Mercury Mission Is Jaw Dropping

The innermost and smallest planet in the Solar System which orbits the sun slightly under 88 days has been the focus of many articles for Messenger’s amazing data collecting mission. Finding things that no theorist would have ever predicted. In fact, last March the mission revealed some eye-popping data that has sent many of them back to the drawing board. Mercury is different from what has been described in the textbooks.

In last week’s journal of science, strange hollows were discovered on Mercury. Could this be something like on Mars which has similar features? It has been speculated that Mars features were a consequence of evaporating carbon dioxide ice. But there is no carbon dioxide ice on Mercury, so what is it? Evidence of volcanism! The strange hollows have been observed with three flybys, and the extent of them exceeded expectations, described by the BBC as having enough lava to cover Washington DC by 26,000 km.

Space.com says…

“Based on the way this lava apparently eroded the underlying surface, the researchers suggest it rushed out rapidly. We can’t say if it took 2.7 days or 15 years or any exact time from orbit, but it wasn’t hundreds of millions of years,” Head added.

Mercury’s northern high latitudes had largely escaped view until now. When we flew by Mercury the first time with Mariner 10, we weren’t really sure if volcanism caused these smooth plains,” Head told SPACE.com. Now we’re in orbit with Messenger, we’re up close and personal, just going around and around and really building up our picture of Mercury.”

What is strange about this observation when it comes to the old age framework, why would very massive volcanism turn on like that, last a few short years, and then stop and then remain unchanged for billions of years?

One of the reasons there is a Mercury mission is trying to solve, it’s magnetic field mystery. Back in the 1970s, scientists were surprised to find that Mercury had one because with the “dynamo theory” it should have frozen out long ago. It suggested that Mercury was younger than billions of years. Mercury’s magnetic field is unable to provide protection from the solar wind.

Science daily writes…

“Only six months into its Mercury orbit, the tiny MESSENGER spacecraft has shown scientists that Mercury doesn’t conform to theory. Its surface material composition differs in important ways from both those of the other terrestrial planets and expectations prior to the MESSENGER mission, calling into question current theories for Mercury’s formation. Its magnetic field is unlike any other in the Solar System, and there are huge expanses of volcanic plains surrounding the north polar region of the planet and cover more than 6% of Mercury’s surface…. Theorists need to go back to the drawing board on Mercury’s formation,” remarked the lead author of one of the papers, Carnegie’s Larry Nittler. “Most previous ideas about Mercury’s chemistry are inconsistent with what we have actually measured on the planet’s surface.”

While some claim planetary scientists enjoy surprises for job security reasons, and designing a spacecraft to be able to gather data is quite a feat, the old-age framework has been one of the reasons why observations are not matching up with theories. Increasing complexity for a theory is never good, it often leads to telling a story and passing it off as better than empirical data. Suggesting bursts of massive lava all over the north, then shut off for billions of years, while things are being hollowed out in a process that could still be ongoing today, is forcing the data into the framework.

While suggesting that a planet is smaller than Titan is able to keep an iron core liquid long enough so that a global magnetic field can survive.  As a result of this complexity, they have to create a planet with elements that were believed not possible to exist so close to the sun, but then keep vast deposits of it intact after billions of years of solar heat and bombardment. Their story telling is not nearly as good as the data itself. The Mercury is a great mission so far and it’s making clearer rather than more complex that it is younger (thousands of years) and designed by a Creator, namely God!

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13 thoughts on “Mercury Mission Is Jaw Dropping

  1. @Michael

    You quote the article as saying…

    “Based on the way this lava apparently eroded the underlying surface, the researchers suggest it rushed out rapidly. We can’t say if it took 2.7 days or 15 years or any exact time from orbit, but it wasn’t hundreds of millions of years,” Head added.

    Michael, this only proves that the lava deposits are young…It doesn’t follow that ALL such deposits are also. .

    What is strange about this observation when it comes to the old age framework, why would very massive volcanism turn on like that, last a few short years, and then stop and then remain unchanged for billions of years?

    Again, Michael, if Murcury is 4.6 billion years old, it doesn’t follow that the lava deposits should all be of the same age.. We have such activity on earth as well now as we speak, but that doesn’t imply anything on an old earth framework,. Your lackof understanding and your over simplistic logic is really telling.

  2. Finding things that no theorist would have ever predicted. In fact, last March the mission revealed some eye-popping data that has sent many of them back to the drawing board. Mercury is different from what has been described in the textbooks.

    As Lance says, “Very interesting!”

    Guess what, Michael. We don’t spend billions of your hard-earned tax dollars for huge projects when we do not expect to find something that was not predicted. Only creationists would perform experiments for the purpose of confirming what they already know.

    That’s why they are in charge of building theme parks, instead of mounting scientific missions.

    .

