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Does Mercury hold the key to understanding the origins of life on Earth?

L.A. Times 2012/11/30 16:54:01
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Mercury may be a scorching hunk of rock just next door to the sun, but planetary scientists have discovered nearly pure frozen water and even some organic material in the planet's frigid polar regions.

The findings from the Messenger spacecraft orbiting the planet cap the decades-long search for water on the second-hottest planet in the solar system and may help scientists better understand the origins of the molecular building blocks for life on Earth.

mercury

Read More: http://www.latimes.com/news/science/la-sci-mercury...

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  • Semper Fi 2012/12/03 18:00:31
    No
    Semper Fi
    +1
    Understanding the origins of life on Earth is no kind of a priority that I know of. We're here. Enough said.
  • Sperry23 2012/12/03 16:26:54
    Yes
    Sperry23
    +1
    Well, maybe not THE key, but another key certainly.
  • NightRyder 2012/12/03 16:18:57 (edited)
    No
    NightRyder
    +2
    The Problem with science



    "Everything that exists, and everything that happens, exists or happens as a necessary consequence of a previous state of things. If a state of things is repeated in every detail, it must lead to exactly the same consequences. Any difference between the results of causes that are in part the same must be explainable by some difference in the other part of the causes." Professor Thiele, a leading Continental astronomer in the early 1900’s

    The law stated in the above words is called the Law of Causality.

    There are several stories of the creation, but none as complete as that of Genesis. But problems with science will always remain in the mind of mankind. Why?

    Well, there are several reasons, but one is the fact that scientific reasoning and scientific observation can only hold good so long and in so far as the Law of Causality holds good. We must assume a pre-existing state of affairs which has given rise to the observed effect; we must assume that this observed effect is itself antecedent to a subsequent state of affairs. These facts also includes the Creationist. Their science nor any science can go back to the absolute beginnings of things, or forward to the absolute ends of things. It cannot reason about the way matter and energy came into existence, ...













    The Problem with science



    "Everything that exists, and everything that happens, exists or happens as a necessary consequence of a previous state of things. If a state of things is repeated in every detail, it must lead to exactly the same consequences. Any difference between the results of causes that are in part the same must be explainable by some difference in the other part of the causes." Professor Thiele, a leading Continental astronomer in the early 1900’s

    The law stated in the above words is called the Law of Causality.

    There are several stories of the creation, but none as complete as that of Genesis. But problems with science will always remain in the mind of mankind. Why?

    Well, there are several reasons, but one is the fact that scientific reasoning and scientific observation can only hold good so long and in so far as the Law of Causality holds good. We must assume a pre-existing state of affairs which has given rise to the observed effect; we must assume that this observed effect is itself antecedent to a subsequent state of affairs. These facts also includes the Creationist. Their science nor any science can go back to the absolute beginnings of things, or forward to the absolute ends of things. It cannot reason about the way matter and energy came into existence, or how they might cease to exist; it cannot reason about time or space, as such, but only in the relations of these to phenomena that can be observed. It does not deal with things themselves, but only with the relations between things.

    Science indeed can only consider the universe as a great machine which is in “working order,” and it concerns itself with the relations which some parts of the machine bear to other parts, and with the laws and manner of the “working” of the machine in those parts. The relations of the various parts, one to the other, and the way in which they work together, may afford some idea of the design and purpose of the machine, but it can give no information as to how the material of which it is composed came into existence, nor as to the method by which it was originally constructed. This includes the “Cell”, the “Atom” and all the parts and counterparts that have been discovered through medical research. Like the Universe, the Body is a machine, though that may offend many, nevertheless, it is the truth. Once started, the machine comes under the scrutiny of science, but the actual starting lies outside its scope. And here we find a great difference between the science of God, and the science of man. God has the far greater power of understanding that man cannot comprehend, because God knows how to perform cosmic scientific creation as easily as folding a piece of material (Hebrews 1:12)

    Men therefore cannot find out for themselves how the worlds were originally made, how the worlds were first moved, or how the spirit of man was first formed within him; and this, not merely because these beginnings of things were of necessity outside his experience, but also because beginnings, as such, must lie outside the law by which he reasons.

