Alien Biology

A mysterious announcement with a touch of hype was presented last month, NASA was calling for a news conference in December. Could it be? Did NASA actually discover life on other planets?  Speculation exploded all over the internet! As it turns out, it failed commentators speculations. What they discovered was evidence of a bacterial strain found on Earth that was capable of metabolizing arsenic and incorporating it into structural molecules of the cell.

GFAJ-1, was found at Mono Lake in California. When a shortage of phosphorus occurs, this particular bacterial strain is able to incorporate arsenic into its biological structures. This may seem strange or counter-intuitive but the key is in its concentration which can render it  non-toxic when it reaches a certain level. Arsenic has similar chemical properties as phosphorus does. This certainly does not constitutes evidence for alien life forms!

Moreover, researchers discovered GFAJ-1 suffered a fitness loss. There was a 38% drop in growth rate when fed on arsenic rather than phosphorus and also the bacteria that was fed arsenic appeared structurally weaker than those fed on phosphorus as demonstrated by the robust integrity of the phosphorus fed cells in comparison to the arsenic-fed cells when prepared for analysis. Not only isn’t this proof for alien life forms, this observation wouldn’t be good for expectations in the framework of evolution.

This was well-orchestrated publicity stunt by NASA in order to obtain attention for itself. Speaking of alien life forms, a video appeared where AP reporter Seth Borenstein states, “Evidence for E.T. is mounting daily, but not proven,”. The video begins by claiming, “Science is not about blind faith” which is true, good science is not about blind faith, but he’s talking about no examples to go by but claim they know what they are looking for.  Borenstien states, “Lately, a handful of new discoveries make it seem more likely that we are not alone – that there is life somewhere else in the universe”. Alien biology is all about man’s imagination rather than emperical science.

How good are scientists speculating about what’s out there in space? It’s one thing to talk the big talk, it’s another thing to back up that talk. The Cassini mission which has been utterly amazing with it’s observations has gathered more observational data of the geysers on Enceladus. This phenomena continues to erupt out the south pole. How good were scientists at predicting such an observation on Enceladus? Scientists believed based on it’s assumed age of billions of years old that Enceladus should be an inactive moon, frozen out long ago. The geysers were discovered last year show bright jets shooting gas and dust outward at supersonic speeds.  These particles create the E-ring we see around Saturn. Active geysers would have never been predicted by scientists because of  very old age assumptions.  The solar system as well as the universe is way younger and yes there is more activity yet to be discovered! Now scientists speculated on the level of complexity of these geysers contain, the new data shows them to be more complex than previous thought.

My point is this, scientists who are into alien biology are going by blind faith, they have trouble predicting what’s in our own solar system let along trying to predict what is further out there!

Trying To Keep Observations Old When They Look Young

Keeping Saturn old was not much of a challenge for secular planetary scientists, it was easy to just assume  the planet with it’s rings was 4.5 billion years old and they expected to observe those expectations.  However, the Cassini mission didn’t turn out the data in what they expected. For example, Saturn’s rings with its array of beautiful colors and shapes that in 1610 were called by Galileo who was the first to discover them, “”handles” or large moons on either side of the planet. Many years later, Christann Huyges proposed that Saturn was surrounded by a solid ring. The first pictures of majestic rings were taken in 1979 by Pioneer 11.

The Cassini spacecraft began to take highly detailed pictures of Saturn’s rings that were absolutely breath-taking but surprises began to mount for those who believe the Universe is billions of years old because Saturn’s rings are young-looking. The ices are way too clean to be 4.5 billion years old being under the forces acting upon them that are so pervasive. So the old idea that proposed the rings formed when Saturn did fell out of favor with a need for new imaginative explanations.

One has turned up and this is not a new idea in particular but a variant of another idea, according to the BBC news:  “Saturn’s rings may have formed when a large moon with an icy mantle and rocky core spiralled into the nascent planet.” Whenever observations in our solar system do not match the old age framework or a particular theory based on naturalism, an asteroid or comet is then evoked as the alternative explanation. For example, that alternative explanation has been used for other planets like Mercury and Venus. It was funny to read that Carl Murray thought it was “a clever way to explain the peculiarly icy nature of the rings” lol.

