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Thread: Pluto article from the Institute for Creation Research

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    Pluto article from the Institute for Creation Research

    For various reasons that escape me I am somehow on the mailing list for the Institute for Creation Research

    This month they are trying to use the results from New Horizons to support their YEC position

    The link to the article is here

    My questions are:

    Lack of craters probably due to it's position which was well away from the rocky planets, which the current model, if I understand it correctly had the Late Heavy Bombardment confined to that region. Would that account for the lack of expected craters? Was Pluto expected to be "Saturated by craters" or is that a "straw man" devised by ICR?

    The issue of internal heat that should not have been there, the main ICR argument, could they be overlooking that there could be heating due to tidal effects between Charon and Pluto, similar in concept to that between Io and Jupiter?

    If I recall the Barry centre of that system is well outside of Pluto, so could we get the required tidal heating to power the observed geological activity on both Pluto and Charon?

    What do members make of this interpretation of the NH results. I somehow expect Alan Stern would be disputing ICR's take on this.

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    For some reason, autocorrect changing barycentre to Barry centre amuses me.

    I thought the observations had indeed led to the conclusion the surface of Pluto is renewing.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Glom View Post
    For some reason, autocorrect changing barycentre to Barry centre amuses me.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Glom View Post
    I thought the observations had indeed led to the conclusion the surface of Pluto is renewing.
    My thoughts as stated above, would be that tidal heating due to the orbit of Pluto and Charon around each other might account for the energy to drive geological activity, but I am prepared to stand corrected on that one.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Sticks View Post
    My thoughts as stated above, would be that tidal heating due to the orbit of Pluto and Charon around each other might account for the energy to drive geological activity, but I am prepared to stand corrected on that one.
    I think that view is not likely. The discovery of so much water may be the best clue. Alan Stern suggests that there may be a lot of liquid water within Pluto that is slowly freezing. The latent heat expended from that process may be adding more heat than expected. I would guess that the high specific heat value for this hypothesized water would also serve to retain more heat longer than otherwise, thus extending its geological active age.
    We know time flies, we just can't see its wings.

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    The location of the barycenter does not matter. It is not a physical object in itself. What would matter is gravitational flexing, if any, from departure from circularity of the orbit and/or perturbations by the other moons.

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    Quote Originally Posted by George View Post
    I think that view is not likely. The discovery of so much water may be the best clue. Alan Stern suggests that there may be a lot of liquid water within Pluto that is slowly freezing. The latent heat expended from that process may be adding more heat than expected. I would guess that the high specific heat value for this hypothesized water would also serve to retain more heat longer than otherwise, thus extending its geological active age.
    That would make sense, although I have usually encountered the Latent Heat of Fusion (LHF) going the other way when you put a beaker of ice on a Bunsen burner and plot temperature against time, the bit where the temperature momentarily plateaus before rising again is the LHF. If the water were salty would that add extra heat, or is it better with pure water?

    As to the gravitational flexing idea, with the orbit of Pluto and Charon around each other, is that likely to occur?

    Even without that, just to get back on topic, it shows that ICR people do not seem to be keeping up with the literature on this. If you are going to make a bold claim, make sure you know the facts, or you end up loosing credibility if what you proposed is just a house of cards built on sand, to mix metaphors . A fault that some eager to prove pet theories often make, in any field

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    Quote Originally Posted by Sticks View Post

    My questions are:

    Lack of craters probably due to it's position which was well away from the rocky planets, which the current model, if I understand it correctly had the Late Heavy Bombardment confined to that region. Would that account for the lack of expected craters? Was Pluto expected to be "Saturated by craters" or is that a "straw man" devised by ICR?
    I'll go with 'strawman'. There is nothing in the science book of logic that says if any scientific theory is wrong, a goofball religion-based theory is acceptable. We don't know why Pluto is the way it is. This is a better answer than any theologically-driven unphysical musings.
    “It is a capital mistake to theorize before one has data. Insensibly one begins to twist facts to suit theories, instead of theories to suit facts.” ― Arthur Conan Doyle, Sherlock Holmes

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    Apparently the Institute for Creation Research cannot even use Google! A search for 'lack of craters on pluto' gives this from the first page: Why Pluto Lacks Craters, and Why That's So Freakishly Weird
    The author of that article seems quite ignorant fro someone who is supposed to be an astrophysicist. Astrophysicists know that the Sun and radioactive material are not the only sources of heat for a planetary body. Tidal forces heat up moons (unlikely for Pluto). Impacts heat up surfaces of planetary bodies for geographically short times. The author also seems to think that radioactive material heats up icy bodies (Pluto) to the same extent as rocky bodies (Earth).

