydrogen and then continue to increase the pressure)

Nuh-uh! (3, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#16691037)

God made Venus 10,000 years ago, along with Adam and Eve and the fake dinosaur bones. And my grandaddy wasn't no monkey!

Re:Nuh-uh! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#16691293)

grand daddy? i thought grandpappy was the better term..

Re:Nuh-uh! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#16691713)

Actually, you can refer to him as "grand daddy", or "grand pappy". And if you're from Virginia, Mississipi, or Alabama, you can also refer to him as "daddy" and "my husband".

Re:Nuh-uh! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#16693341)

If you're from California do you refer to him as your "life partner"?

Re:Nuh-uh! (3, Insightful)

terrahertz (911030) | more than 7 years ago | (#16691453)

There are lots of Christians who have no problem reconciling evolution with creation. If you understand even the basic concepts surrouding an omnipotent creator, you understand that one could easily have created a world that evolves.

Unfortunately, this teensy bit of elementary school logic is lost on the more frothy-mouthed "supporters" of my faith. God help them!

I make a habit of mentioning this because I'm tired of fundamentalist wackos getting all the attention in this debate, and I do not take your lampooning of them as any kind of insult to me as a Christian.

Time to keep making the consciousness donuts!

Re:Nuh-uh! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#16692031)

I make a habit of mentioning this because I'm tired of fundamentalist wackos getting all the attention in this debate, and I do not take your lampooning of them as any kind of insult to me as a Christian.


So what you're saying is, is that the parts of the bible that don't jive with your own personal scientific beliefs are metaphorical and the parts that you want to accept even though they don't jive with your personal scientific beliefes you just accept and the rest is just flat out fact?

Point 1) The bible is quite clear on the fact that God created Adam, Eve and the garden of eden. Not that god caused the big bang and the rest follows from there.

Point 2) Jesus came back to life after three days. All scientific evidence suggests that this is impossible.

Point 3) There were Romans...

Re:Nuh-uh! (1, Flamebait)

Dystopian Rebel (714995) | more than 7 years ago | (#16692261)

If you understand even the basic concepts surrouding an omnipotent creator


You got me laughing there. It seems to me that it's the most "basic" reflex of all to invent a Big Daddy who's watching over everything, including my spelling in this post, all the planetary life wiped out by geological cataclysms and asteroid strikes, and the 700,000 Iraqis who are now dead because Haliburton shares needed a boost.

Unfortunately, this teensy bit of elementary school logic is lost on the more frothy-mouthed "supporters" of my faith. God help them!


Christians putting on airs because other Christians are even more stultified... That's funny. If you're a Christian, you've drunk the Kool-Aid in the form of some cheap table wine. (To wash down a three-cent biscuit if you do Communions.)

So... your omnipotent God. Either an omnipotent God created everything and lets the innocent suffer and everything rot without giving a damn, or a silly little species among countless others evolved and had to struggle with its fears so it invented Gods for comfort.

And this omnipotent God talked to Christians how? Via shrubbery? By helping Moses do magic tricks? By narrowcasting to humanity ~one~ son who talked in a dialect and letting mere Romans nail him up? The Gnostic interpretation of the Christian holy book makes more sense.

God, if Thou readest Slashdot, please smite Digg as Thou hast smote PayPal!

Re:Nuh-uh! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#16692539)

Militant atheism is approximately equal to spittle-spraying Christian fundamentalism. That's right, two turds in the same pool.

Go home. Live and let live.

Re:Nuh-uh! (1)

BiAthlon (91360) | more than 7 years ago | (#16693685)

The only way that comment would have been better is if it wasn't an Anon and I had mod points.

Brilliant!

Re:Nuh-uh! (2, Insightful)

da007 (242994) | more than 7 years ago | (#16692927)

"So... your omnipotent God. Either an omnipotent God created everything and lets the innocent suffer and everything rot without giving a damn, or a silly little species among countless others evolved and had to struggle with its fears so it invented Gods for comfort."

The point of Christianity is that there are no innocents. God is perfect and holy, and because of our sin, God is justified in letting everyone of us suffer. He is not obligated to any of us, and it's His Grace that allows us to be saved from eternal damnation.

Re:Nuh-uh! (1)

lovebyte (81275) | more than 7 years ago | (#16693533)

His Grace that allows us to be saved from eternal damnation.
Eternal damnation that he created, just to torture us, unbelievers/sinners/people he does not like, for eternity. That's sick, not perfect!

And by the way, who created this perfect being?

Re:Nuh-uh! (1)

trongey (21550) | more than 7 years ago | (#16694855)

...And by the way, who created this perfect being?

Who created the stuff that participated in the Big Bang?

Re:Nuh-uh! (1)

radtea (464814) | more than 7 years ago | (#16695501)

Who created the stuff that participated in the Big Bang?

