October 7, 2021 | David F. Coppedge

Can Pluto’s Atmosphere Last Billions of Years?

Pluto’s atmosphere is freezing onto the surface again as its orbit
takes it farther from the sun. How many times has this happened?

 

Scientists at Southwest Research Institute watched Pluto occult a star on the night of August 18, 2021. This allowed them to measure the height and density of Pluto’s thin atmosphere. The press release says:

Like Earth, Pluto’s atmosphere is predominantly nitrogen. Unlike Earth, Pluto’s atmosphere is supported by the vapor pressure of its surface ices, which means that small changes in surface ice temperatures would result in large changes in the bulk density of its atmosphere. Pluto takes 248 Earth years to complete one full orbit around the Sun, and its distance varies from its closest point, about 30 astronomical units from the Sun (1 AU is the distance from the Earth to the Sun), to 50 AU from the Sun.

If Pluto is 4.5 billion years old, simple division shows that it would have orbited the sun over 18 million times by now. This implies that the atmosphere has warmed and frozen that many times, too.

Pluto lookback image 15 minutes after closest approach July 14, 2015

Pluto lookback image 15 minutes after closest approach by New Horizons on July 14, 2015 shows the thin atmosphere above the limb.

 

This is the kind of question space scientists never ask. Is it credible that the atmosphere at Pluto has undergone 18 million cycles of warming and refreezing and still have some left today? Given the much lower gravity at Pluto, and some tugging from Chron, wouldn’t some of the outer atmosphere have escaped each time? Like a comet tail, if the gas escapes from Pluto, it’s probably not coming back.

Perhaps Pluto has enough nitrogen ice to resupply the atmosphere, but even then, 18 million orbits should have depleted a significant volume of gas. Only young-earth creationists have the open mindedness to ask this kind of question and do the calculations. They found that Io would have recycled its entire volume through its volcanoes in 4.5 billion years. They found similar problems at Enceladus with its geysers losing material every day. And Titan, you remember, was predicted to have a global ocean of ethane that was not found. Titan’s atmosphere should also have been significantly depleted, but it has 1.5 times the pressure of Earth’s atmosphere, despite being smaller than the size of Mercury..

Numerous evidences of youth are found throughout the solar system, especially on earth. Planetary scientists are myth-directed (see 29 Sept 2021). All they think about is life appearing on round things by chance. They never ask questions that would embarrass their moyboy worldview.

 

(Visited 365 times, 1 visits today)

Leave a Reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.