    Possible sources for the heat resurfacing Pluto include radioactive material: Pluto Is a Geologically Active World, But We Don't Know Why
    We expect that Pluto and Charon have the normal proportions of radioactive material. But maybe they had more heat in the first place, a higher proportion of radioactive materials for some unknown reason that we’ll be scratching our heads to figure out.

    Or, maybe Pluto has the normal amount of radioactive material, but it’s just more efficient at using that heat.
    A delusion that Pluto is only a few thousand years old is not supported by the observation that Pluto's surface has been resurfaced and is at most 100 million years old.
    A "god of the gaps" argument is also bad. Scientists do not know exactly why Pluto's moons rotate as they do - thus god did it !
    Last edited by Reality Check; 2016-Jun-01 at 09:51 PM.

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    Everyone: dissecting YEC claims is fine and encouraged but please lay off making derisive comments that might be associated with anyone's religious beliefs.
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    The apparent internal heat of Pluto may have been retained, to some degree, from an earlier epoch. The predominant theory for Charon's creation involves a giant impact on Pluto, with resulting debris in orbit coalescing to form this moon. Charon may well have been much nearer Pluto at the start, and have had an eccentric orbit at some point. This could have caused frictional heating inside both Pluto and Charon, due to tidal flexing.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Sticks View Post
    As to the gravitational flexing idea, with the orbit of Pluto and Charon around each other, is that likely to occur?
    No, this is not likely. Pluto and Charon are tidally locked to each other, and Charon's orbit is very close to circular. So there should be very little flexing.
    Conserve energy. Commute with the Hamiltonian.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Sticks View Post
    That would make sense, although I have usually encountered the Latent Heat of Fusion (LHF) going the other way when you put a beaker of ice on a Bunsen burner and plot temperature against time, the bit where the temperature momentarily plateaus before rising again is the LHF. If the water were salty would that add extra heat, or is it better with pure water?
    Yes, but that is going the other direction -- from ice to water. The heat from the burner is being absorbed by the ice-->water molecules without an increase in temperature at that point. The liquid water proposed in the interior of Pluto would release heat as it begins to freeze at the same point, though pressure, etc. play a role in where that point is. This is a significant amount of heat, too, that would conduct, or convect, its way to the surface affecting the geology, at least that's what I think Stern is saying. I also add that water is special in its specific heat value (amount of latent energy that can be released) compared with most any other substance, which adds more credibility to the idea.

    As to the gravitational flexing idea, with the orbit of Pluto and Charon around each other, is that likely to occur?
    Sure, but not enough to be of any consequence, apparently. Their close proximity gives them stronger tidal stress since tide is a 3rd power to distance, but their masses are too puny to generate much heat. I would bet that if there was much stress, the orbit would be greatly affected and, perhaps, not what we would see. But I'm only giving you a cursory shot at this, admittedly. [Oops, I missed Grey's post.]

    Even without that, just to get back on topic, it shows that ICR people do not seem to be keeping up with the literature on this. If you are going to make a bold claim, make sure you know the facts, or you end up loosing credibility if what you proposed is just a house of cards built on sand, to mix metaphors . A fault that some eager to prove pet theories often make, in any field
    It is even worse since they are claiming that the evidence suggests Pluto could only be a few thousand years of age, yet that is a much more difficult claim to make given radioactive heating, etc. Is Io only a few weeks old using this geological activity logic?
    Last edited by George; 2016-Jun-02 at 04:26 PM.
    We know time flies, we just can't see its wings.

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    Thanks for that insight, I now have knowledge of another mechanism that can power geological activity that I had never occurred to me. All I knew of was radioactive decay and tidal flexing.

    Given what has been said, I will have to concede that any contribution of Tidal Flexing in this case will not be significant, if present at all, and the LHF is the better game in town

    As to the experiment with the beaker of ice, it is a useful one I suppose to demonstrate LHF, even though it is going in the wrong direction, as it were. We did it at high school.