Probably, no one. But as I scientist, I get to ask that question and engage in a serious search for answers that will undergo critical theoretical and emperical testing.

That's the difference between science and religion. Christians believe in god based on no creditable evidence, and asking "who created god" is heresy--to ask that question puts you outside of the limited, narrow bounds of religion. Scientists believe based on plenty of strong evidence that there was a point in the past when the universe was extremely hot and dense, and has been expanding and cooling ever since (the Hot Big Bang). And asking "what caused the Big Bang" is still well within the broad bounds of science.

Do you see the difference? Or has your religion crippled your mind to the extent that this is incomprehensible to you?

Science does not have all the answers. It has all the questions, and the honest answer that science gives to the questions at it's ever-expanding boundaries is: "We don't know." That state of being is the beginning of new scientific progress. Religious people want science to have all the answers. Scientists knoow that no one has all the answers. But we at least have the courage to face the unknown and ask the questions.

Re:Nuh-uh! (1)

trongey (21550) | more than 7 years ago | (#16698767)

Who created the stuff that participated in the Big Bang?

Probably, no one. But as I scientist, I get to ask that question and engage in a serious search for answers that will undergo critical theoretical and emperical testing.

That's the difference between science and religion. Christians believe in god based on no creditable evidence, and asking "who created god" is heresy--to ask that question puts you outside of the limited, narrow bounds of religion. Scientists believe based on plenty of strong evidence that there was a point in the past when the universe was extremely hot and dense, and has been expanding and cooling ever since (the Hot Big Bang). And asking "what caused the Big Bang" is still well within the broad bounds of science.

Do you see the difference? Or has your religion crippled your mind to the extent that this is incomprehensible to you?

Also as a scientist (sure, it's just a BS in Geology from a state school, but it's still science) I also get to ask questions. "Who created" was phrased to fit with the parent post. Now try it this way: WHERE did the stuff come from. That's my real point - cosmology and religion start at the same place. Either something that we refer to as God suddenly pops out of nothingness and the universe gets created, or the universe just creates itself out of nothing and proceeds to order itself. The two stories aren't really too different. They both have the same big fundamental problem at the beginning.

It's very unfortunate when scientists start to believe things based on strong evidence. That really gets in the way of proper science. The Big Bang appears to be a good theory, or at least a good working hypothesis. It's really still in it's infancy but it's a good place to start. Asking "how did God create the universe" is well within the broad bounds of religion.

No, religion hasn't crippled my mind, but it has helped me to grasp the fact that no matter how much I know there will always be an infinite amount that I don't know. Has intellectual hubris crippled your mind?

Re:Nuh-uh! (1)

Dystopian Rebel (714995) | more than 7 years ago | (#16703015)

No, religion hasn't crippled my mind, but it has helped me to grasp the fact that no matter how much I know there will always be an infinite amount that I don't know. Has intellectual hubris crippled your mind?


Both Science and Religion can help a person understand that his or her mind is too small to know everything and that we never will know everything. It's the subsequent assumptions that a person makes that will distinguish him or her from a superstitious (and frequently dogmatic) lunatic.

The Earth's much older than any of humanity's current religions. Today's religions are yesterday's and tomorrow's superstitious raving.

Pick up a piece of litter today: you will be doing more for humanity than anything written in a holy book.

Re:Nuh-uh! (1)

Heisman (1002013) | more than 7 years ago | (#16707055)

Pick up a piece of litter today: you will be doing more for humanity than anything written in a holy book.
So you think that the Bible doesn't have any good moral guidelines in it? Even if it were all a work of fiction (which I don't believe), it's still a good source of practical knowledge on how to relate to others. It's because of the Bible that I gave up 4 spring breaks in college to work in a homeless shelter, serving food and cleaning up after drug addicts instead of partying in Cancun with all of my classmates.

Re:Nuh-uh! (1)

Dystopian Rebel (714995) | more than 7 years ago | (#16707547)

So you think that the Bible doesn't have any good moral guidelines in it? Even if it were all a work of fiction (which I don't believe), it's still a good source of practical knowledge on how to relate to others.


The Jewish-Christian writings were written over a long period of time by a bunch of different blokes. Their "guidelines" aren't consistent, are often unclear, and range from quaint to obsolete. It's a mess. I don't believe that a sane Creator would write so badly. But then, I don't believe that a sane creator would try to talk to anyone through fiery vegetation. :o)

For anything you chose as a principle in your holy book, there's something somewhere else to contradict. Religions come and go. They last longest if they are used to justify tribalism and imperialism.

It's because of the Bible that I gave up 4 spring breaks in college to work in a homeless shelter, serving food and cleaning up after drug addicts instead of partying in Cancun with all of my classmates.