    By no process of research, therefore, could man find out for himself the facts that are stated in the first chapter of Genesis. They have been revealed, but science cannot inquire into them for the purpose of checking their accuracy; it must accept them, as it accepts the fundamental law that governs its own working, without the possibility of proof.

    And this is what has been revealed to man:–that the heaven and the earth were not self-existent from all eternity, but were in their first beginning created by God. As the writer of the Epistle to the Hebrews expresses it: “Through faith we understand that the worlds were framed by the word of God, so that things which are seen were not made of things which do appear.” And a further fact was revealed that man could not have found out for himself; is that this creation was made and finished in six acts, comprised in what the narrative denominates “days.” However, it has never been revealed whether the duration of these “days” can be expressed in any astronomical units of time.

    Since under these conditions science can afford no information, it is not to be wondered at that the hypotheses that have been framed from time to time to “explain” the first chapter of Genesis, or to express it in scientific terms, are not wholly satisfactory. At one time the chapter was interpreted to mean that the entire universe was called into existence about 6,000 years ago, in six days of twenty-four hours each. Later it was recognized that both geology and astronomy seemed to indicate the existence of matter for untold millions of years instead of some six thousand. It was then pointed out that, so far as the narrative was concerned, there was more than likely a period of duration that is impossible for man to examine between its first verse and its fourth; and some have suggested that the six days of creation were six days of twenty-four hours each, in which, after some great cataclysm of time that ended 6,000 years ago, in which God shaped the face of the earth and replenished for the habitation of man, the preceding geological ages being left entirely unnoticed. However, we have some that say man was in parts of the world more than 104,000 years ago.

    Some writers have confined the cataclysm and renewal to a small portion of the earth’s surface–to “Eden,” and its neighborhood. Other commentators have laid stress on the truth revealed in Scripture that “one day is with the Lord as a thousand years, and a thousand years as one day,” and have urged the argument that the six days of creation were really vast periods of time, during which the earth’s geological changes and the evolution of its varied forms of life were running their course. Others, again, have urged that the six days of creation were six literal days, but instead of being consecutive were separated by long ages. And yet again, as no man was present during the creation period, save Adam, it has been suggested that the Divine revelation of it was given to Moses in seven successive visions or dreams, which constituted the “six days” in which the chief facts of creation were set forth, and a seventh day on which God rested.

    So, until we can answer the above questions with facts instead of assumptions, we will never be able to completely understand the global warming and cooling that brings Ice ages, any more than we can understand the ways of God (Isaiah 55:8-9). All I can say with any known certainty is that God never changes (Malachi 3:6), but man is always chasing Change.
    (more)
  • Anarimus NightRyder 2012/12/04 03:42:07
    Anarimus
    +1
    That's based on the assumption that God actually exists. Even if you could prove there was a first cause you then have to prove it was an intelligent entity and that it was the particular god you are seeking. Genesis makes no factual claims and instead holds many disproved notions to be true such as the earth being older than the stars. Nonsense.

    Water formed before the land. Nope.

    The Heavens were created at the same time as the Earth. Not even close.

    Light was created after the heavens and water? When you have a massive dispersal of energy that causes the first elements to form you're going to get a lot of light two of these elements would eventually become water.

    Light and dark were then separated? suddenly every physicist bursts out laughing. You cannot separate light from dark except in laundry.

    Night and day came before the sun? I hope i do not have to explain this one.

    Then God made a firmament... okay a big wall of water between the sky and space. Ummm no.

    Then it goes on and on about grass and fruit bearing trees... Sorry again but this is wrong too. Prokaryotes are single celled organisms found to be older than any plant or animal life. 3.5 billion years old according to radiometric dating and wait...where is the sun? Without sunlight photosynthesis doesn't happen.

    Okay a...



    That's based on the assumption that God actually exists. Even if you could prove there was a first cause you then have to prove it was an intelligent entity and that it was the particular god you are seeking. Genesis makes no factual claims and instead holds many disproved notions to be true such as the earth being older than the stars. Nonsense.

    Water formed before the land. Nope.

    The Heavens were created at the same time as the Earth. Not even close.