    Nota bene that Michael is still clings to the false hope that someone somewhere is too dumb to realize that evidence against Theory A is not evidence for Theory Z. Creationists were at least more respectable when they stuck to the basic claim that the Bible supports special creation, and merely ignored science altogether.

  3. Giant scientific missions and giant theme parks both gulp our hard-earned tax dollars in subsidies. The purpose of the missions is to advance our knowledge about the universe we live in, so that we can exert more control over it. The purpose of the theme parks is to persuade people that Sleeping Beauty—or Noah’s Ark—was real, so they will feel better. In allocating limited resources between the two, we must decide which goal is the more important.

    .

    Thus, if Michael wishes to ride the coattails of the Mercury missions for any scientific purpose, then he owes his readers an explanation of how these missions advance the state of knowledge concerning his theory of special creation.

    That is, what can the facts in this post tell us about the nature of the processes by which creation was accomplished, so that we can better know its effects upon our environment and how to choose among actions to take in the future?

    For example, what does volcanism on Mercury tell creationists about how God went about building mountains? What do the similarity in hollows on Mars and Mercury tell creationists about whether or not these two planets were formed on the same Day or at exactly the same time? What does the existence of magnetism on Mercury—but not on Venus–explain about the methods that God may have employed in creating the different planets, and why?

    Unless Michael can describe how these facts add to or change their model of how the universe was created. then he has no claim to the mantle of science, and is merely trying to substantiate a magic myth that explains nothing and never will. What he advocates is not science but apologetics.

  4. Olorin,

    Here we go with the straw man, nothing in my post mentions that this is proof on a same-day creation time frame as far as this part of science goes, which is about the only thing you can think of to attack. However it does prove complexity in a theory is not logical to continue and with the fact that you have nothing to debate about this subject since theories about Mercury’s formation based on naturalism have been falsified by direct observations.

    Mercury was overlooked for many years because it was supposed to be a dead planet, meaning not much to learn about. So missions were focused on other planets like Saturn, and its moons. And guess what? Pluto is going to be the next major surprise for secular scientists when its spaceship gets there! I love space exploration! There will be still some more for Mercury, but Pluto will be the next major one.

    What you don’t understand, assumptions does not mean facts, nor do you learn anything from them as theories of Mercury have proven that. Its interesting how with their own assumptions, how difficult it really is to fit it in with the actual data. There are mechanisms to explain Mercury’s youthfulness like how clouds create rain, but they don’t fit into the old-age framework. Creationists are not against the idea of clouds creating storms. Because of its design. Similar to how machines are designed and work. And of course machines are built by what? Intelligence! :)

  5. Here we go with the straw man, nothing in my post mentions that this is proof on a same-day creation time frame as far as this part of science goes, which is about the only thing you can think of to attack.

    Well, Michael, that was your only point, so there is nothing else to attack. Just in case your memory has failed again, here it is—

    The Mercury is a great mission so far and it’s making clearer rather than more complex that it is younger (thousands of years) and designed by a Creator, namely God!

  6. For several years, Michael’s devoted readers have requested that he provide some soupcon of background that he might possess to qualify him in any way to pontificate about science—about particular fields specifically or science in general, about how scientists judge evidence or evaluate theories, about how experiments are conducted or interpreted.

    So far, all that Michael has vouchsafed to us is that he once looked through a microscope as a kid, and pressed his nose against a TV watching a cousin do something sciency.

    Meanwhile, we have his howlers such as zinc being a complex biological compound, copper being soft tissue, ancient males having more metal in their teeth than females, and million-year-old Homo erectus mating with 35,000-year-old Homo sapiens.

    Then, to cap it all off, he presume to tell a professional astronomer with decades of research experience that he doesn’t know what he’s talking about regarding theories of dark matter. Even worse, he doesn’t even know why creationists try so hard to disprove its existence. He doesn’t even know anything about his own theory!

    That is sad. What is even worse, he denies his ignorance. Because he knows a few isolated facts—and occasionally even gets them right—he denies his own ignorance. Like one of Oliver Sacks’ patients who denied that his arm was paralyzed even when shown that he could not move it. (He maintained that he chose not to move it.)

    Michael, your credibility has hit the skids and crashed the firewall. You have not the slightest idea what you are talking about. Much of the time, you do not even understand the questions we ask.

    You may have noticed that the only commenters who agree with you do so from religious beliefs, not on any evidentiary basis. None of them have ever been able to support anything you say about science, nor offered any positive evidence for special creation. This might be a clue why no one trusts you..

    E komo mai.

  7. In comments to Michael’s post of July 22, 53isaiah challenged a mis-citation of this humble commendatore, and offered additional work in opposition. However, his argument devolved into theological posturing, and, when shown his misinterpretation of his own citations, he picked up his marbles—his marble—and left in a hissy fit.