Well... helping people is who you are. Attribute it to "the Bible" if you like.

Many people read their holy book and then beat their spouses, steal, and have naughty liaisons that contradict what they proclaim.

Re:Nuh-uh! (1)

tburling (862578) | more than 7 years ago | (#16699469)

This post is awesome. It should be a 5 not a 2. I should send it to my 17yo daughter who thinks Darwin is a reincarnation of the devil.

Re:Nuh-uh! (0, Flamebait)

mfrank (649656) | more than 7 years ago | (#16694295)

So, what you're saying is, God's an asshole. I get it now. And you worship him why?

Re:Nuh-uh! (1)

RockModeNick (617483) | more than 7 years ago | (#16697329)

You know how the kids that hang out with and support the bullys get shitted on less? I think the idea is kinda like that.

Re:Nuh-uh! (1)

terrahertz (911030) | more than 7 years ago | (#16695831)

I don't claim to have the answers to your questions. What I do claim is the opinion that the philosophy of life espoused by Jesus in the Gospels is the most appealing philosophy of life I have encountered in my 28 years, that this current state of existence we enjoy is only a shadow of "real" existence (read up on theories concerning "The Holographic Universe" [crystalinks.com] for some scientific context), and that we are here in this current state to learn how to love.

That the philosophy of Jesus has been distorted, twisted, and flat-out ignored by others who merely label themselves "Christians" (eg how can you truly obey the command to "turn the other cheek" while participating in a military organization that requires you to kill?) is a tragedy more or less unmatched in recorded human history. I readily admit and accept that the name of Christ has been abused by some of the most repulsive and frightening people to walk this Earth. Perhaps it is such an inviting target for deceivers because of its proven and considerable power to affect people?

The Bible outside the Gospels is worth reading for context, but I don't base my core beliefs on those texts. The Gospels themselves are enough for me to live on. If I had to "speak for God" I'd say that it cares less about what "holy" book we bury our noses in and what building we spend our time in over the weekend and more about how we treat all of our fellow humans.

If you want a more modern crystallization of what I believe, the closest I have found is this Bill Hicks [wikiquote.org] bit:

"The world is like a ride at an amusement park. It goes up and down and round and round. It has thrills and chills and it's very brightly coloured and it's very loud and it's fun, for a while. Some people have been on the ride for a long time, and they begin to question: Is this real, or is this just a ride? And other people have remembered, and they come back to us, they say, "Hey, don't worry, don't be afraid, ever, because, this is just a ride ..." And we ... kill those people. Ha ha, "Shut him up. We have a lot invested in this ride. Shut him up. Look at my furrows of worry. Look at my big bank account and my family. This just has to be real." It's just a ride. But we always kill those good guys who try and tell us that, you ever notice that? And let the demons run amok. Jesus murdered; Martin Luther King murdered; Malcolm X murdered; Gandhi murdered; John Lennon murdered; Reagan ... wounded. But it doesn't matter because: It's just a ride. And we can change it anytime we want. It's only a choice. No effort, no work, no job, no savings and money. A choice, right now, between fear and love.

The eyes of fear want you to put bigger locks on your doors, buy guns, close yourself off. The eyes of love, instead, see all of us as one. Here's what we can do to change the world, right now, to a better ride. Take all that money that we spend on weapons and defenses each year and instead spend it feeding and clothing and educating the poor of the world, which it would pay for many times over, not one human being excluded, and we could explore space, together, both inner and outer, forever, in peace. Thank you very much, you've been great."

Re:Nuh-uh! (2, Insightful)

Dystopian Rebel (714995) | more than 7 years ago | (#16703977)

Terrahertz, I appreciate your considered reply. I want to let you know that I read the references you cited.

At best, a religion can give a person a philosophy for facing tough times. A positive attitude helps people survive prolonged exposure to doctors and in general makes things seem easier to endure.

Unfortunately, so do insanity and dementia. So the challenge for the Faithful is to prove that they're not insane or demented.

When I see religious zealots condemning scientific research and killing people in the name of Tribe, Scripture, and Kalashnikov, I have to say that these zealots have by their actions classified themselves.

Bill Hicks seems likable. But the holographic explanation and the Christian Trinity are complicated theories for the world in which we live.

Six billion monkeys who only needed cunning, aggressiveness, and a small measure of sociability to survive explains it all much more simply.

Yes, it even explains the Pope. :o)

That the philosophy of Jesus has been distorted, twisted, and flat-out ignored by others who merely label themselves "Christians" (eg how can you truly obey the command to "turn the other cheek" while participating in a military organization that requires you to kill?) is a tragedy more or less unmatched in recorded human history. I readily admit and accept that the name of Christ has been abused by some of the most repulsive and frightening people to walk this Earth. Perhaps it is such an inviting target for deceivers because of its proven and considerable power to affect people?

