Thursday, 11 August 2022

Another Bible Blooper Exposed by Science.

One more clue to the Moon’s origin | ETH Zurich

There are several theories about the origin of the moon. The discovery of noble gases in lunar meteorites brings us one step closer to understanding its origin.
Image: Adobe Stock
Creationists and members of other Bible literalist cults regard the description of the formation of the cosmos and then Earth in the opening chapter of Genesis as the bast available description of reality, notwithstanding that it describes Earth as having a dome over it from which the creator god hung the moon as a lamp, so we would know it is night time.

And God made two great lights; the greater light to rule the day, and the lesser light to rule the night: he made the stars also. And God set them in the firmament of the heaven to give light upon the earth, And to rule over the day and over the night, and to divide the light from the darkness: and God saw that it was good.

And the evening and the morning were the fourth day.

Genesis 1:16-19

The problem these cultists have is that science continually and consistently proves this, and much else in the Bible, wrong - which is embarrassing for words of the supposed creator of it. Sadly, for them, it can't even be passed off as an allegory or a metaphor - the usual excuse when the Bible describes something that isn't so - because there is nothing that can be represented as a firmament to which the sun and moon are fixed, and the moon can't even be represented as a lamp, since a lamp has its own light, and the moon doesn't. Nor is the moon only visible at night, so if its purpose really was to tell us when it is night time, the putative creator couldn't even get that right!

And, as we've come to expect of modern science, the reality is as different to the description in Genesis as it's possible to be. In fact, the origin of the moon is almost certainly the result of the 'Giant Impact' in the early years of the formation of the solar system, when the orbits of the planets was stabilising and collisions were commonplace, including the collision between the nascent Earth and another planet, believed to have been about the size of Mars.

The colossal kinetic energy released by this collision was enough to turn the combined planets molten, so they fused completely, and to throw up a mass of debris which formed an accretion disc around Earth which then coalesced over time to form the Moon, giving Earth one of the largest satellites known for a planet of its size. This also accounts for the tilt in Earth axis of rotation, which gives us seasons.

And now, to make matters worse for Creationists and their fellow travellers, Swiss geochemists, cosmochemists, and petrologists at Eidgenössische Technische Hochschule Zürich, Switzerland have moved us a step closer to understanding exactly how this happened and so helping to understand the formation of our and other planetary systems. By analysing meteorite known to have a lunar origin, they have shown that the inert (noble) gasses, helium and neon, in Moon rocks originates in Earth's mantle as they have the same isotopic signature.

As Marianne Lucien, in the ETH Zürich news release explains:
In a study just published in the journal, Science Advances, the research team reports findings that show that the Moon inherited the indigenous noble gases of helium and neon from Earth’s mantle. The discovery adds to the already strong constraints on the currently favoured “Giant Impact” theory that hypothesizes the Moon was formed by a massive collision between Earth and another celestial body.

Meteorites from the Moon to Antarctica

Finding solar gases, for the first time, in basaltic materials from the Moon that are unrelated to any exposure on the lunar surface was such an exciting result.

Patrizia Will, lead author
Institute of Geochemistry and Petrology
ETH Zürich, Zürich, Switzerland.
During her doctoral research at ETH Zurich, Patrizia Will analysed six samples of lunar meteorites from an Antarctic collection, obtained from NASA. The meteorites consist of basalt rock that formed when magma welled up from the interior of the Moon and cooled quickly. They remained covered by additional basalt layers after their formation, which protected the rock from cosmic rays and, particularly, the solar wind. The cooling process resulted in the formation of lunar glass particles amongst the other minerals found in magma. Will and the team discovered that the glass particles retain the chemical fingerprints (isotopic signatures) of the solar gases: helium and neon from the Moon’s interior. Their findings strongly support that the Moon inherited noble gases indigenous to the Earth.

Thin section of the Lunar Mare Basalt containing the indigenous noble gases (sample LAP 02436). Image type: optical microscopy, cross-polarized light.

Image: ETH Zurich / Patrizia Will
Thin section of NASA sample, LAP 02436, Lunar Mare Basalt containing indigenous noble gases. Image type: optical microscopy, cross-polarized light.

