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Space Science

Comets Probably Seeded Earth's Nitrogen Atmosphere 110

Posted by samzenpus
from the in-the-beginning dept.
KentuckyFC writes "One of the biggest puzzles of astrobiology is the origin of the Earth's oceans and atmosphere. One favored theory is that our water is the leftovers from a bombardment of comets early in Earth's history. But the ratio of hydrogen and deuterium in the oceans doesn't match the ratio in the four comets measured so far (Halley's, Hyakutake, Hale-Bopp and C/2002 T7 LINEAR). Now a new analysis of the ratio of nitrogen-14 and 15 isotopes in these comets and on Earth places new limits on how much of our environment could have come from comets. On the one hand, the astronomers who did the work say that no more than a few percent of Earth's water could have come from comets. But on the other, they say that the ratio of nitrogen isotopes in these comets almost exactly matches the ratio in Earth's atmosphere. That suggests that while Earth's oceans must have come from somewhere else, Earth's early atmosphere was probably seeded by comets."
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Comets Probably Seeded Earth's Nitrogen Atmosphere

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  • by rattaroaz (1491445) on Wednesday July 01, 2009 @11:16PM (#28553843)
    Nitrogen came from comets, and methane came from Uranus.
  • by socsoc (1116769) on Wednesday July 01, 2009 @11:19PM (#28553865)
    Duh, it reproduced once it arrived on Earh.
  • No, no (Score:2, Funny)

    by djconrad (1413667) on Wednesday July 01, 2009 @11:41PM (#28553941)
    Everyone knows nitrogen is here because of the Holy Sauce dripped from His Noodly Appendage.
  • by Kratisto (1080113) on Wednesday July 01, 2009 @11:50PM (#28553967)
    Astronomers renamed that planet in 2020 to stop that stupid joke once and for all.
    Oh. What's it called now?
    Urectum
  • by Anonymous Coward on Thursday July 02, 2009 @12:05AM (#28554033)
    "One of the biggest puzzles of astrobiology is the origin of the Earth's oceans and atmosphere." No, it isn't a mystery.... Gen 1:1 In the beginning God created the heaven and the earth. Gen 1:2 And the earth was without form, and void; and darkness was upon the face of the deep. And the Spirit of God moved upon the face of the waters. Gen 1:6 And God said, Let there be a firmament in the midst of the waters, and let it divide the waters from the waters. Gen 1:7 And God made the firmament, and divided the waters which were under the firmament from the waters which were above the firmament: and it was so. Gen 1:9 And God said, Let the waters under the heaven be gathered together unto one place, and let the dry land appear: and it was so. Gen 1:10 And God called the dry land Earth; and the gathering together of the waters called he Seas: and God saw that it was good.
  • by phantomfive (622387) on Thursday July 02, 2009 @02:03AM (#28554659) Journal
    Of course he's a crackpot. Water's what was left over after the flood. Rainbows too.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Thursday July 02, 2009 @02:09AM (#28554711)

    In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth. Now the earth was formless and empty, darkness was over the surface of the deep, and the Spirit of God was hovering over the waters. And God said, "Let there be light," and there was light. God saw that the light was good, and He separated the light from the darkness. God called the light "day," and the darkness he called "night." And there was evening, and there was morningâ"the first day.

    And God said, "Let there be an expanse between the waters to separate water from water." So God made the expanse and separated the water under the expanse from the water above it. And it was so. God called the expanse "sky." And there was evening, and there was morningâ"the second day.

    And God said, "Let the water under the sky be gathered to one place, and let dry ground appear." And it was so. God called the dry ground "land," and the gathered waters he called "seas." And God saw that it was good.

    Then God said, "Let the land produce vegetation: seed-bearing plants and trees on the land that bear fruit with seed in it, according to their various kinds." And it was so. The land produced vegetation: plants bearing seed according to their kinds and trees bearing fruit with seed in it according to their kinds. And God saw that it was good. And there was evening, and there was morningâ"the third day.

    And God said, "Let there be lights in the expanse of the sky to separate the day from the night, and let them serve as signs to mark seasons and days and years, and let them be lights in the expanse of the sky to give light on the earth." And it was so. God made two great lightsâ"the greater light to govern the day and the lesser light to govern the night. He also made the stars. God set them in the expanse of the sky to give light on the earth, 18 to govern the day and the night, and to separate light from darkness. And God saw that it was good. And there was evening, and there was morningâ"the fourth day.

    And God said, "Let the water teem with living creatures, and let birds fly above the earth across the expanse of the sky." So God created the great creatures of the sea and every living and moving thing with which the water teems, according to their kinds, and every winged bird according to its kind. And God saw that it was good. God blessed them and said, "Be fruitful and increase in number and fill the water in the seas, and let the birds increase on the earth." And there was evening, and there was morningâ"the fifth day.

    And God said, "Let the land produce living creatures according to their kinds: livestock, creatures that move along the ground, and wild animals, each according to its kind." And it was so. God made the wild animals according to their kinds, the livestock according to their kinds, and all the creatures that move along the ground according to their kinds. And God saw that it was good.

    Then God said, "Let us make man in our image, in our likeness, and let them rule over the fish of the sea and the birds of the air, over the livestock, over all the earth, and over all the creatures that move along the ground."

    So God created man in his own image,
                  in the image of God he created him;
                  male and female he created them.

    God blessed them and said to them, "Be fruitful and increase in number; fill the earth and subdue it. Rule over the fish of the sea and the birds of the air and over every living creature that moves on the ground."

    Then God said, "I give you every seed-bearing plant on the face of the whole earth and every tree that has fruit with seed in it. They will be yours for food. And to all the beasts of the earth and all the birds of the air and all the creatures that move on the groundâ"everything that has the breath of life in itâ"I give every green plant for food." And it was so.

    God saw all that he had made, and it was very good. And there was evening, and there was morningâ"the sixth day.

    Genesis 1

  • Ramen! (Score:2, Funny)

    by bazorg (911295) on Thursday July 02, 2009 @02:15AM (#28554731) Homepage
    I can easily picture the Flying Spaghetti Monster lobbing comets around ...
  • by Black Parrot (19622) on Thursday July 02, 2009 @02:53AM (#28554927)

    Dude, your passage doesn't actually say anything about where the ocean and atmosphere came from. It just claims that God pushed some water around a bit.

    If you're going to vest your credibility in a mythological text, you should at least read it carefully.

  • by MillionthMonkey (240664) on Thursday July 02, 2009 @05:46AM (#28555655)
    Yeah but how do we know he's a real, licensed astronomer?

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