Two mysteries from the moon are forcing revisions to textbooks. One concerns water in moon minerals. The other concerns the moon’s magnetic field.
Mare Basalts Surprisingly Magnetic
“New research sets back date of moon’s dynamo 160 million years,” reported PhysOrg based on a paper in PNAS. A team of geophysicists was surprised to find evidence from magnetic signals in moon rocks that the moon must have had a magnetosphere-generating dynamo that lasted much longer than they thought possible. Current theory must be inadequate, because “The lifetime of the ancient lunar core dynamo has implications for its power source and the mechanism of field generation,” the scientists wrote. They were driven to postulate unlikely mechanisms to keep the hypothetical dynamo going:
These data extend the known lifetime of the lunar dynamo by ∼160 My and indicate that the field was likely continuously active until well after the final large basin-forming impact. This likely excludes impact-driven changes in rotation rate as the source of the dynamo at this time in lunar history. Rather, our results require a persistent power source like precession of the lunar mantle or a compositional convection dynamo.
Space.com‘s headline reads, “Mystery of Moon’s Magnetic Field Deepens.”
Improbabilities that Are All Wet
When a Mars-sized object hit the Earth to form the moon (according to a popular theory), it should have obliterated all volatile compounds, like water, requiring Earth’s oceans to form later from impacts from wet comets or asteroids. That theory has been impacted itself by studies of water-bearing minerals in moon rocks, prompting Science Daily to report, “Moon and Earth Have Common Water Source.” Another Science Daily article suggests the new theory, “Water on Moon, Earth Came from Same Primitive Meteorites.” A new analysis of Apollo moon rocks dispels ideas that comets brought the water. It must have come from carbonaceous chondrites, the study concludes.
Lisa Grossman at New Scientist believes “Moon water came from young wet Earth.”
The notion that all Earth’s water was delivered by comets or asteroids has just taken a hit. Chemical analysis of lunar rocks suggests that Earth was born wet, and it held on to its water long enough to donate some to the moon.
This is a flagrant reversal of the idea that a moon-forming impact left the moon bone dry. Measurements of water-bearing minerals on the moon show it’s not just a little water they’re talking about. “The minerals hold as much as those in Earth’s upper mantle,” Grossman says. Nature News portrays the head-scratching this finding causes for modelers:
That still leaves a potential gap in the Moon-forming model. Some planetary scientists had reasoned that the heat generated by the collision would have boiled away any water that Earth might have transferred to the coalescing Moon. The findings “are screaming that there’s something about the Moon’s formation that we’re not quite grasping”, says study co-author Erik Hauri of the Carnegie Institution for Science in Washington DC.
The findings beg for a new explanation. Meteorites could not have brought the water unless the moon were still molten, but the moon would have solidified too rapidly. All one of the researchers could figure out was that the water came from the only place they know had water: the Earth. So how did the Earth “donate” some water to the moon? This calls for a delicate scenario: the hypothetical impactor that hit Earth had to loft just enough material off our primordial planet to form a large moon without destroying all Earth’s primordial water. Then, some of that water lofted into orbit had to migrate to the moon:
It no longer looks likely that all the water in the material that formed the moon evaporated instantly in the giant initial impact. Instead, it now seems more probable that water migrated over a period of centuries out of the cloud of debris that coalesced into the moon.
Apparently, “likeliness” has evolved in the modeler’s minds. The new findings forced a reassessment of what scientists thought was “probable.”
But the explanation begs a new question: where did the Earth get its water to donate? Current theory does not allow a body at Earth’s location to garner water from a spinning debris disk. Adding a little more ad hoc can get the job done:
[Alberto] Saal [of Brown University] thinks that Earth may have formed near where the asteroid belt is now, which is far enough from the sun for water to condense. The planet would then have migrated inward. It’ll be a tough theory to prove, because Earth’s geologic activity has been recycling rocks, and thus erasing the evidence, for billions of years.
The new model would claim that the early Earth was not habitable, but through a series of lucky breaks, migrated into the habitable zone, where everything worked out just right for microbes to emerge and become planetary scientists who figured it all out.
These reports should anger anyone who watches science shows and reads textbooks that make the formation of the Earth and its large Moon look so easy. No theory can account for the observations. Instead, secular moyboys (believers in “millions of years, billions of years”) concoct fantastical models to preserve their fantasies from the evidence. Did you catch the howler in the quote above? Earth has been “erasing the evidence, for billions of years.” Quick! What does that imply? This is a fact-free story – even the part about erasing the evidence for billions of years.
Before, the priests of the planetary evolution cult needed just a delicate impact from a Mars-size object (itself a highly improbable event) to form the moon, followed by some hand-waving and chants, to bring in a series of unknown wet impactors to form Earth’s oceans. That was unlikely enough. Now, they need Earth to form out in the asteroid belt, where water can conceivably condense, followed by a lucky pitch from Jupiter or Saturn to careen our dead planet right into the batter’s box of the habitable zone. That all had to happen before the Mars-size impactor came in, this time even more delicately, to loft water into Earth orbit without losing it, so that it could transfer the water to a new moon (which happens to be just right to support life on Earth).
Nobody would believe this series of ad hoc events unless it were absolutely necessary to preserve secular materialism and long ages for Darwin. We won’t even go into the much more highly fantastical tales needed to get life, multicellularity, consciousness and intelligence to “emerge” from hot wet muck.
Scientists speak of new data as “constraints” for their models. That’s why raw data from planetary missions is so valuable. The more constraints on storytellers, the better. As of now, they appear to have just one hand free to wave from the straitjacket the data have put them in. Maybe the next data will constrain the remaining hand-waving arm, and gag the mouth, too.