Image: ETH Zurich / Patrizia Will)
Without the protection of an atmosphere, asteroids continually pelt the Moon’s surface. It likely took a high-energy impact to eject the meteorites from the middle layers of the lava flow similar to the vast plains known as the Lunar Mare. Eventually the rock fragments made their way to Earth in the form of meteorites. Many of these meteorite samples are picked up in the deserts of North Africa or in, in this case, the “cold desert” of Antarctica where they are easier to spot in the landscape.

Grateful Dead lyrics inspire lab instrument

I am strongly convinced that there will be a race to study heavy noble gases and isotopes in meteoritic materials.

While such gases are not necessary for life, it would be interesting to know how some of these noble gases survived the brutal and violent formation of the moon. Such knowledge might help scientists in geochemistry and geophysics to create new models that show more generally how such most volatile elements can survive planet formation, in our solar system and beyond.

Professor Henner Busemann, co-author
Institute of Geochemistry and Petrology
ETH Zürich, Zürich, Switzerland
In the Noble Gas Laboratory at ETH Zurich resides a state-of-the-art noble gas mass spectrometer named, “Tom Dooley” - sung about in the Grateful Dead tune by the same name. The instrument got its name, when earlier researchers, at one point, suspended the highly sensitive equipment from the ceiling of the lab to avoid interference from the vibrations of everyday life. Using the Tom Dooley instrument, the research team was able to measure sub-millimetre glass particles from the meteorites and rule out solar wind as the source of the detected gases. The helium and neon that they detected were in a much higher abundance than expected.

The Tom Dooley is so sensitive that it is, in fact, the only instrument in the world capable of detecting such minimal concentrations of helium and neon. It was used to detect these noble gases in the 7 billion years old grains in the Murchison meteorite - the oldest known solid matter to-date.

Searching for the origins of life

Knowing where to look inside NASA’s vast collection of some 70,000 approved meteorites represents a major step forward. [Professor Busemann] anticipates that soon researchers will be looking for noble gases such as xenon and krypton which are more challenging to identify. They will also be searching for other volatile elements such as hydrogen or halogens in the lunar meteorites.
Copyright: © 2022 The authors.
Published by American Association for the Advancement of Science. Open access. (CC BY 4.0)
Technical detail is given in the teams abstract to their published paper:

The origin of volatiles in the Moon’s interior is debated. Scenarios range from inheritance through a Moon-forming disk or “synestia” to late accretion by meteorites or comets. Noble gases are excellent tracers of volatile origins. We report analyses of all noble gases in paired, unbrecciated lunar mare basalts and show that magmatic glasses therein contain indigenous noble gases including solar-type He and Ne. Assimilation of solar wind (SW)–bearing regolith by the basaltic melt or SW implantation into the basalts is excluded on the basis of the petrological context of the samples, as well as the lack of SW and “excess 40Ar” in the magmatic minerals. The absence of chondritic primordial He and Ne signatures excludes exogenous contamination. We thus conclude that the Moon inherited indigenous noble gases from Earth’s mantle by the Moon-forming impact and propose storage in the incompatible element-enriched (“KREEP”) reservoir.

And still, as one contributor to a Facebook group put it, Creationists tie themselves in pretzel knots to try to make these facts fit with what their Bible says. Once again, if only they had the honesty and personal integrity to accept and admit it, science has shown the Bible to be massively and fundamentally wrong in its attempt to explain the origins of the cosmos and the Solar System in particular, just as it is wrong about the origins of life, how it is related, how the current biodiversity arose, and the place of humans in the scheme of things.

The Bible should really be renamed, "The Goat Herders' Guide to The Universe" because it reflects the scientific ignorance of the people who made up the origin myths in it or plagiarised those of earlier cultures with the same level of scientific ignorance. Not a bad guess as guesses made by ignorant people go, but about as far from the truth as you would expect of people from the fearful infancy of our species.

Imagine asking a ten-year-old to explain the cause of thunderstorms, without looking in any books or using the Internet, and the result would be about as accurate and reliable as the Bible's authors' description of the origins of the cosmos. The amazing thing is that there are grown adults who believe the Bible is a reliable text book of science and history, yet dismiss other culture's origins myths as just silly stories made up by ignorant people who knew no better.

For a complete guide to how the Universe arose, how Earth was formed and how life, including human life, arose on it, read my popular book, What Makes You So Special: From The Big Bang to You, which takes the reader through the general science, as a basic introduction to current scientific ideas.

Thank you for sharing!

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