The Bible outside the Gospels is worth reading for context, but I don't base my core beliefs on those texts. The Gospels themselves are enough for me to live on. If I had to "speak for God" I'd say that it cares less about what "holy" book we bury our noses in and what building we spend our time in over the weekend and more about how we treat all of our fellow humans.

If you want a more modern crystallization of what I believe, the closest I have found is this Bill Hicks bit:

"The world is like a ride at an amusement park. It goes up and down and round and round. It has thrills and chills and it's very brightly coloured and it's very loud and it's fun, for a while. Some people have been on the ride for a long time, and they begin to question: Is this real, or is this just a ride? And other people have remembered, and they come back to us, they say, "Hey, don't worry, don't be afraid, ever, because, this is just a ride ..." And we ... kill those people. Ha ha, "Shut him up. We have a lot invested in this ride. Shut him up. Look at my furrows of worry. Look at my big bank account and my family. This just has to be real." It's just a ride. But we always kill those good guys who try and tell us that, you ever notice that? And let the demons run amok. Jesus murdered; Martin Luther King murdered; Malcolm X murdered; Gandhi murdered; John Lennon murdered; Reagan ... wounded. But it doesn't matter because: It's just a ride. And we can change it anytime we want. It's only a choice. No effort, no work, no job, no savings and money. A choice, right now, between fear and love.

The eyes of fear want you to put bigger locks on your doors, buy guns, close yourself off. The eyes of love, instead, see all of us as one. Here's what we can do to change the world, right now, to a better ride. Take all that money that we spend on weapons and defenses each year and instead spend it feeding and clothing and educating the poor of the world, which it would pay for many times over, not one human being excluded, and we could explore space, together, both inner and outer, forever, in peace. Thank you very much, you've been great."

The only good things that religion can do are 1) move people away from dogma, selfishness and tribalism, and 2) teach people to care for this planet.

Any religion that

Re:Nuh-uh! (1)

terrahertz (911030) | more than 7 years ago | (#16705909)

I want to keep our discussion going (and I already have several ideas to share about what you said above) but it seems like your response was truncated. Can you repost?

Re:Nuh-uh! (1)

Dystopian Rebel (714995) | more than 7 years ago | (#16707391)

This was the intended post. I pasted some of your text for reference while writing and then forgot to delete it. Silly monkey!

= = =

Terrahertz, I appreciate your considered reply. I want to let you know that I read the references you cited.

At best, a religion can give a person a philosophy for facing tough times. A positive attitude helps people survive prolonged exposure to doctors and in general makes things seem easier to endure.

Unfortunately, so do insanity and dementia. So the challenge for the Faithful is to prove that they're not insane or demented.

When I see religious zealots condemning scientific research and killing people in the name of Tribe, Scripture, and Kalashnikov, I have to say that these zealots have by their actions classified themselves.

Bill Hicks seems likable. But the holographic explanation and the Christian Trinity are complicated theories for the world in which we live.

Six billion monkeys who only needed cunning, aggressiveness, and a small measure of sociability to survive explains it all much more simply.

Yes, it even explains the Pope. :o)

Re:Nuh-uh! (1)

unity100 (970058) | more than 7 years ago | (#16695863)

ease up man. you have fallen into one major ironic gig.

also you got me going there : and the 700,000 Iraqis who are now dead because Haliburton shares needed a boost.

Re:Nuh-uh! (1)

RockModeNick (617483) | more than 7 years ago | (#16697303)

I'm not christian, and find this type of debate generally annoying, but given that humanity has free will, nobody should be blaming anyone but humanity for human suffering, and that goes twice as much with atheists using as it a reason there is no god.

Re:Nuh-uh! (1)

Laur (673497) | more than 7 years ago | (#16703281)

I'm not christian, and find this type of debate generally annoying, but given that humanity has free will, nobody should be blaming anyone but humanity for human suffering, and that goes twice as much with atheists using as it a reason there is no god.

I also find this type of debate annoying and pointless, but since you chimed in so will I. The free will "argument" is trivially easy to demolish, but I'm too bored right now to expend the effort. I will point out that the free will argument completely ignores human suffering and death caused by natural disasters (tsunamis, hurricanes, earthquakes, tornadoes, lightning, diseases and plagues, etc.). You know, all those things sometimes called "Acts of God."

However, it is important to point out that the Argument from Evil does not disprove all gods, only a benevolent omnipotent one (as the Christian God is supposed to be). It doesn't do a thing to disprove gods which are evil or neutral (such as Yahweh), or gods which aren't omnipotent.

Re:Nuh-uh! (1)

RockModeNick (617483) | more than 7 years ago | (#16708893)

I've always taken those things to fall under free will in that we have not taken the time and energy to prevent them, either by not living where they occur or not actively finding ways to stop them, that being something we should do using our sense of reason. I do love your point about it not disproving Yahweh, or other neutral Gods, cause quite frankly, the Book of Job is my favorite, and that God is one cruel bastard.