    Light was created after the heavens and water? When you have a massive dispersal of energy that causes the first elements to form you're going to get a lot of light two of these elements would eventually become water.

    Light and dark were then separated? suddenly every physicist bursts out laughing. You cannot separate light from dark except in laundry.

    Night and day came before the sun? I hope i do not have to explain this one.

    Then God made a firmament... okay a big wall of water between the sky and space. Ummm no.

    Then it goes on and on about grass and fruit bearing trees... Sorry again but this is wrong too. Prokaryotes are single celled organisms found to be older than any plant or animal life. 3.5 billion years old according to radiometric dating and wait...where is the sun? Without sunlight photosynthesis doesn't happen.

    Okay and now comes the sun. We may as well put some emphasis here because the Sun had to have come before the Earth because without the newborn Sun's gravity the planets could not have formed and without left over stellar dust there would be nothing to form the Earth from. The stars are also being created now as are the other lights in the sky however we know that the galaxies that surround us and stars are far older than the Earth as we are all travelling away from a single source and there are galaxies out there that are ahead of us and had to have been formed first. We know through physics that stars are very very old and live for a very long time.

    We do make an understanding of the universe with facts and that is what theories are. Scientific theories are gatherings of evidence supported by facts that explain how a natural event occurs. They must make predictions and be subjected to the most strenuous fact checking around in order to remain a theory. Just as scientific laws are not absolute. They too must suffer scrutiny and cannot be applied in all situations. Science embraces change and unlike dogma does not hang on to disproved beliefs in order to demand adherence. Look at once accepted theories such as Steady State it was supplanted by The Big Bang Theory which has been tested and observed to be the dominant theory in how the universe formed. Evolution too has been tested and observed and is accepted as fact even more so than any other theory.

    "Science adjusts it’s beliefs based on what’s observed. Faith is the denial of observation so that belief can be preserved." - Tim Minchin
    (more)
  • NightRyder Anarimus 2012/12/04 17:11:59
    NightRyder
    +1
    You are partially right, but the Bible does not say that everything was created at the same time, in fact, today science watches new planets formed and spreading out from our own Milky Way galaxy. The very center of our galaxy is marked by an intense radio source named Sagittarius A, which is likely to be a supermassive black hole. The Galaxy rotates differentially, faster towards the center and slower towards the outer edge. The rotational period is about 200 million years at the position of the Sun. Scientist believe the Galaxy as a whole is moving at a velocity of 552 to 630 km per second, depending on the relative frame of reference. It is estimated to be about 13.2 billion years old, nearly as old as the Universe. Take note of that; “nearly as old as the Universe.” That is, if that is correct. Scientist cannot mark out a mile with a telescope, if they do not measure it with a meter beforehand.

    As to your statement; “Genesis makes no factual claims and instead holds many disproved notions to be true such as the earth being older than the stars.”
    The Bible was not talking about the Universe, it was talking about either the Galaxy or the Solar System. Since there are more than one “heaven” on the earth, it is possible the Bible could be talking about the earth alone, althoug...

    You are partially right, but the Bible does not say that everything was created at the same time, in fact, today science watches new planets formed and spreading out from our own Milky Way galaxy. The very center of our galaxy is marked by an intense radio source named Sagittarius A, which is likely to be a supermassive black hole. The Galaxy rotates differentially, faster towards the center and slower towards the outer edge. The rotational period is about 200 million years at the position of the Sun. Scientist believe the Galaxy as a whole is moving at a velocity of 552 to 630 km per second, depending on the relative frame of reference. It is estimated to be about 13.2 billion years old, nearly as old as the Universe. Take note of that; “nearly as old as the Universe.” That is, if that is correct. Scientist cannot mark out a mile with a telescope, if they do not measure it with a meter beforehand.