In Science Daily, the article boosts about how in 1979, Prof. Akiva Bar-Nun from Tel Aviv University’s Department of Geophysics and Planetary Sciences “developed the theory that there were lakes on Titan. Upon falling to the moon’s surface, he theorized, the hydrocarbons in the atmosphere would form lakes with a depth of approximately 43 meters had they been covering the entire surface of Titan. In addition, he hypothesized that the same elements would form aerosols in the atmosphere.” Later estimations were even higher based on the assumption it’s billions of years old. What Cassini spacecraft actually found in 2005 concerning bodies of liquid on the surface of Titan are restricted to scattered lakes in the polar regions!  The prediction vastness of the lakes was falsified while his other prediction concerning the lakes being hydrocarbons rather than water was verified.

In 2005, the Cassini spacecraft made a starling discovery, there are active geysers at the south pole of little moon Enceladus! It had astronomers shaking their heads, how could a small dead moon be still be geologically active after 4.5 billion years? It should have been frozen out billions of years ago because of lack of bulk, they say. Some computer models were created to find an alternative explanation to keep the moon old, Cassini Project Scientist Dennis Matson came up with a subsurface ocean picks up ions in the rock that bubble upward and explode out the south polar cracks. Questions emerge, like how the ocean survived for billions of years in a moon just 500 miles across, why they erupt at the south pole, and why other moons don’t do this?

JPL came up with another story which calls for friction between the sides of subsurface cracks to keep the interior warm.

“Enceladus’ orbit around Saturn is slightly oval-shaped. As it travels around Saturn, Enceladus moves closer in and then farther away. When Enceladus is closer to Saturn, it feels a stronger gravitational pull from the planet than when it is farther away. Like gently squeezing a rubber ball slightly deforms its shape, the fluctuating gravitational tug on Enceladus causes it to flex slightly. The flexing, called gravitational tidal forcing, generates heat from friction deep within Enceladus.”

Questions emerge with this story, Why does this happen only at Enceladus, and not nearby Mimas or Tethys?  What makes this unique to this one moon?  Don’t other moons librate?  Isn’t all other moons of Saturn have perfect spheres and don’t they have tidal stresses too?

It’s truly amazing on what has been discovered! While the Cassini mission has thrown secular theories a loop, it has provided a wealth of great information on confirming the Bible!

Enceladus Dilemma Attempted Fix

Planetary scientists came across something truly amazing back in 2005.  Enceladus, one of Saturn’s moons was found to be erupting with plumes of water vapor out of from its south pole! This was quite a shock to those who believe in the solar system being 4.5 billion years old because the phenomena at that age would violating the laws of thermodynamics.

Online publications like stated that this moon because of it’s presumed old age should be not active but rather it should be frozen!

“The tide may be changing for the ocean suspected under the icy shell of Enceladus. Recent research has shown that this small moon of Saturn does not produce enough heat in its present configuration to keep water from freezing down to its core.  “There is no possible combination of parameters that allow for a thermally stable ocean,” said James Roberts of the University of California, Santa Cruz.”

So scientists scrambled to find an energy source that powered geysers. They looked high and low for an energy source but came up could come up with Tidal heating.  However, neighboring moons like Mimas which is bigger than Enceladus and endures more tidal stress than Enceladus is not active. Eventually more study revealed that Tidal heating was not viable.

“Calculations told scientists it would be impossible for Enceladus to have continually produced heat and gas at this rate. Tidal movement – the pull and push from Saturn as Enceladus moves around the planet – cannot explain the release of so much energy.”

So now what? How do they reconcile the physical evidence which shows a much younger age with their theory?  A computer generated simulation which cannot be checked with empirical data. This in turn becomes a playground for storytelling. And sure enough the computer was programmed with the old age framework to come up with a simulation that worked for 4.5 billion years. And they believed they found one as Jet Propulsion Laboratory filled in us in with the details of the model.

