Oh! what a tangled web we weave
When first we practice to deceive!
Sir Walter Scott – Marmion – 1808
The major problem with Post-Normal Science is that it does not follow the Scientific Method:
Formulate: A question based upon observations.
Hypothesis: A conjecture that may answer the formulated question.
Prediction: Predictions from the hypothesis for testing in the real world.
Test: Repeatable and falsifiable tests of predictions in the real world.
Analysis: Determine whether the hypothesis has been falsified by testing.
Report: Openly, honestly and accurately record the procedure and data.
This has caused Post-Normal Science to steadily retreat from the realities of the “real world” with an increasing emphasis upon heuristics, mathematics, computer models, fictional invention, consensus beliefs, peer review [gate keeping], Orwellian knowledge management [“who controls the past controls the future”], propaganda [instead of free and open debate], blacklisting, blackmail [and de-funding], stigmatising [and polarisation] and [when all else fails] character assassination.
In many areas of specialty it is totally unacceptable to challenge [falsify] the basic tenets of the scientific belief system. This has enabled Post-Normal Scientists [in many fields] to develop an extended scientific belief system which crosses into the realms of fantasy and science fiction.
To illustrate this “flight from reality” the next few postings will follow the non-scientific inventions [“house of cards”] that have been built upon a [flawed] fundamental belief in Extraterrestrial Water.
Image credit: Jokeroo.com http://www.jokeroo.com/pictures/funny/cool-cards-towers.html
The belief in Extraterrestrial Water is deeply embedded in the consensus “History of the Earth” because “Water that was brought here by comets and asteroids” according to the consensus narrative:
Earth formed around 4.54 billion years ago by accretion from the solar nebula. Volcanic outgassing likely created the primordial atmosphere, but it contained almost no oxygen and would have been toxic to humans and most modern life. Much of the Earth was molten because of extreme volcanism and frequent collisions with other bodies. One very large collision is thought to have been responsible for tilting the Earth at an angle and forming the Moon. Over time, such cosmic bombardments ceased, allowing the planet to cool and form a solid crust.
Water that was brought here by comets and asteroids condensed into clouds and the oceans took shape.
Earth was finally hospitable to life, and the earliest forms that arose enriched the atmosphere with oxygen.
Reading further on in the Wikipedia article the definite “was” becomes a less than scientific “likely”.
In early models for the formation of the atmosphere and ocean, the second atmosphere was formed by outgassing of volatiles from the Earth’s interior.
Now it is considered likely that many of the volatiles were delivered during accretion by a process known as impact degassing in which incoming bodies vaporize on impact.
The ocean and atmosphere would therefore have started to form even as the Earth formed. The new atmosphere probably contained water vapor, carbon dioxide, nitrogen, and smaller amounts of other gases.
The promotion of Extraterrestrial Water theory [at the expense of the “outgassing of volatiles from the Earth’s interior” theory] seems to indicate that “outgassing” is in the process of being quietly erased from science and memory.
However, as we shall slowly discover, there is no observational evidence to support the concept of Extraterrestrial Water [it is just a product of wishful thinking].
Wikipedia is rather less forthright regarding the total lack of supporting evidence gathered from recent cometary encounters:
Planetesimals at a distance of 1 astronomical unit (AU), the distance of the Earth from the Sun, probably did not contribute any water to the Earth because the solar nebula was too hot for ice to form and the hydration of rocks by water vapor would have taken too long.
However, that doesn’t inhibit Wikipedia from back tracking on its opening statement by making the definitely non-scientific statement that “water must have been supplied by meteorites”. Comets are now relegated to “may also have contributed”.
The water must have been supplied by meteorites from the outer asteroid belt and some large planetary embryos from beyond 2.5 AU
Comets may also have contributed. Though most comets are today in orbits farther away from the Sun than Neptune, computer simulations show they were originally far more common in the inner parts of the solar system.
Unfortunately, Wikipedia isn’t exactly explicit about “who” insisted that the meteorites “must” supply water to Earth but it is probably safe to guess that is was “the programmer” who wrote the computer simulation.
NASA appears to be generally supportive of Extraterrestrial Water but seems hesitant to commit strongly to the meteorite theory:
26.2.3. Extraterrestrial Sources of Water
In view of the small mass of the hydrosphere compared to the mantle (1: 3000), concentrations as small as 300 parts per million of available hydroxyl in the accreting silicates that formed the Earth are sufficient to generate the total mass of the hydrosphere.