Re:Nuh-uh! (1)

Mortimer82 (746766) | more than 7 years ago | (#16697447)

It's called faith because people believe despite the lack of clear scientific evidence.

Personally, I do believe in God, but at the same time I choose not to judge anyone else based on what they do or don't believe. So long as I don't have to hide what I believe in, I really don't care what other people believe or think. And to terrahertz (911030) I like the way you put it, fits well with my point of view.

Re:Nuh-uh! (1)

mgblst (80109) | more than 7 years ago | (#16700805)

It is easy to laugh at peoples' beliefs, much harder to understand them. (I should know, I laugh at them all the time!)

Sheesh, I doubt the wafers cost 3 cents. What sort of mathematics are you doing there? More like 10 for a penny.

Re:Nuh-uh! (1)

BytePusher (209961) | more than 7 years ago | (#16692831)

IAAFC(I am a fundamentalist Christian) and I've come to terms with the fact that I don't know the past. It's possible that what we perceive quite clearly when they read Genesis is really a cultural imprint. Even a direct translation literally interpreted can lead to misunderstandings. So, when I read Genesis 1, I read it a lot like I read Revelation. It's very mystical and symbolic. Here's a couple of questions: Did God really just sit down and do nothing for a day? What would it possibly mean for God to 'rest'? On the sixth day he created man, male AND female. However, chapter 2 give an account of how Eve came to be and it seems day six was a very long day indeed. Long enough for Adam to look at ALL the animals and decide none of them pleased him. Eat some fruit and so on. Day 1, God created light and there was evening and morning, yet it wasn't until the fourth day he created the sun and the moon to separate day and night. Funny, there was a day and a night before the sun existed. There are more little quirks in the story the deeper you dig into it. My point, is that it's leaving out vast amounts of detail and it scientifically and logically doesn't make sense according to human perception. Though, I believe it's true, I believe I'm unable to understand what it really all means. I've come to terms and said, "God can do anything." I don't believe he made dinosaurs to test our faith, but to give us faith. If we are willing to look at the vastness and the beauty of creation. The absolute miracle that life exists in all it's forms. The beauty of the human mind, self-aware and other-aware. It's all amazing. I think atheists and Christians can agree on that. I think when we look at all of nature in all of it's beauty (in life and death, living and nonliving) we all start to believe something. When we see remains of gigantic creatures we're struck with awe that such things lived and moved. As Christian believer, I'm inclined to wonder just how wise and powerful God is. Unbelievers, I imagine are still impressed and wonder how all of this came to be. Let's at least both be humble and recognize neither of us have the whole story.

Re:Nuh-uh! (1)

chroot_james (833654) | more than 7 years ago | (#16693335)

Have you ever heard of physics? Because they're trying to solve all of that mathematically instead of saying, "poof. here we is!" The religions people believe in adjust themselves directly to match what people of the time understand about science. Why does anyone in any religion actually feel they have the real answer this time?

Re:Nuh-uh! (1)

fossa (212602) | more than 7 years ago | (#16694361)

Science isn't really a quest for truth. It's more of an intentional and directed quest for falsehood. For example, it can never be "proven" that gravity exists, "it's all just an exceedingly unlikely random occurance" is always a possibility. What science can do is tell you that certain things are false. For example, Aristotle said heavier objects move to the ground faster than lighter objects. Galileo, or so the story goes, showed this to be false by dropping unequal weights from a tower. Newton said gravity behaves in such and such a way. Einstein and observations of the heavens show that this misses a few details. Very narrow lists of statements not known to be false (e.g. the laws of physics) have proven very useful for many purposes such as building bridges, telescopes, and all sorts of machines. But it requires faith to take these lists as "truth".

Only mathematics has proofs, because we made up all the rules. The best we can do in the real world is identify falsehoods.

While much evidence suggests that the world is older than 2,000 years, I'm not sure of any undeniable way to prove a 2,000 year old earth false. I would agree that this is unfortunate, but creationists are at least better off than flat-earth folk. I mean, you can fly a plane around the earth if you want.

Re:Nuh-uh! (1)

Mr. Slippery (47854) | more than 7 years ago | (#16695309)

I would agree that this is unfortunate, but creationists are at least better off than flat-earth folk. I mean, you can fly a plane around the earth if you want.

You gonna lend me the plane?