“Cassini appears to have caught Enceladus in the middle of a burp,” said Francis Nimmo, a planetary scientist at the University of California Santa Cruz and a co-author of the new paper in Nature Geoscience. “These tumultuous periods are rare and Cassini happens to have been watching the moon during one of these special epochs.”

We are blessed to observed such phenomena which indicates a young solar system. The 4.5 framework doesn’t allow evidence to lead to a conclusion rather they have a conclusion first then attempt to fix the evidence which isn’t matching up with their theory. It’s quite possible to observe more eruptions in the future which will put those who believe in evolution back to the drawing board or should I say more computer simulations. And for those of us who believe in creationism, rejoicing once again!

NASA’s Misdirection With New Discovery In Enceladus

Science Daily reports the Cassini spacecraft has found salt on Saturn’s  outermost ring . The source which supplies the material to this ring is Enceladus.

“Cassini discovered the water-ice jets in 2005 on Enceladus. These jets expel tiny ice grains and vapor, some of which escape the moon’s gravity and form Saturn’s outermost ring. Cassini’s cosmic dust analyzer has examined the composition of those grains and found salt within them.”

“We believe that the salty minerals deep inside Enceladus washed out from rock at the bottom of a liquid layer,” said Frank Postberg, Cassini scientist for the cosmic dust analyzer at the Max Planck Institute for Nuclear Physics in Heidelberg, Germany. Postberg is lead author of a study that appears in the June 25 issue of the journal Nature.”

John Spencer, Cassini scientist at Southwest Research Institute states in Nature“The chemistry of the plumes is of intense interest not only because it provides a unique opportunity to sample the interior of an icy moon directly, but also because the interior of this particular moon provides a potential habitat for extraterrestrial life.”

Searching for so-called alien life forms has been used quite often to get people excited over space exploration. The sad part of this sale, it’s a misdirection.

Let me explain, the journal Astrobiology Vol 2. No. 2 (2002) conducted an experiment, in order to find out the reaction of  RNA and membranes with salt. What they found was, the sea salt destroys fatty-acid membranes and prevents RNA from polymerizing, even at lower concentrations which are seven times weaker than in today’s oceans.

They concluded that the origin of life in the oceans would not be possible, and that a very protected environment of fresh water would have been necessary for emergent life to evolve far enough to protect itself from the damaging effects of sea salt.

Then in Astrobiology Magazine 2007, it states…

“The amount of salts in the ocean also could be stressful for life.  [Kevin] Hand [Jet Propulsion Laboratory] says the Galileo magnetometer results indicate Europa’s ocean could be nearly saturated in either sodium chloride or magnesium sulfate.”

“If you’ve got a salt-saturated ocean, that doesn’t bode well for the origin of life,” says Hand.  “Some of the processes that lead toward the generation of polymers or the stringing together of genetic base pairs are inhibited by high salt concentrations.  That said, there are terrestrial halophiles, salt-loving microbes, that could survive in the ocean we propose.”

A couple of years later, you got the likes of the BBC and a whole host of other media outlets joining in on the misdirection in trying to sell the public that salt water is one of the key components present for the origin of life.

But not all media outlets were fooled by such nonsense. An unlikely source LiveScience which is known for attacking creationism while defending evolution even said…

“That might sell papers and generate web clicks, but it’s overstated. What NASA found was strong evidence for a salty ocean under ice on the diminutive moon Enceladus. No signs of life were found, and in fact even the ocean needs to be confirmed, scientists said.”

I hardly agree with LiveScience, but they are right about the hype, it’s about ratings, in NASA’s case, it’s about getting people exciting over the prospect of finding alien life because it makes their projects easier to fund. While I really love space exploration and hope we do a lot more of it as it declares the glories of God, we certainly don’t need this type of fraud going on like Cassini scientist John Spencer is conducting in the science community.