    As to your statement; “Genesis makes no factual claims and instead holds many disproved notions to be true such as the earth being older than the stars.”
    The Bible was not talking about the Universe, it was talking about either the Galaxy or the Solar System. Since there are more than one “heaven” on the earth, it is possible the Bible could be talking about the earth alone, although I am convinced it is talking about the Galaxy. The info on the stars and the heavens is meant only as a reference that God created them as he did the Universe. People should really study the Bible, ALL of it, before they make statements about what they don’t understand. Usually, a child has to have it explained WHY 2+2 makes 4 before they completely understand it. The same holds true with the Bible. Of course, studying the Bible is a lot more complicated than studying most math, that is why Solomon wrote; “And I gave my heart to seek and search out by wisdom concerning all things that are done under heaven: this SORE travail hath God given to the sons of man to be exercised therewith.”

    The Bible really does answer all questions, but it takes a life time to know the right questions to ask. I have been studying for 20 years, and still have a long way to go. Actually, I do not believe that a man could every know all the wisdom of the Bible, even if he lived to be 200 years old.
    (more)
  • Jesferkicks 2012/12/03 13:21:29
    Yes
    Jesferkicks
    +1
    We just don't know but I think Mars has a better chance of giving up information.
  • Cunning Stunts 2012/12/03 10:10:41
    Yes
    Cunning Stunts
    +1
    Possibly though I think it's not the greatest model.

    Mercury's axis tilt is much smaller and it's orbit around the sun deviates way more in average distance to the sun than Earth.

    It's axis tilt is kind of like our moon in a way.
  • USAF Vet 2012/12/03 09:14:19
    No
    USAF Vet
    +1
    So there's water on Mercury...and? How does water on Mercury hold the 'key to understanding' life on earth? Help me out.
  • Hawkeye USAF Vet 2012/12/03 10:07:07
    Hawkeye
    +3
    Putting aside the Religious aspect of this discussion,, ( Which I personally find NO conflict with ) let's take a look at how the scientists view this situation..

    There is some question,, a basic question that has risen over the amount of water here on Earth.. I won't go into the entire process of how they came to this conclusion but to THEM,, the process of the evolution of our Planet can't account for the amount of water that Earth has.. NOT by a long shot..The only explanation ( and admittedly,, it is ONLY speculation at this point ) that they can come up with is that alomost 75% of the water on Earth was deposited here by Impacts from extraterrestrial sources like Meteors,, Asteroids and even Comets ( ie,, We have discovered that the visable TAILS of Comets are mostly water ) throughout the early developement and evolution of this planet. ( And remember,, the Planet itself is thought to have been formed by the same process..)

    Mercury is the closest planet to the sun.. ANY water found THERE may very well be a result of those same types of objects missing this planet on their way towards the sun and impacting Mercury instead.... IF the water on Mercury is found to be chemically similar to that here on earth.. It would answer the riddle of how this planet got the water it d...



    Putting aside the Religious aspect of this discussion,, ( Which I personally find NO conflict with ) let's take a look at how the scientists view this situation..

    There is some question,, a basic question that has risen over the amount of water here on Earth.. I won't go into the entire process of how they came to this conclusion but to THEM,, the process of the evolution of our Planet can't account for the amount of water that Earth has.. NOT by a long shot..The only explanation ( and admittedly,, it is ONLY speculation at this point ) that they can come up with is that alomost 75% of the water on Earth was deposited here by Impacts from extraterrestrial sources like Meteors,, Asteroids and even Comets ( ie,, We have discovered that the visable TAILS of Comets are mostly water ) throughout the early developement and evolution of this planet. ( And remember,, the Planet itself is thought to have been formed by the same process..)

    Mercury is the closest planet to the sun.. ANY water found THERE may very well be a result of those same types of objects missing this planet on their way towards the sun and impacting Mercury instead.... IF the water on Mercury is found to be chemically similar to that here on earth.. It would answer the riddle of how this planet got the water it did..

    AGAIN,, Religious considerations aside,, there are those who believe that the basic building blocks for life,, such as an assortment of Amino Acids and the like,, MAY have been deposited here on Earth in the same way..

