Pluto: accidental creation

In about two and one-half days (14 July 2015, 11:50 UTC), a ship named New Horizons will pass close to the dwarf planet Pluto. It has approached Pluto for six months, after a voyage of nine and a half years. And already it has found, or confirmed, evidence of the true nature, and origin, of Pluto. We must regard Pluto as a recent creation. And an accidental one. A product of the most violent event the earth has ever known, the one event worthy of the name cataclysm.

Findings about Pluto

New Horizons takes off for Pluto

New Horizons launches atop an Atlas V rocket, 19 January 2006. Credits: NASA/JHUAPL/SwRI

New Horizons launched on 19 January 2006. The piano-sized spacecraft flew by Jupiter on 28 February 2007 to get a gravity boost. That boost set it on an almost radial transit toward Pluto. It cannot orbit Pluto or land on it. But it will follow a course similar to the one Pluto first followed, about five thousand years ago. (More on that below.)

As New Horizons flew toward Pluto, its controllers used the Hubble Space Telescope to search for any object that might drift into its way. They had to. Pluto flies about four and a half light-hours away from earth. No ship flying to intercept it can possibly take orders in real time. So the controllers had to preload all the orders for New Horizons to follow. And make sure New Horizons steers clear of any stray obstacles.

So the controllers searched for any moons of Pluto other than the three they already knew about. In 2011 and 2012 they found two: Styx (for the black river of the underworld, an oath sworn on which would bind even the gods) and Kerberos (for the three-headed pet wolf of the god Pluto). New Horizons has since taken relative close-ups of both objects.

This might not seem relevant. But this finding alone bears directly on the origin of Pluto. This and several other findings defy conventional explanation:

  • Why should Pluto have moons? Humans by now have found five. The New Horizons team expects to find many more.
  • Why should the orbits of those moons be almost circular? What could have braked those moons, especially the smaller ones (Styx, Nix, Kerberos, and Hydra), into those orbits?
  • Why should Pluto and Charon, its largest moon, form a wide binary? The barycenter of the Plutonian system lies above the surface of Pluto. Charon has a mass slightly more than a seventh of the mass of Pluto. But NASA readily acknowledges that the two bodies have more differences than features in common. How, then, could Pluto have captured Charon and brought it into an almost circular orbit?
  • Where did Pluto get its rust color? That’s right: rust. Astronomers have known for decades: the surface of Pluto has the color of iron rust. Iron rust needs surface iron and an oxygen-rich atmosphere. How did Pluto get either one? Especially the oxygen? (Charon does not share the rust color of Pluto.)

Conventional theories

Conventional planetary science cannot answer any of these questions. For instance: conventional theory holds that a giant impactor struck Pluto and ejected Charon from it. If so, why should Pluto have a rust color and Charon not have one? And why didn’t Charon fly off as an independent trans-Neptunian object in its own right? How, for that matter, could any two trans-Neptunian objects form a wide binary? For Pluto and Charon do not form the only wide binary beyond the orbit of Neptune. (For that matter, many more TNO’s than only Pluto have a rust color.)

The Hydroplate Theory

Walter T. Brown, of the Center for Scientific Creation, can explain where Pluto came from, and how it found its way beyond Neptune. Fifty-three hundred years ago (give or take a hundred), a subcrustal ocean on earth broke containment and created a hypersonic jet flying straight up. Perhaps four percent of the earth’s mass escaped into space by this jet. So this event did more than flood over all the land areas of the earth and kill every human, land animal, and bird (except for a family of eight that built an incredible wooden life-ship and took specimens of every taxonomic family of land animal and bird). It also seeded the solar system with the materials for the Mavericks of the Solar System. This class of objects includes meteoroids, comets, asteroids – and trans-Neptunian objects. Pluto belongs to the TNO class, as one of its largest members.

All TNO’s, like all asteroids, formed from swarms of escaped matter from earth. Pluto had two components that would give it its rust color: iron in rocks, and oxygen from water vapor. The sun, shining on the object that would become Pluto, dissociated the water vapor into its constituent elements, hydrogen and oxygen. The oxygen combined with the iron. This formed the rust. The rust gives Pluto its color. That could happen in the inner solar system but never in the outer.

Another thing that could form only in the inner solar system: crystalline ice. Astronomers at Arizona State University knew this on 17 July 2007. Says Walt Brown: only amorphous ice could form beyond Neptune. Never crystalline.

An object can only form from a swarm of dust and rock traveling together. Pluto and Charon formed near enough to one another to form a wide binary. Yet they formed from different swarms, of different compositions. Pluto got iron; Charon did not. So one can confidently predict: if anyone ever does plan a sample-analysis mission to the Pluto-Charon system, they will find Pluto richer in iron ore than Charon – if Charon has any iron ore at all.

The other moons in the Pluto-Charon system (however many New Horizons will find) formed from rocks that did not fall into either body, but were part of the two swarms.

The two largest objects, once formed, gathered some of the surrounding gases to form atmospheres. Those atmospheres exerted more pressure on their “daylight” sides than on their night sides. (In addition, the solar wind pushed against both objects, as conventional wind pushes against a sail.) Thus they gained enough momentum for a transit toward a gas giant, probably Jupiter. There they got the gravity boost that sent them to the orbit where Clyde W. Tombaugh found Pluto in 1930. Most of the TNO’s must have gained similar gravity boosts. The reason: they all have arguments of perihelion that cluster around two values 180 degrees apart. (If those objects were millions of years old, their arguments of perihelion would have a completely random distribution by now.)

The remaining objects braked in the high-gas-density environment of the inner solar system after the Flood. This braking gave them their near-circular orbits.

Pluto and Charon present a special case. Each object fell into tidal lock against the other. (The sidereal day of Pluto last exactly the same amount of time as the sidereal month of Charon.) In coming to tidal lock, they transferred their individual angular momentum (as rotating objects) to the binary system they now formed (as mutually orbiting objects). This not only set the distance they keep between them but also made their orbit a perfect circle (eccentricity: zero).

In sum

Pluto, unlike the other planets in the solar system, formed by accident. It did not form from any giant impactor. (Nor did any such object strike Pluto.) Instead, Pluto came from some of the stuff of earth.

Reprinted from, with an extended gallery, and from Conservative News and Views

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