Oh, I'm supposed to take your word for it? How is that different than taking the word of people who do carbon dating "proving" that the world is older than 6,000 years? Feh. Like you can't fly in a circle above a flat plane. This "spherical Earth" stuff is all a bunch of Satanic lies

You either understand that the world is flat (quadralateral, in fact, since the Bible refers to the "four corners" of the world), about 6,000 years old, that the first woman was made out a man's rib, and that we're all decended from incestual relations amoung their children; or you go down the path of sin and start listening to these evil "scientists" spin their web of lies.

Re:Nuh-uh! (1)

dptalia (804960) | more than 7 years ago | (#16693625)

Thank you for your rational defense of belief. A lot of out there are scared to admit on forums like this that we do believe!

Re:Nuh-uh! (1)

ballpoint (192660) | more than 7 years ago | (#16694851)

Can an omnipotent creator create unlimited numbers of omnipotent creators ?

Re:Nuh-uh! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#16696161)

Yes, he can. By definition.

Re:Nuh-uh! (1)

after fallout (732762) | more than 7 years ago | (#16698217)

Yes, but the real question is: does each one know how many the creator is going to choose to create before he has made the choice?

Which begs the question: can the creator make a choice?

Re:Nuh-uh! (1)

Dolly_Llama (267016) | more than 7 years ago | (#16697723)

Richard Dawkins, whom I find abrasive, had a cogent point recently.

The insult should be taken by moderate, rational Christians because the special consideration faith and superstition are given, even to moderates paves the way for firebrand Creationist idiots to swing freely under that cloak of well-intentioned respect for others' beliefs.

old samples (1)

Zeros (1016135) | more than 7 years ago | (#16691067)

If this is true that means also that if anything else crashed onto Venus millions of years ago we could still look at it, imagine if we found a meteorite that is a billion years old and came from a remote section of space.

Re:old samples (0)

geoffspear (692508) | more than 7 years ago | (#16691167)

Ok, I must be having a failure of imagination here. What exactly do you imagine that we'd discover from such a meteorite that would be worth the effort it would take to A) actually locate anything at all on Venus' surface and B) build something that could survive on the surface long enough to either retrieve such a sample or do detailed analysis of it on the ground such that would could make this discovery?

Re:old samples (1)

A Brand of Fire (640320) | more than 7 years ago | (#16691225)

A fascinating prospect to be sure, but entirely dependent upon the nature and composition of the crashed/impacted material; high Venusian surface temperatures combining with the highly noxious and corrosive atmosphere pretty much eat or melt away simple ores and many other types of materials. Russia's Venera and Vega spacecraft and NASA's Pioneer are probably little more than slag now, maybe even mostly evaporated into the thick atmosphere as trace elements.

Re:old samples (1)

SupplyMission (1005737) | more than 7 years ago | (#16691363)

We don't need Venus for that, we can already see very old rock samples from the very beginnings of the solar system. They are called chondritic asteroids [wikipedia.org].

Basically, chondrites are rocks that have been floating around in space since before the solar system was formed. From this we can deduce the bulk chemical composition of the Earth, among other things, because the solar system formed when the planets and the Sun accreted out of a cloud of chondritic dust particles. Many asteroids in the solar system (including the Oort cloud) are thought to be left overs from the formation of the solar system, that never became part of a planet or the Sun.

In geochemistry [wikipedia.org], rocks are often studied by comparing their chemical composition to that of chondrites. This lets you see in which elements the Earth rocks are enriched or depleted, compared to chondrites. This in turn can help you figure out the geological processes that may have acted on the rock, to bring it to its current state.

Re:old samples (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#16698497)

we live on one.

Thread predictions (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#16691069)

  1. Uranus jokes
  2. Urectum jokes following Uranus jokes. (Futurama)
  3. Global warming nuts telling us we'll be like Venus soon.
  4. Wow, it's hot on Venus.
  5. A buried flamebait remark about invading Venus for oil.

Read the article! (2, Informative)

drzhivago (310144) | more than 7 years ago | (#16691099)

The article says that the planet was believed to have been 500 million to 1 billion years old, but based on new data may be much older.

The thread title is misleading!

Re:Read the article! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#16691407)

Uh... you read the article. The title is correct.

Re:Read the article! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#16691707)

"Much of Venus's Surface Could Be More Than 1 Billion Years Old" is just a little too long for a title.

Re:Read the article! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#16691925)

Your correction is a little misleading. The article isn't referring to the age of the whole planet.

The planet is thought to be as old as the rest of the Solar System -- about 4.5-4.6 billion years old. The *surface*, however, has been modified by lava flows and other processes, and the debate is over how old (on average) the resulting surface is, and whether it was modifed en masse in one big event or over a more prolonged period of time.

It is pretty obvious that the surface of Venus is much older, on average, than the Earth's, because Venus has many more large craters than the Earth's surface does. Over time, an inactive surface collects more impacts. The geological processes removing craters from the Earth's surface are pretty active, so not many craters remain (large parts of the Earth are 200 million years old), even though it is thought both Earth and Venus would be similarly bombarded. The surface of Venus is younger than that of, for example, the Moon. Because the Moon is relatively inactive, it has accumulated plenty of impact craters since 3 or 4 billion years ago, many more than Venus.