Thus the material in meteorites fallen on the Earth and on the Moon (Gibson and Moore, 1973; Apollo 16 PET, 1973) would provide ample sources for both the ocean and the atmosphere; they have a content of hydroxyl and water ranging from a few hundred ppm to several percent.
….. …. …. ….
The fact that meteorite materials carry sufficient hydroxyl to account for the entire hydrosphere on Earth should not be taken to mean that the Earth formed from any of these specific materials, which probably represent different condensation events and regions in space.
But the observations imply that primordial condensates in different parts of the solar system, although varying markedly in chemical composition, have incorporated substantial amounts of volatiles, which were subsequently released in the accretional hot-spot front during the formation of the planets.
The problem with Extraterrestrial Water
Extraterrestrial Water is a highly problematic concept.
Firstly, solid water [ice] naturally transform into water vapour in the long term [or melts to form liquid water if temperatures rise above freezing].
Sublimation is the process of transformation directly from the solid phase to the gaseous phase without passing through an intermediate liquid phase. Sublimation is an endothermic phase transition that occurs at temperatures and pressures below a substance’s triple point in its phase diagram.
… … … ….
Snow and ice sublime, although more slowly, below the melting point temperature. This allows a wet cloth to be hung outdoors in freezing weather and retrieved later in a dry state.
In freeze-drying, the material to be dehydrated is frozen and its water is allowed to sublime under reduced pressure or vacuum. The loss of snow from a snowfield during a cold spell is often caused by sunshine acting directly on the upper layers of the snow.
Secondly, liquid water transforms into water vapour via evaporation and boiling.
Evaporation is a type of vaporization of a liquid that only occurs on the surface of a liquid. The other type of vaporization is boiling, which,occurs within the entire mass of the liquid.
… … … ….
Evaporation is an essential part of the water cycle. The sun (solar energy) drives evaporation of water from oceans, lakes, moisture in the soil, and other sources of water.
Thirdly, water vapour is disassociated [into H and HO] by photons [light].
Photodissociation, photolysis, or photodecomposition is a chemical reaction in which a chemical compound is broken down by photons. It is defined as the interaction of one or more photons with one target molecule.
Photodissociation is not limited to visible light. Any photon with sufficient energy can affect the chemical bonds of a chemical compound. Since a photon’s energy is inversely proportional to its wavelength, electromagnetic waves with the energy of visible light or higher, such as ultraviolet light, x-rays and gamma rays are usually involved in such reactions.
… … … ….
In astrophysics, photodissociation is one of the major processes through which molecules are broken down (but new molecules are being formed). Because of the vacuum of the interstellar medium, molecules and free radicals can exist for a long time. Photodissociation is the main path by which molecules are broken down. Photodissociation rates are important in the study of the composition of interstellar clouds in which stars are formed.
Examples of photodissociation in the interstellar medium are (hv is the energy of a single photon of frequency v):
H_2O + hv => H + OH
If the Solar System is 4.568 billion years [as we are told] then:
Any planet [or moon] with only an exosphere will have lost its surface water [by evaporation or boiling] and will have lost any surface ice through sublimation after 4.568 billion years of orbiting around the sun.
Any comets formed of ice will have sublimated into the “vacuum of space” [within the Solar System] after 4.568 billion years of orbiting around the sun.
Water vapour in the “vacuum of space” [within the Solar System] will have disassociated [into H and HO] after 4.568 billion years of photon bombardment by the Sun.
Therefore, [based upon the standard model]:
a) Surface water is only likely to found on planets or moons with an atmosphere.
b) Planets and moons could retain subsurface water in some form.
However, water vapour is dissociated in the atmosphere of Earth by sunlight and many of these light hydrogen atoms [and recombined H2 molecules] rise into the upper stratified layer of the exosphere [from where they escape into space].
JOURNAL OF GEOPHYSICAL RESEARCH, VOL. 55, NO. 3, P. 301, 1950
The photochemistry of atmospheric water vapor
David R. Bates
United States Naval Ordnance Test Station, Pasadena and Inyokern, Calif.
United States Naval Ordnance Test Station, Pasadena and Inyokern, Calif.
Solar radiation dissociates water vapor into hydrogen atoms and hydroxyl radicles.
Hydrogen and hydrogen peroxide molecules, and perhydroxyl radicles, are also produced as a result of subsequent chemical reactions with the allotropic forms of oxygen.
The rate of the oxidizing processes falls off more rapidly with increase of altitude than does that of the reducing processes, and the hydrogen compounds are almost completely broken down at about the 90-km level (or even lower).
