(Visited 528 times, 1 visits today)FacebookTwitterPinterestSave分享0 Now they say that the impactor didn’t only spin off a cloud that formed the moon; it made a donut cooked up by a goddess.For decades, secular planetologists told us they had the answer to how the moon formed. After the Apollo missions falsified all three leading theories of the day (fission, capture, and co-formation), a new consensus view latched onto a new kind of impact theory: a Mars-sized object hit the Earth at just the right angle to almost obliterate the Earth, which re-congealed; the remaining debris formed the moon. It didn’t matter that the model had to be tweaked and re-tweaked numerous times (e.g., 9 April 2015). At least they had a standard story to tell the public. They even had a name for the mythical earth smasher: Theia.Just when you thought it was safe to go out and enjoy the moon on a romantic evening, they’re swapping stories again. “First the Moon, Then Earth: New Theory Reverses Formation Story,” announces Elizabeth Howell at Space.com. Now what? Is everything they told us backwards? Well, yes. Believe it or not, the moon came first! This is a “dramatically different way of forming the moon,” according to UC Davis professor Sarah Stewart and Harvard grad student Simon Lock.Credit: Illustra MediaEarth’s moon formed inside a cloud of molten rock, and may have done so before our planet itself formed, a new theory suggests.Scientists call such a cloud a synestia, a doughnut-shaped ring of debris full of molten rock that forms in the aftermath of a protoplanet collision. In this case, it would have been a massive collision early in our solar system’s history. According to the new theory, the moon formed within a few dozen years after the crash, as the synestia shrank and cooled. The Earth subsequently emerged about 1,000 years after the moon.Now we have to learn a new word, synestia. It’s not synesthesia, a weird psychological disorder that makes some people smell color and see sound. Well, maybe it’s like that. The word is pretty weird [cue Twilight Zone theme]:In 2017, Lock and Stewart modeled the chain of events that would occur after Earth-size rocky planets smashed into other large objects, carrying lots of energy and momentum with them. The predicted result was a doughnut-shaped disk, according to press materials released that year. Their name for the newly described object, synestia, comes from the prefix “syn-” (together) and the Greek goddess “Hestia,” who represents architecture and structures.Don’t think for a moment that she is the goddess of intelligently designed architecture. To the theorists, Hestia is a blind goddess of lucky accidents that leave no trace:Synestias haven’t been spotted in the sky yet, but the authors suggest that’s because the objects are relatively short-lived. After formation, they may persist for only a few hundred years. Synestias that formed gas-giant planets or stars, however, may last longer due to their larger size, the authors said.What would motivate secular astronomers to come up with such a fact-free, occult cause for the moon? Wasn’t the old theory good enough? No. It never was.“Getting enough mass into orbit in the canonical scenario is actually very difficult, and there’s a very narrow range of collisions that might be able to do it,” Lock said in a statement from Harvard University….Lock said that the synestia theory is better than the older impact theory. One reason is that it better explains why the moon and Earth have similar isotopes, or element types: because they formed from the same cloud of molten material.The moon is also bereft of volatiles, which are substances such as hydrogen that have a low boiling temperature.Hestia to the rescue. Sarah Stuart and Simon Lock champion her cause. They believe their model gets the elements right, and allows for a wider range of collision angles to get the donut to form. “You just don’t think of a satellite forming inside another body, but this is what appears to happen,” Lock says, as he returns to the drawing board to solve all the new problems his theory creates.If you want to see a drawing of a synestia, Live Science (an affiliate with Space.com), has one. The two theorists say more about the inadequacies of the old “canonical” model:“The new work explains features of the moon that are hard to resolve with current ideas,” study author Sarah Stewart, a professor of Earth and planetary sciences at the University of California, Davis, said in a statement. “The moon is chemically almost the same as the Earth, but with some differences. This is the first model that can match the pattern of the Moon’s composition.“Don’t overlook the caveat in the article: “One caveat to the new hypothesis: Synestias remain theoretical objects that have never been observed in the universe.”So are Greek goddesses. There is an intelligent design theory that fits the observations. And the Architect is a He, not a she.