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EDG
2011-Nov-03, 08:27 PM
Sadly, Universe Today recently promoted a very ATM idea (some basic research on the author would have illustrated his biases quite obviously): http://www.universetoday.com/90536/new-features-discovered-on-mercury-could-be-evidence-of-hydrogen-geysers-and-metallic-iron/

I really hope that was a temporary lapse of judgement and not the start of a new trend.

Hornblower
2011-Nov-04, 01:56 AM
Sadly, Universe Today recently promoted a very ATM idea (some basic research on the author would have illustrated his biases quite obviously): http://www.universetoday.com/90536/new-features-discovered-on-mercury-could-be-evidence-of-hydrogen-geysers-and-metallic-iron/

I really hope that was a temporary lapse of judgement and not the start of a new trend.Promoting it? It appears to me that UT reported a proponent's idea, described it as speculation, and characterized the proponent as a "self-proclaimed maverick". I cannot find any fault with UT for that.

EDG
2011-Nov-04, 09:58 AM
Promoting it? It appears to me that UT reported a proponent's idea, described it as speculation, and characterized the proponent as a "self-proclaimed maverick". I cannot find any fault with UT for that.

I'm surprised and saddened by that reaction. Given how hard people come down on ATM ideas elsewhere here, I was expecting a stronger negative reaction to its presentation on UT.

I for one would like to know why UT wasted space (and their time) posting about this rubbish rather than reporting about mainstream space science and astronomy news, which is what it's supposed to be doing. It's an aberration, and it sets a precedence that ATM material is welcome on UT. I don't want that sort of garbage in my science reporting websites, so if UT continues to do this then I'll find somewhere else to get my space news. It also didn't particularly make an effort to present it as a fringe idea that nobody except this one guy seriously believes - it was essentially presented as a press release.

Furthermore, it showed that UT (or at least the author of that article) didn't do the necessary research on the proponent of the idea before submitting the article in the first place, which is somewhat troubling.

tusenfem
2011-Nov-04, 01:56 PM
Hi EDG, you are welcome to start a discussion about this in e.g. astronomy.

Let's see about the claims by Herndon:


"Mercury formed under great pressure and high temperature" I have no idea what the "great pressure" is supposed to mean here.
"enough to leave iron in a molten state." Well we know that Mercury has an internal magnetic field and thus a dynamo, so a liquid iron core is not surprising
"it should be responsible for absorbing large amounts of hydrogen." I assume this is supposed to be during the formation of the iron core of Mercury?
"As it cools and transforms to a solid state, the hydrogen is then released, forming a type of “geyser” on the planet’s surface." Well, I guess it the liquid iron can capture hydrogen, then it can also release it. However, how much it can capture I don't know. Also the cooling and solidifying of the iron core is a slow process, so I would be hard pressed to have so many geysers on the surface.
“These hydrogen geysers could certainly have caused the rimless depressions that MESSENGER sees.” says Herndon, a self-proclaimed maverick in the world of planetary geology. Well at least the maverick part is a hint.


Apart from the "maverick" part there is little skeptics towards the stuff that Hendron, only a link to basically the same press release on "technologyreview.com" and then a link to arxiv with the "paper" that Hendron submitted there, which is basically a comment on the Science paper by Blewett et al., 2011, Hollows on Mercury: MESSENGER Evidence for Geologically Recent Volatile-Related Activity, 33, 1856 (september 30, pdf available with me). Their conclusion is:



The most likely formation mechanisms for the hollows involve recent loss of volatiles through some combination of sublimation, space weathering, outgassing, or pyroclastic volcanism. These features support the inference that Mercury’s interior contains higher abundances of volatile materials than predicted by most scenarios for the formation of the solar system’s innermost planet.


Maybe there are planetary formation specialists here who can comment further?

antoniseb
2011-Nov-04, 04:29 PM
... Maybe there are planetary formation specialists here who can comment further?

I am not a planetary formation specialist, but I paid a lot of attention to Herndon's work several years ago. He seemed to have ideas that didn't mesh with mine, but some of his premises provoked thought. I think that one of his notions is that the four terrestrial planets were once hot Neptunes (or bigger), and that the Sun and collisions evaporated a great deal of their gasses away. When you look at the Deuterium/Hydrogen ratio on Venus (and Earth to a lesser degree), that idea answers a few questions.

Herndon goes off in some interesting directions that are clearly ATM, but I see him as a good example of why we pay attention to ATM.

EDG
2011-Nov-04, 07:13 PM
Apart from the "maverick" part there is little skeptics towards the stuff that Hendron, only a link to basically the same press release on "technologyreview.com" and then a link to arxiv with the "paper" that Hendron submitted there, which is basically a comment on the Science paper by Blewett et al., 2011, Hollows on Mercury: MESSENGER Evidence for Geologically Recent Volatile-Related Activity, 33, 1856 (september 30, pdf available with me). Their conclusion is:

Maybe there are planetary formation specialists here who can comment further?

Well, I was trained as a planetary scientist, and if you look at this guy's website (nuclearplanet.com) you will see that pretty much everything he claims is completely ATM. Heck, he thinks that features that we know are caused by plate tectonics are actually caused by "planetary decompression" (wrong) because he thinks earth was 64% smaller in the past (wrong), and that there's a nuclear reactor in Earth's core (wrong), that the magnetic of the earth is generated by it (wrong), and many other crazy ideas. Plus the usual claims of how he's right and has singlehandedly solved all these "mysteries" that have supposedly perplexed everybody else for decades. The guy's clearly a loon.

I just find it weird that people here are mercilessly skeptical about ATM ideas on the forum, but just shrug their shoulders when UT presents a story about one. I thought the editorial procedure on UT would be better than that.

captain swoop
2011-Nov-04, 09:34 PM
Posts moved from feedback thread

Jim
2011-Nov-04, 09:37 PM
You are aware that BAUT and UT are separate websites? Fraser is part owner of BAUT, but he's sole owner of UT and can establish his own rules for what he posts.

Same for Phil, the BA in BAUT. He can post things on his blog that are not allowed here (politics, religion).

Why discuss a topic on UT here?

ETA:
I see captain swoop moved the posts just before I posted this one. So I moved mine, too.

EDG
2011-Nov-04, 09:45 PM
I just figured someone might notice on the Forum Feedback board. Nobody seems to read/care about the UT forums, it just seems to be a one-way feed for when new UT articles are posted, and discussions rapidly drop below the front page because of that.