There is a continual escape of the hydrogen atoms into interplanetary space; but the liberated oxygen atoms remain in the atmosphere, and the number that must thus have been added in geological time seems to be comparable with the number now present.
Consideration of the general equilibrium reveals several features of interest, such as, for example, the existence of a thin layer of molecular hydrogen. In spite of the prominence of the Meinel bands, the concentration of hydroxyl radicles is quite small. It is thought that these radicles are excited during, rather than after, their formation. The mechanism proposed is two body collisions between hydrogen atoms and ozone molecules.
Image credit: The University of Sydney – School of Physics
The ionosphere as a major supplier of plasma to the magnetosphere
Another important aspect of the ionosphere-magnetosphere interaction is the outflow of plasma from the ionosphere into the magnetosphere. This outflow is so substantial [10**26 ions per second during magnetically disturbed periods near solar maximum] that the ionosphere could, in principle, fully populate the magnetosphere with plasma. (In fact, the magnetosphere contains a mixture of solar wind and ionospheric plasmas.) The outflow of ions from the ionosphere takes a variety of forms: the supersonic polar wind, ion upwelling from the cleft ion fountain, polar cap outflows, and upward ion conics and beams from the auroral zone. In addition to these high-latitude sources, strong O+ outflows from the mid-latitude ionosphere have been observed at times of intense geomagnetic activity. The strength and composition of the ionospheric plasma outflows vary with geomagnetic activity, season, solar cycle, local time, and altitude. For example, the O+ component of the ionospheric outflow increases with increasing solar and geomagnetic activity, with a corresponding increase in the O+ density of the plasma sheet.
Southwest Research Institute.
Thus, surface water is only likely to be found on planets [and moons] that are actively outgassing hydrogen into an oxygen rich environment [such as the atmosphere or lithosphere] where the hydrogen can associate with oxygen to form water.
Overall, it appears that Wikipedia is keen to obfuscate the scientific information that indicates the Earth is outgassing hydrogen and losing hydrogen into space.
Perhaps there are organisations wishing to promote the concept of water [on Earth] as a never ending and bountiful gift from the universe rather than a transitory phenomenon produced by the outgassing of hydrogen.
The proposed dual geospheres theory of the Earth is a dichotomy, an interior geosphere or underworld, of energy-rich hydrides and an outer geosphere or carapace of energy-poor oxides. Hydrides are fluidic, mobile, and capable of being squeezed and forced to migrate. Fluidity allows metal hydrides to fractionate. Plumes of less dense fractions ascend upward into the oxide zone, where lesser pressures and water cause hydride dissociation and oxidation with heat emission. Magmas, lavas, pyroclastics, and granites, rocks of lesser density and greater volume than those of the underlying mantle, are created. Less-dense terranes are raised as continents above surrounding landscapes and seascapes while at the same time adjacent terranes are densified by hydrogen permeation and subside as rifts, grabens, and oceanic trenches.
The effects of hydride behavior include all processes of global tectonics, volcanism, earthquakes, quiescent metasomatism, isostatic adjustment, polar wander, and generation of crustal heat; all being forms of tectonism that originates in the transition zone between the hydrogen-pervaded inner Earth, where hydrogen nucleii reside at high pressure within the electron shells of metals and the oxygen-dominated outer Earth, where the hydrogen has separated from atomic shells. The fundamental dualism in Earth structure is established by the contrasting density and energy of the Earth’s hydridic inner and oxidic outer geospheres.
Perhaps there are commercial interests wishing to promote the “fossil fuel” consensus and suppress the concept of abiogenic oil.
According to the abiogenic hypothesis, petroleum was formed from deep carbon deposits, perhaps dating to the formation of the Earth. Supporters of the abiogenic hypothesis suggest that a great deal more petroleum exists on Earth than commonly thought, and that petroleum may originate from carbon-bearing fluids that migrate upward from the mantle. The presence (oceans) of methane on Saturn’s moon Titan and in the atmospheres of Jupiter, Saturn, Uranus and Neptune is cited as evidence of the formation of hydrocarbons without biology.
The hypothesis was first proposed by Georg Agricola in the 16th century and various abiogenic hypotheses were proposed in the 19th century, most notably by Alexander von Humboldt, the Russian chemist Dmitri Mendeleev and the French chemist Marcellin Berthelot. Abiogenic hypotheses were revived in the last half of the 20th century by Soviet scientists who had little influence outside the Soviet Union because most of their research was published in Russian. The hypothesis was re-defined and made popular in the West by Thomas Gold who published all his research in English.