Friday, August 21, 2009

Just a theory

With things being busy of late, I have not had the time to go out there and take shots, let alone post them to this site.
Sure, I have a couple of things that have been floating around for a while I could post, though I thought it was high time to post a theory I have been floating for longer.
It involves life, the universe and everything (we miss you Douglas Adams) and was prompted to the forefront by a program I saw the other day.
The program was on the possibilities of life having existed on Mars.
Seems that the planet had a large moon that orbited with the effect that the core was rotated creating a magnetic field.
This is a good thing, as magnetic fields protect the atmosphere of a planet from erosion caused by solar wind from the sun as illustrated below. ( courtesy of Wikipedia)

Perhaps we owe a little more to the moon than the tides then?
Perhaps we need to look for life on planets with big satellites that churn their cores producing magnetic fields?
Anyway, mars is thought to have had a run in with its satellite- the collision warping the planet's shape- and, once alone in its orbit with the core not rotating, solar winds stripped off the remaining atmosphere giving us the atmosphere thin desert planet we have today.
All good, but what happened to the satellite?
Was it vaporized by the impact?
To churn the core of Mars it must have been fairly large.
Where did it go?
If you know what the plane of the ecliptic is, you would know that we (the planets) sit in a nice flat orbit around the sun (mostly). There is an exception.
Pluto(see article) is not part of that plane, nor is its orbit all that even.
This little "planet" zips around sometimes very distant and, at other times, is well within the orbit of the more regular true planet Neptune.

(Image of Pluto courtesy Wikipedia)

Seems to me that this little object is a johnny come lately to our planetary system.
It also has a satellite(of sorts) to call its own.
Charon (see article)is its name and, strangely enough, it is thought to consist mainly of ice.
Do you know what happens to water in zero gravity? it floats in little balls.

(Image of Charon courtesy Wikipedia)

When that zero gravity is cold enough you get ice.
Am I constructing a picture here? sure.
I propose that the "planet" known as Pluto was the satellite of Mars in some distant time, flung off into the outer solar system by the collision that took place between them.
As it left, its gravitational pull appropriated the water vapour that was generated from the seas of Mars, which condensed and formed Charon, the two destined to orbit oneanother in the far reaches of our system.

"Simulation work published in 2005 by Robin Canup suggested that Charon could have been formed by a giant impact around 4.5 billion years ago, much like the Earth and Moon. In this model a large Kuiper belt object struck Pluto at high velocity, destroying itself and blasting off much of Pluto's outer mantle, and Charon coalesced from the debris. However, such an impact should result in an icier Charon and rockier Pluto than what scientists have found. It is now thought that Pluto and Charon may have been two bodies that collided before going into orbit about each other. The collision would have been violent enough to boil off volatile ices like methane but not violent enough to have destroyed either body." (Wikipedia)

One good thing about a theory is that it cannot be proven or rejected without research.
I shall leave that to another.
I look forward to the results should I be here to see them.


  1. Too metaphysical for me, I am afraid, David.
    But I am impressed with your cogitations.
    If Mar's satellite (moon?) had a collision with Mars why would the former moon "bounce" way out to the ends of our planetary system? Could it have been magnetic repulsion?
    My brain hurts.

  2. Hi Denis,
    The collision could have led the satellite to a descent inwards to the sun.
    If it just missed it, it would have been flung outwards a long way due to the acceleration it would have gained on its inward journey.
    This would account for the elliptical orbit it has now.
    Previous probe missions used the same gravitational "thrust" of a near pass to a larger body to propel the probe, thus saving fuel.


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