    Hope that helps some..
    (more)
  • Kyori 2012/12/03 09:09:58
    Yes
    Kyori
    +1
    Maybe, maybe not. We might uncover some virus from the organic life that kills everyone on Earth, who knows.
  • david.alvarado.37266 2012/12/03 07:24:56
    No
    david.alvarado.37266
    +1
    no because there was a professor who said it was impossible for the earth to be a billion years old,here is his conclusion the magnitic pole of the earth loses the entensity he said that it can be tracked back to15000 or 20.000 years and the megnitic pole was to strong that there was no way there could be reproduction of humans
  • Jesferk... david.a... 2012/12/03 13:24:59
    Jesferkicks
    +1
    It is impossible for the earth to be a billion years old. It's over 4 billion years old.
  • uguess 2012/12/03 06:38:57
    Yes
    uguess
    +1
    IF YOU WANT A TRUE REALITY CHECK AND NEED TO KNOW THE TRUTH OF THE LAST 60 YRS. WATCH THIS VIDEO, IT THE AMERICAN VERSION OF THE FROG IN THE POT STORY.

    IF YOU GET A PASSWORD REQUEST, try it again later, Veimo, after what they feel are to many people watching the video, they lock it down for 24 hrs. Or at least that is what the tech guy told me. So keep trying

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  • Christian 2012/12/03 05:43:40
    Yes
    Christian
    All the planets hold the key to the origins of life. Mercury is actually the core of a planet that was hit by a giant asteroid or a small planet billions of years ago. Mercury is a very dense planet with huge iron content, but it having water and organic material is not a surprise to me, when we start looking closer at the other moons and planets, most will have water and organic materials. Radiation from the sun of course kills organic material but if that material is somehow protected and given moisture it can also give rise to living organic cells, Photosynthesis on earth is an example of this affect.
  • Hawkeye Christian 2012/12/03 10:26:01
    Hawkeye
    +1
    Interresting that you should bring up the subject of Planetary Impacts.. There are those who believe it ONCE happened to US...

    The " Giant Impact Hypothesis " states that the Moon was formed out of the debris left over from a collision between the Earth and a body roughly the size of Mars, approximately four and a half billion years ago.... The colliding body is sometimes called Theia,,, for the mythical Greek Titan who was the mother of Selene,, the goddess of the Moon.
  • Christian Hawkeye 2012/12/03 11:38:30 (edited)
    Christian
    It did happen to us, there once was 100 planets from Mars to where Mercury is, they collided with each-other, some where destroyed and pulled into the sun, and some were bounced into the outer part of the solar system, where they were caught in the gravitation fields of Jupiter and Saturn, some went all the way to the Kuiper belt and were destroyed there or went into orbit.
  • Christian Christian 2012/12/03 11:39:55
    Christian
    The moon was formed that way, that's a good theory. The earth never could catch a asteroid or planetoid that size going that speed.
  • Hawkeye Christian 2012/12/03 12:06:47
    Hawkeye
    +1
    It's is a theory that arose from a complete study of the material brought back from our moon landings.. It has a SOLID Iron Core as opposed to Earth's Molten core,, suggesting that it's formation did not proceed in the same manner as the rest of the Planets..

    That solid core and the composition of the material brought back suggests that it was formed,, at least in part,, from the same materials as is found today on Earth..
  • Hawkeye Christian 2012/12/03 12:00:03
    Hawkeye
    +1
    Yes.. Much of the debris left over from the planet forming phase of our solar systam found it's way into the Sun,, the Asteroid Belt just outside the orbit of Mars or the Kuiper belt of which NOW Pluto is a part.. Much of it went into the sun and we're STILL seeing IMPACTS on the Planets that make up our Solar system..
  • Donald Eric Kesler 2012/12/03 05:42:56
    Yes
    Donald Eric Kesler
    +1
    The discovery of both water and organic matter on Mercury make it very interesting.
  • joe.noonan2 2012/12/03 03:51:42
    Yes
    joe.noonan2
  • Swordfish 2012/12/03 02:35:05
  • Kyori Swordfish 2012/12/03 09:13:55
    Kyori
    +2
    oh good, I was about to call you an idiot lol
  • PurpleTurtle 2012/12/02 23:25:17
    No
    PurpleTurtle
    +1
    I'm a huge astronomy geek. I even want to go into it.
    If you compare the history of Earth to Mars, I think Mars missed its shot. However, I do think the depths of our oceans are where to look if the need to get achieve a better grasp on Earth's history is desired.
    Now, speaking in terms of whether or not Mars was once capable of sustaining life, sure. I don't doubt it, But, I highly doubt it ever held "intelligent life", coming from a more subjective view. I personally think that observing planets outside of our solar system could give a better idea of if there's life in other places, specifically intelligent.
  • sha_lyn68 PurpleT... 2012/12/03 04:04:56
    sha_lyn68
    +1
    Why should we compare Earth and Mars when the subject is water found on Mercury?
  • PurpleT... sha_lyn68 2012/12/03 18:14:03 (edited)
    PurpleTurtle
    +1
    Why do you think? Who else has water? Earth. Earth sustains life. Life needs water.
    Mars has "water", was Mars ever like Earth, or did it have the potential to be like Earth.
  • Anarimus PurpleT... 2012/12/04 03:50:05
    Anarimus
    +1
    Enceladus has water, Europa has something liquid underneath all that ice.
  • PurpleT... Anarimus 2012/12/04 05:34:19
    PurpleTurtle
    +1
    Whats that a response too...?
  • Anarimus PurpleT... 2012/12/06 02:26:06
    Anarimus
    +1
    Just mentioning it. Mars has organic compounds and space has sugar floating around in it.

