A stupid idea, but could it ever work?

Discussion in 'Earth Science' started by alexb123, Feb 14, 2006.

  1. Light Registered Senior Member

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    Very sorry, Protostar, but I do not. Everything I've ever read on the subject indicates that you are on a one-person one-way trip to nowhere.

    While you do have a very few physical facts right, I'm not aware of a single recognized scientist anywhere that agrees with the rest of your outlandish ideas. If you can show me one, I'd be very interested to see what he/she has to say.
     
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  3. Laika Space Bitch Registered Senior Member

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    Light, you're right; the Earth's core could be a nuclear reactor. The core is largely iron and nickel. Uranium and iron are chemically incompatible, although I've read that the uranium might exist as a sulphur compound. I'm a bit skeptical myself. I wonder how much uranium was available in the solar nebula.
     
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  5. Ophiolite Valued Senior Member

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    This is an excellent document that examines the cosmic abundance of uranium, its geochemistry, and impact upon Earth history. You will note that the consensus is that uranium is a lithophile element, being found in the mantle and enriched in the crust. A minority view, with little supporting evidence places a uranium core at the centre of the planet with a self sustaining reactor producing plutonium. [Based on the very sketchy nature of this evidence I understand George Bush has decided to invade the mantle. "It's all downhill from here on in, boys."]
    http://www.uic.com.au/nip78.htm

    As to its abundance in the solar nebula, this link http://www.orionsarm.com/science/Abundance_of_Elements.html suggests 0.2 parts per billion. Please note that the abundance in the rocky planetismals from which the Earth formed would be at least an order of magnitude higher than this, and probably closer to two orders of magnitude, so around five to twenty parts per billion.

    Ah, I'm feeling smug. I just checked the first link and there is a table of abundances showing 8 parts per billion in meteorites and 21 parts per billion in the ancient mantle, which nicely brackets my back of the envelope estimates.
     
    Last edited: Mar 6, 2006
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  7. Light Registered Senior Member

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    I would think there's enough reason to suspect that - at least to a degree. Considering the research and information Ophiolite provided in his last post and the density (heaviness) of uranium, despite the fact that it apparently tends to be found higher up, it would seem that some of it would almost certainly have found it's way toward the core during the earlier stages of planet formation.

    But as I said, I readily admit that I'm no geologist.

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  8. madanthonywayne Morning in America Staff Member

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    Even if you're right, who cares. There would be no one around to enjoy it.
     
  9. doodah Registered Senior Member

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    Dr. J. M. Herndon postulated a controversial hypothesis in the mid 90's that the core may contain a nuclear georeactor. He has some interesting supportive evidence for his hypothesis, including He3/He4 ratios at hot-spots and mid-oceanic ridges. http://www.pnas.org/cgi/content/abstract/100/6/3047

    If, as Dr. Herndon suggests, this georeactor exists, then it would produce plutonium.

    For more on this hypothesis (which is not widely accepted):
    http://nuclearplanet.com/
     
  10. Slacker47 Paint it Black Registered Senior Member

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    Anchor a tube to the bottom of the ocean. The tube extends into space. If what im thinking will work, the vacuum will pull the water into space. Brief concept, i didnt really think it out
     
  11. Light Registered Senior Member

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    Too brief, I'm afraid.

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    The only thing you have to push the water up the tube is atmospheric pressure. And since that's only about 14.7psi, the water is barely going to make it above sea level. And thats starting with a vacuum which wouldn't last very long either. (vapor pressure, dissolved gasses)
     
  12. Slacker47 Paint it Black Registered Senior Member

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    Yeah, and it would freeze too.
     
  13. Slacker47 Paint it Black Registered Senior Member

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    well, 14.7 is the atmospheric surface pressure. I was talking about beyond the atmosphere. Wouldn't the vacuum of space pull water through the tube? If there was a substance with a low enough freezing point that would mix with saltwater, then this is plausible. Dig my bullshite
     
  14. Light Registered Senior Member

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    Think about it. Just exactly what do you suppose your tube would do if it were one inch in diameter? How about ten feet? How about thousands of miles? What about it being the diameter of the whole earth? In other words, what keeps the water from just being sucked off the planet right now, eh?

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    The answer is gravity. And in order to overcome gravity it needs something to push it. The only reason drinking through a straw even works is because the atmospheric pressure is pushing down on the surface causing the liquid to rise when you create a partial vacuum with your mouth.

    Even if you could apply a perfect vacuum to the end of your pipe, the most the water would rise is about 32 feet.
     
  15. CANGAS Registered Senior Member

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    Light has it covered. A vacuum doesn't suck. It just removes any pressure that would try to cancel any other pressure.

    Pressure is caused the air molecules moving and banging against other molecules. If air molecules bang against a wall with no molecules banging against the other side, the wall will be urged to move and there will be nothing to stop it.

    If there are half as many bangers on the other side, the wall will have a full urge to move one way, but a half an urge to move the other way. The wall will be urged to move, but with with less urgency.

    If there are as many bangings happening on one side as the other, the wall be in equillibrium, with no need to try to go one way or the other.

    Atmospheric pressure is caused by gravity sucking air molecules downward. At the bottom of the pile the total weight of molecules bearing down upon a certain point, or, area, can be measured as pressure.

    Inside a Space Pipe, if there are absolutely no molecules, there will be no absolute pressure, because there are no molecules to do any banging. If there are any molecules, they will be sucked down by gravity and at the bottom of the Pipe there will be some weight of molecules which can be measured as pressure.

    In the Space Pipe, if there are no molecules, there will be nothing to resist the banging of atmospheric molecules. However, since there is nothing there, in the pipe, there is also nothing that can do any work of lifting or "sucking" up. Nothin' cain't do nothin'.

    In a vacuum, there is no physical body which can push or pull upon any other body. In a gas, such as the atmosphere, there are molecular bodies which can move and push ( but not really pull ) against other bodies.

    Since I am easily amused, it has entertained me that the measure of pressure in inches of mercury is ( very roughly ) the same as feet of water.
     
  16. CANGAS Registered Senior Member

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    To violate the prime rule of these forums, Get Off The Topic, I would like to play the heretic and say that the large amount of water on this wonderful blessed planet acts as a heat sink, a thermal flywheel, and getting rid of a lot of water would make temperature equillibrium harder, not easier.

    So, I have already written a letter to every Head Of State, in the name of the thread starter, demanding that no grandiose interplanetary water divestment program be initiated. Yet. I admit that the situation must be studied and adequate math be applied to it.
     
  17. Light Registered Senior Member

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    LOL - that last paragraph!

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    And now back to the first one. Indeed! No only is it the heat sink/thermal flywheel that helps to even out the global temperatures by it's mass, it also does so by transporting tremendous amounts of heat in it's currents. Otherwise, England and southern Alaska and other places would be covered in ice year round. And not only that but the oceans are sort of useful sources of rain which just happens to sustain life on the dry land. We might be a little inconvenienced trying to live on this planet with no (or greatly reduced) water in the oceans.

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