Distant Planet an Exotic Water-World?
Astronomer Lisa Kaltenegger at the Harvard-Smithsonian Center claims to have discovered a completely new type of planet (GJ 1214b) circling a star 42 light-years from Earth. “It’s an exciting thing that we don’t have in our solar system”, because the authors suspect that the planet’s interior is filled with some exotic, high-pressure form of solid water unlike anything in our solar system. Zachary Berta stated that the interior is probably largely water molecules instead of primarily something like rock. “We’re not talking about either a frozen core of normal ice or a liquid water ocean. You’re getting into weird states of matter when you’re describing this.” REALLY?
For about fifteen years I have been advocating that the giant planets, Jupiter, Saturn, Uranus and Neptune are composed of solid methane gas hydrate,
The accretion of which begins by ice crystals forming on dust particles and the subsequent formation of snowflakes, snowballs, planetesimals and after more than 50 million years into frozen giants. Methane gas hydrate is actually not an uncommon form of water, even found beneath the ocean on Earth. It only forms under high pressure, low temperature conditions in the presence of large amounts of methane. It is structurally not compressible as would be true of a gaseous planet, thus accounting for the low average density of the giant planets. The water molecules form cage structures, most of which contain a methane molecule, accounting for the continual presence of methane in the atmospheres of the giant planets.
But these planets have two additional properties which have enabled the production of the terrestrial planets in our solar system. (a) A fraction of the cages of water molecules encapsulate all the heavy elements that were present in the nascent solar system, before any terrestrial planets formed. (b) The massive presence of hydrogen and deuterium and the high atmospheric pressure at their surfaces, results in unimaginably large fusion explosions when large high-speed bodies impact their surfaces. The resulting plasma cloud, easily a thousand times the size of the giant planet and over 10,000 K, rebounds and rapidly contracts forming a hot, high density proto-planet. This process produced the planet Venus only 6,000 years ago.
The overwhelming concentration of hydrogen and oxygen ejected by the impacts produces massive amounts of water, which remains undetected in the solar system until captured by the proto-planet when it cools, or by extant terrestrial planets in the system. Evidence for the influx of water on Earth from the recent creation of Venus lies in the small ‘house-sized’ comets which are estimated at hundreds of tons per day. Because the entire Cyclic Catastrophism scenario is not known to modern astrophysics, these comet sightings have resulted in enormous controversy, causing Prof. Louis Frank to be publicly scorned and ostrasized. I maintain that these ‘comets’ are low density, snowflake-like conglomerationss because they formed a weightless environment.
Assuming the exoplanet (GJ 1214b) is a methane gas hydrate planet similar in size to Neptune, which only form far from the parent star where it is very cold, the question remains whether the exoplanet formed farther from the star and been perturbed into its current orbit, or whether it has recently been captured from another system. These planets normally have an average density of 1.0 but because they have a rocky-iron core, the evaporation of the methane gas hydrates would cause a planet GJ 1214b to have a higher density, consistent with the estimated 2.0.
A related observation is that of CW Leonis, which has been observed to be surrounded by a cloud of warm water vapor. This expanding red giant has been evaporating its giant methane gas hydrate planets one at a time sending repeated blasts of water outward, the more distant ones are pictured as ‘dust’, but are actually water ice crystal. as it expands.
Michael Chrichton wrote astutely about scientific consensus:
In science consensus is irrelevant. … The greatest scientists in history are great precisely because they broke with the consensus. There is no such thing as consensus science. If it’s consensus, it isn’t science. If it’s science, it isn’t consensus. Period.