    So the point remains. All arguments for special creation are religious, not scientific.

    .

    And creationism itself is scientifically bankrupt. Nothing in it offers any basis for understanding the operation of the physical world, for controlling any natural phenomena, or for judging the consequences of human actions with regard to our environment. If Michael believes there is any such basis, he is hereby challenged to name one. Otherwise, knock off the claptrap about doing science.

  8. There are mechanisms to explain Mercury’s youthfulness like how clouds create rain, but they don’t fit into the old-age framework.

    OK, Michael, yer on. You brought it up. Describe specifically how the theory of special creation explains this, and in detail why it does not fit any old-earth hypothesis

  9. Creationists are not against the idea of clouds creating storms. Because of its design. Similar to how machines are designed and work. And of course machines are built by what? Intelligence! :)

    Also, please inform us how clouds creating storms is evidence of design.

    Design of the clouds, or of anything else.

    Desperate, Michael; desperate.

  10. Pluto is going to be the next major surprise for secular scientists,,,,

    What you don’t understand, assumptions does not mean facts

    Michael, please explain how you can be so sure of your first statement above, in view of your second statement above.

    THEN explain what facts the theory of special creation PREDICTS we shall find on Pluto that real science has not predicted.

    .

    Ho hum. At this point, I’m ha’i mo’olelo only to myself. Good night.

  11. Olorin

    THEN explain what facts the theory of special creation PREDICTS we shall find on Pluto that real science has not predicted.

    Oh, pick me! Pick me!

    Whatever it is, it’s been intelligently designed! :P

  12. My copy of the 30 Sept Science finally arrived yesterday. Our mailman says the USPS is “rolling zip codes” in our area, because of the closure of several sorting centers. Each day they select a subset of local zips and sort at least one class of mail only for those codes.

    So, after reading the news summary and seven research reports on the Mercury Messenger mission, it seems the joke is on Michael.

    As to the origin of Mercury, the surprise was this: Because of its near-solar position, scientists had expected that Mercury might have formed differently. Instead, the evidence showed that Mercury had very likely originated in the same way as all the other inner rocky planets. That is, the surprise is that Mercury is the same as the others, not that it is different, as Michael touts. For example, it had been thought that Mercury’s nearness to the Sun argued for an early reducing environment; however, Messenger showed that Mercury was originally oxidizing, just like Venus, Earth, and Mars.

    While Mercury’s origin now appears more similar, its orbital closeness to the Sun does affect present geological processes. Some of these processes are surprising. However, they do not confound predictions, because the previous lack of any relevant data had precluded such predictions. For example, the present high sulfur and low iron content were unexpected—not because predictions to the contrary had been made, but merely because they differ from Earth’s present ratios.

    .

    The origins of Earth and Mercury turn out to be more similar than scientists had thought. This overall conclusion had of course entirely escaped Michael’s understanding. Creationists shy away from big pictures. Instead, they go Dumpster-diving among the data fringes, grasping at small matters that might not fit easily, or that show scientists were ignorant or even wrong about details. And, of course, conspiracy theories that astronomers endeavor to hide evidence or deliberately distort it.

    Creationists are eager to spot a possible anomaly in the details—such as the S/Fe abundances. They even pounce upon things that differ from Earth, even if there is no connection whatever to an old or young Mercury—such as the asymmetrical magnetic field.

    What they do not do is to fit their possible anomalies into any larger scheme of what the overall data may demonstrate. Or even to show any relationship among the anomalies they do point out. To do so would be to expose inconsistencies in their own theory.

    .

    The title of the news article in Science gives away Michael’s misinterpretation game:
    >> “Mercury Looking Less Exotic, More a Member of the Family” ( 333 Sci 1812).

    The research reports are:
    >> “The major-Element Composition of Mercury’s Surface from MESSENGER X-ray Spectrometry” (pp.1847-50);
    >>”Radioactive Element’s on Mercury’s Surface from MESSENGER: Implications for the Planet’s Formation and Evolution” (pp. 1850-52);
    >> “Flood Volcanism in the Northern High Latitudes of Mercury Revealed by MESSENGER” (pp.1853-56); [Oops! A creationist keyword. Hop on iot, Michael.]
    >> “Hollows on Mercury: MESSENGER Evidence for Geologically Recent Volatile-Related Activity” (pp.1856-59) [If Michael still believes this indicates a young age fro Mercury, he should read the whole paper, not just the title.]
    >> “The Global Magnetic Field of Mercury from MESSENGER Orbital Observations” (pp.1859-62);
    >> MESSENGER Observations of the Spatial Distribution of Planetary Ions Near Mercury” (pp. 1862-65);
    >> “MESSENGER Observations of Transient Bursts of Energetic Electrons in Mercury’s Magnetosphere” (pp. 1865-68).

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