    As to the religious dimension, a number in that domain get so eager to prove their faith, that they buy into things that are not so. With the average church goer who hears these things via a chain email / social media posting, you can understand how they might go down a blind alley, but I would have expected better of ICR.

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    This article Pluto's 'beating heart' explained By Jonathan Amos BBC Science Correspondent on the BBC news website is a lot better one on the geology of Pluto. It even has an audio discussion with Bill McKinnon of Washington University in St Louis, Missouri.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Sticks View Post
    This article Pluto's 'beating heart' explained By Jonathan Amos BBC Science Correspondent on the BBC news website is a lot better one on the geology of Pluto. It even has an audio discussion with Bill McKinnon of Washington University in St Louis, Missouri.
    Looks like radioactivity is their solution to the flowing solution. If your surface can flow at 37K then you don't need a lot of heat to keep things active. Objects, like Callisto (8x the size of Pluto) would have much more heat from radioactive products but their surface material wouldn't be things like liquid and frozen nitrogen.
    We know time flies, we just can't see its wings.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Reality Check View Post
    Apparently the Institute for Creation Research cannot even use Google!
    They and others can get on TV though: The latest: http://creationinthe21stcentury.com/

    Good grief
    http://creationinthe21stcentury.com/...phreys-on-tbn/

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    Apologies for the thread Neuromancy...

    I came back to this today as I am constructing a possible series to give to church people on "what not to do" and this seems like a good case study in keeping up with the literature.

    Even I got a bit of this wrong, assuming it was tidal heating.

    I suspect we have more knowledge of the geological activity of Pluto three years on from when I first got sent that ICR article.

    As the reasons given back in 2016 involves radiation, I am drawn to this bit from the ICR article

    But from Pluto’s low density, we know that it simply cannot contain very much radioactive material—not nearly enough to produce the geology seen on its surface.
    I assume that ICR got this wrong some how, so what was / is the response to this density issue? Is the fact that Nitrogen Ice can flow at 37K sufficient to deal with the issue about Pluto's alleged low density? Is this yet another straw person argument by ICR?

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    Only trace amounts, percentagewise, of uranium and thorium are needed to significantly heat something that large.

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    Thank you - So someone failed to do their homework at ICR. I knew you guys would not let me down

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    Quote Originally Posted by Sticks View Post
    Lack of craters probably due to it's position which was well away from the rocky planets, which the current model, if I understand it correctly had the Late Heavy Bombardment confined to that region. Would that account for the lack of expected craters? Was Pluto expected to be "Saturated by craters" or is that a "straw man" devised by ICR?
    Basically a "straw man" devised by ICR. The Late Heavy Bombardment is the bombardment of the" early terrestrial planets in the inner Solar System, including , Venus, Earth, and Mars" by asteroids. Pluto is not in the inner Solar System. There are no asteroids at Pluto's distance.

    All objects in the Solar System expected to have some degree of bombardment because asteroids, comets, Kuiper Belt objects and Oort Cloud objects have existed for 4.6 billion years. If Pluto had a static surface that just collected impacts then Pluto should have some craters but this is unlikely to be the ICR "Saturated by craters". Pluto would not be as bombarded as much as the Mercury or Mars. The lack of craters on Pluto tells us that "its surface is less than 10 million years old" and other data gives 180000 (+90000−40000) years.

    The surface of Pluto having an age measured at ~180,000 years makes the ICR claim of a few thousand year for the age of Pluto wrong.

    Quote Originally Posted by Sticks View Post
    The issue of internal heat that should not have been there, the main ICR argument
    Sounds more like a ICR argument that science should ignore empirical data!
    We did not expect icy bodies such as Pluto to have internal heat sources. They are not rocky planets that have radioactive material.
    Then New Horizons revealed empirical evidence of 2 cryovolcanoes: Ice volcanoes spotted on Pluto, suggest internal heat source. This is a hint that Pluto may be not as icy as we thought - there may be a rocky, radioactive core. More likely, it is evidence of recent impact events. It is unlikely to be tidal heating as in Io/Jupiter. Charon has a mass of 12.2% of Pluto. If anything, tidal heating would go the other way.

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