So, how old is the surface of Venus? The old idea was that the "resurfacing" of much of Venus by lava flows occured in a relatively young event between 0.5 and 1 billion years ago (lava plains are very extensive on the surface of Venus, so this made some sense, and the statistical details of the crater sizes and distribution suggested a fairly abrupt resurfacing). Instead, this new model is suggesting that lava flows thick enough to do the job are not present, resurfacing occurred over a more prolonged period of time, and, therefore, the age of some parts of the surface of Venus may be considerably older than previously thought.

Re:Read the article! (1)

dptalia (804960) | more than 7 years ago | (#16693673)

Incorrect. From the article, emphasis mine:

suggesting that the planet's surface is actually very young - perhaps 500 million to 1 billion years old.

Not photos - radar images! (2, Informative)

dtolman (688781) | more than 7 years ago | (#16691239)

Magellan did not have a sungle camera onboard - it used microwave pulses (a Synthetic Aperture Radar) to map the surface of Venus.

Re:Not photos - radar images! (1)

Rob Carr (780861) | more than 7 years ago | (#16691815)

A photo is an image made with electromagnetic radiation.

I take infrared photos with my camera. Infrared, although not visible to humans, is a form of electromagnetic radiation. If I want to take a photograph of something when there's not enough electromagnetic radiation around, I can use an IR light source. The IR light source sends out electromagnetic waves. Those electromagnetic waves bounce off the objects I'm photographing and come to the camera and I take a picture.

Because of phase interference, there's even distance information in the photograph. Given the depth of field, my photograph contains a lot of distance information.

Microwaves are a form of electromagnetic radiation. So why can't images generated with microwaves be considered photographs as well?

Yeah, I know where you're trying to go. I just don't think it's a meaningful distinction.

Re:Not photos - radar images! (1)

MarkCollette (459340) | more than 7 years ago | (#16692405)

Photo ... photography ... photons ... That's a specific type of EMR, different than microwaves.

Re:Not photos - radar images! (1)

Rob Carr (780861) | more than 7 years ago | (#16692605)

Microwaves aren't photons?

I go to sleep for one night, and they change the Standard Model and no one tells me. So what are microwaves, and why aren't they electromagnetic radiation like gamma and UV and IR and radio?

Re:Not photos - radar images! (1)

BytePusher (209961) | more than 7 years ago | (#16692907)

They didn't you just dreamed there was a standard model. You've been asleep for the past 40 years, no one has had the courage to tell you until now.

Re:Not photos - radar images! (1)

MarkCollette (459340) | more than 7 years ago | (#16695121)

Ahh, I see you're arguing with my Greek translation using physics definitions.

Photography derives from: photo + graphos = light + drawing. I assume that by light they mean the visible light spectrum. But of course photographs aren't "drawn", so perhaps my literalist interpretation is too narrow.

Re:Not photos - radar images! (1)

Rob Carr (780861) | more than 7 years ago | (#16695363)

And, as I point out, photographs are often taken in the non-visible spectrum. Gamma, UV, and IR photos are still called photos. Why not radio waves. It's not a matter of it being "passive," either, as anyone who has used a flash to take a photograph would point out.

Now, a recent "photo," where the position of dark matter was calculated by measuring the gravitational lensing it caused -- I wouldn't try to argue that was a photograph. The photons did not bounce off the material being imaged -- they were rerouted by the gravitation and the position of the gravitational mass inferred from the deflection. The result of the calculation was applied to the image.

Not exactly a photograph in that case.

Re:Not photos - radar images! (1)

Kartoffel (30238) | more than 7 years ago | (#16695443)

I think Rob Carr was arguing with your claim that electromagnetic radiation with frequencies outside the visible spectrum are not photons. Radio, microwave, infrared, ultraviolet, visible, x-ray and gamma ray are *all* "photons".

If we're going to be pedantic about the narrow Greek definitions, maybe we should call it a mikrokimatagraph :p

Re:Not photos - radar images! (1)

WindBourne (631190) | more than 7 years ago | (#16701321)

X-rays impacting your hand and passed through to film is known as Xray imaging or wait for it; Xray photography.

Re:Not photos - radar images! (1)

dtolman (688781) | more than 7 years ago | (#16693485)

I disagree - I think its a very meaningful distinction.


The article summary implies that the discovery was made by studying photos - which is the common shorthand for images created by the passive capture of visible light. It also misinforms anyone not familiar with Venus or the Magellan mission into thinking that its been mapped similarly to how we mapped all the other objects in the solar system from orbit. Venus is unique - and the way the most accurate atlas of its surface was created was unique as well.


