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Cometary Ions

25 November 2021

At https://phys.org/news/2021-11-ions-comets.html … this sounds a bit like electric comets – see www.thunderbolts.info for more on that point of view. This is different. It is mainstream research from Sweden. They have a history of proposing radical ideas on the aurora and the ionosphere. They have had a succession of leading scientists from Birkeland onwards. Sofia Bergman, of Umea University in Sweden, is a space physicist. Her doctoral thesis is that low energy ions were found around comet Churyumov-Gerasimanko. Remember that one. How time flies. It is still yielding important information it would seem, even though the mission itself is long gone. It seems it is difficult to actually measure and detect low energy ions so we might expect some upcoming flak from the big boys. However, she is adamant she has found a new method to detect them. Comets, we are told, have an environment of plasma that contains a large number of ions with low energies. Why then are we constantly told comets sublimate – and why is the role of plasma ignored?

Spacecraft interact with the environment they find themselves in and this sometimes leads to an accumulation of charge on the surface of the space vehicle. Hence, a probe, such as Rosetta, would pick up ions flowing from the comet. So too would the spacecraft itself [that propelled Rosetta to close proximity to Churyumov-Gerasimenko. The plasma on the comet must therefore leave its mark on the surface of the space vehicle – making it harder to tell what was stuck to the metal and what was in the process of erupting from the comet. Hence, measuring of low energy ions is difficult as the spaceship has sullied the evidence [prior to actual measurements]. Sofia Bergman has come up with a solution – and she is going to stick with it. The 'ion composition analyser' onboard Rosetta, a mass spectrometer, has been utilised. However, it came up with a surprise – for mainstream. What they saw was a lot of low energy ions flowing 'inwards' towards the comet, rather than out from the comet nucleus. It seems that as the distance of the comet from the Sun changes a magnetosphere is being formed around the comet. This is much like the electric comet theory.

Gary also sent in a link to https://phys.org/news/2021-11-planetologists-heavy-bombardment-moon-bill… … and the same story is at Science Alert. There is a  lot of craters on the moon. Unlike the earth where they become covered in later geological deposits it is thought that on the moon this does not happen. Hence, many of the craters are assigned to the early earth and moon period – 3.9 billion years ago. This is all associated with the recent idea that earth, and therefore the moon, suffered a bombardment of asteroids and odd lumps of rock floating around after the collision that is said to have formed the moon. You can take it seriously – or you can whistle and walk away.

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