    mmmmm. suuuuugar....
  • PurpleT... Anarimus 2012/12/06 14:35:12
    PurpleTurtle
    +1
    i like it in my cookies.
    wut about u?
  • Anarimus PurpleT... 2012/12/08 00:10:26
    Anarimus
    Trying to avoid it.
  • activ1 2012/12/02 23:01:49
    Yes
    activ1
    +3
    Actually, I wish there was a choice of "maybe" here. If we discover any sign of life on other planets, it may give us more insight on organisms we have here on earth, and finally answer the biggest question we have about the Universe. The idea that life could exist only here on earth, and no place else in the Universe is absurd.
  • Half Naked Guy 2012/12/02 22:46:55
    No
    Half Naked Guy
    +1
    ....Mercury isn't full of idiots like Earth.Mercury's is just too inhospitable.
  • yaaarrrggghhh 2012/12/02 22:46:13
    No
    yaaarrrggghhh
    +1
    I would think that Mercury holding water and organic material would ony show that there is water and organic material on Mercury. It could have come from Earth actually.
  • BobbyOu... yaaarrr... 2012/12/03 01:35:09
    BobbyOuroboros
    +1
    And I suppose you believe that the organic material found on Pluto came from Earth too?
  • yaaarrr... BobbyOu... 2012/12/03 02:06:44
    yaaarrrggghhh
    +1
    I didn't say I believed it did. I said it could have. Organic material is very widespread throughout our solar system. Many of the "organic compounds" known today have no connection whatsoever with any substance found in living organisms.
  • BobbyOu... yaaarrr... 2012/12/03 02:14:13
    BobbyOuroboros
    +1
    then why the controversy? Anyone with an 7th grade education in science should that organic material just mean the most basic building blocks for life
  • yaaarrr... BobbyOu... 2012/12/03 02:28:50
    yaaarrrggghhh
    +1
    Actually organic material is just a group of compounds that contain a carbon atom. As I said before, many organic compounds have nothing to do with the building blocks of life.

    Like I said, the discovery of water and carbon on Mercury means nothing more than the fact that it is there. If, as the drawing illustrates, the water is concentrated in deep craters, then it would seem that the water could have been transported there as ice and crashed into the planet.

    Here's a good one. If water was ejected from the Earth in a cataclysmic eruption, it could have frozen into huge water asteroids, and eventually picked up by Mercury's gravity. Then again it might have been transported by comet from who knows where.
  • DeathByPartisanship 2012/12/02 22:42:13
    Yes
    DeathByPartisanship
    +1
    How the hell should I know? Let the scientist tell us.
  • A. J. Kenner 2012/12/02 21:18:54
    Yes
    A. J. Kenner
    +4
    All the Plnets in our Solar System have chemical and elemental clues as to the origins of the Planets and Solar System. We are not even scratching the surface of what the creation of it all was, but we are on the right track and only continued exploration, evealuation and experimentation will reveal what we want to know.
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