And still to date, the only traditional photos of the surface are courtesy of the Venera landers. All other images of the surface is via RADAR.

Re:Not photos - radar images! (1)

hyc (241590) | more than 7 years ago | (#16696965)

There are many fundamental differences. In optical photography your image resolution depends on a number of variables including the focal length of your lens and the distance to your target. It also depends on the surface area of your imaging surface (film, CCD, whatever). The image you record is exactly due to the photons striking your 2-dimensional imaging surface. It works based on the particle nature of photons.

In synthetic aperture radar you have a one-dimensional antenna. There is no lens or focusing mechanism. It works based on the wave nature of photons. The two-dimensional image is constructed mathematically (that's the Synthetic Aperture). One of the consequences of the math used in SAR is that the distance to the target cancels out, and so image resolution depends solely on the size of the antenna. You can't do that with optics...

I used to work in the JPL Radar Group, the same folks who processed the Magellan data. My project mapped the Earth using SAR, from the Space Shuttle. Our project (SIR-C) used 3 wavelengths of radar, with three corresponding characteristics of penetration. So we could map treetop foliage, ground level, and sub-surface. Magellan only had a surface mapper.

Color me confused. (1)

Phanatic1a (413374) | more than 7 years ago | (#16691371)

The colossal outpouring of lava thought to have almost totally resurfaced Venus 500 million years ago never happened, a new study says. If correct, it means that a much longer record of Venus's history is preserved on the planet's surface.


Okay, so the previously-held theory was that Venus's surface is ~500 million years old.

But wait!

Assuming Venus was exposed to the same rain of asteroids and comets that the other planets experienced, they expected Magellan would spot about 5000 craters on the planet's surface.

But they found only about 1000, suggesting that the planet's surface is actually very young - perhaps 500 million to 1 billion years old.


So according to this new evidence, the planet's surface could be...~500 million years old.

Bwuh?

Re:Color me confused. (1)

jcorno (889560) | more than 7 years ago | (#16691573)

So according to this new evidence, the planet's surface could be...~500 million years old. Bwuh?

That's the old evidence. The new evidence is further down. It says the lava deposits are not deep enough for the old theory to be true.

Re:Color me confused. (1)

stevesliva (648202) | more than 7 years ago | (#16691619)

The "old" theory said that the entire planet was resurfaced in one huge volcanic event. The "new" theory says that it was not one big event, and the the age of the surface varies more considerably from location to location that previously supposed.

Re:Color me confused. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#16692101)

Hello moron. Try reading the article below the point where you obviously stopped. The stuff you're quoting is the "old theory."

This would make the Scientologists unhappy (1)

Lawmeister (201552) | more than 7 years ago | (#16692965)

if they ever read any real science papers...

Re:This would make the Scientologists unhappy (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#16695567)

I wasn't aware that Scientologists attached any special significance to the age of the Venusian surface.

Strap yourself in! It's Velikovsky time again!! (1)

gd23ka (324741) | more than 7 years ago | (#16698923)

According to Immanuel Velikovsky ( Wikipedia article on I.V and his theories. [wikipedia.org] )
the Solar system has not always been in the configuration we observe it today
(Mercury - Venus - Earth - Mars - Dunno - Jupiter - Saturn ...) but in former times Earth was a moon of Saturn
and Venus a comet from outside the Solar system. According to Velikovsky the current configuration was arrived
at through a series of planetary cataclysms which expelled Earth from the Saturn system and locked Venus into
today's orbit around the sun.

Re:Strap yourself in! It's Velikovsky time again!! (1)

captainClassLoader (240591) | more than 7 years ago | (#16704259)

I've read Velikovsky, and I believe very, very little of what he writes. At the same time, you gotta give him props for his conceptual chutzpah, in thinking that the Solar System is essentially the result of a god-size game of cosmic 8-ball. ("Mars, in the side pocket, off the Earth...")

Re:Strap yourself in! It's Velikovsky time again!! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#16711881)

I noticed a few things about that post:

1) You note merely that Velikovsky made these tall claims. That's factual reporting disguised as sensational claims.
2) You misreport detail within his actual claims. He claimed that Venus was ejected from Jupiter, and did not claim that a captured extrasolar planet). He didn't develop his claim about Earth's relationship with Saturn (at least not in published material).
3) You don't state that Velikovsky's claims are fact, nor that they are fiction. Wise, and perhaps clever (see below).
4) Velikovsky's science (rather, lack thereof) was and thus remains dubious, and has been soundly and widely refuted. You probably knew this, especially in light of the above points.

You could be trolling, but more likely you're making a joke which will fly over the heads of some readers but otherwise deserve some +1 funny action. Velikovsky time again indeed. Someone gets it...

Good show.
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