The Recent Organization 
of the Solar System
by Patten & Windsor  ©1995


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Chapter 11

The Greened Earth - By Coincidence or Design

  • It was almost with a feeling of awe that I went to work; for if the hope should prove well founded, how great and mighty and sublime in its hitherto unchangeable character is the force I am trying to deal with.
    - M. Faraday, Diary, Aug. 25, 1849.
  • The gradualist approach assumes there were at least four billion years of Earth revolutions around a Sun of constant diameter and constant rate of radiation. The planetary catastrophist points out that the Sun's diameter shrinks steadily at a rate of more than eight miles per year.

    At that rate, 100,000 years ago its diameter would have been quintuple the current diameter, and its rate of radiation theoretically would have been five to ten times the current rate. That would create an impossible environment for the greening of the Earth.

    Probably a more discrete designation of this controversy is recentness versus remoteness in time. And in flora and fauna, it is one of coincidences in structure patterns rather than designs all the way down to the cellular level. This chapter is written intending to shed some light on the astronomical parameters involved in the greening of our planet, apart from all biological parameters.


    The Earth is a green planet due to one reasonably simple fact, which is the peculiar ability of chlorophyll, and chloroplasts to separate a water molecule, in its liquid state, into its components, hydrogen ions and oxygen ions.


    Three Essential Physical Conditions

    For photosynthesis to occur, one condition is that local temperatures must babove freezing, 32° F., and well under boiling, 212° F. A temperature range from 32° F. to 150° F. is a 120-degree range, wherein photosynthesis, on any planet or planet satellite, could flourish.

    A second condition is that such a planet, or planet satellite, would have to have an atmosphere, not too slight, but also not too heavy. One would supply no water vapor and the other no sun light. That special planet atmosphere would have to contain an appropriate mix of gases. It would need a sufficient percent of oxygen but not too much, and the same applies to nitrogen, carbon dioxide and water vapor.

    A third critical condition is the presence of a mechanism to either deflect or absorb the short wave radiation of the Sun before it reaches the Earth's surface. Ultraviolet radiation and x-ray radiation such as the Sun emits will damage living cells to the point of destruction, if such cells are exposed to the direct short wave radiation of the Sun.

    Without all three of these conditions satisfied, photosynthesis on a sustained basis on the surface of any planet does not have a chance.

    An Appropriate Temperature Range

    By Chance Or Design

    Mercury averages 36,000,000 miles from the Sun, but sometimes comes as close as 28,500,000 miles. It has a 58-day period of rotation. Temperatures on its surface rise to 700° F. during its midday. Since it is airless, during its nighttime, surface temperatures plunge to - 300° F.

    Venus, with its runaway greenhouse effect, also has surface temperatures in the range of 700° F. to 875°, both day and night. Again Venus provides a hopeless environment for chlorophyll.

    The surface of Mars has temperatures which rise to 50° F. in the summertime shortly after noon, but at the same place drop to - 190° F. during its night time. Percival Lowell and others wished and hoped that Mars would provide a climate amenable to intelligent life, but the hopes of his followers were dashed by photos transmitted by Mariner 4 in 1964.

    At 141,500,000 miles from the Sun, on a square mile to square mile basis, Mars receives 43% as much radiation as the Earth. At 67,200,000 miles from the Sun, Venus receives 191% as much radiation as the Earth also on a square mile comparison. Radiation varies according to the principle of the inverse of the square of the distance.

    If the Earth were 103,000,000 miles from the Sun, the Earth would receive 8l.5% as much sunlight as it presently does. This distance, according to our estimate, would provide freezing temperatures, ice, icebergs, blizzards and icy slush at the equator in oceanic regions. Terrestrial regions would be colder yet. Such is the outer limit where chlorophyll could function and flourish on our planet, given the level of the Sun's radiation.

    If the Earth were 85,000,000 miles from the Sun, our estimate is that the temperatures of the oceans in high latitudes would be in the range of 150° to 170° F. At terrestrial regions, temperatures would be even higher. Again, chlorophyll would have an environment where it could not function. Our opinion is that 85,000,000 miles from the Sun is the closest where chlorophyll in the higher latitudes might function and flourish.

    Thus there is a l8,000,000-mile slot in the Sun's domain where a planet, having an Earth-like atmosphere, might be placed and where, on its surface, chlorophyll could function. Earlier, it was observed that Little Brother delivered planets to distance from the Sun all the way from 2,79l,000,000 miles (Neptune) to 28,500,000 miles (Mercury).

    A l8,000,000-mile slot in a region three billion miles broad is one chance in 160.

    The primordial Venus, like the primordial Earth, has an appropriate mass to retain oxygen, nitrogen, water vapor and carbon dioxide. Neither planet is too massive, like Neptune, Uranus, Saturn and Jupiter. Thus we assess the chance that Little Brother would drop off a planet in "the slot", a l5,000,000-mile slot, is 2:160, or, l:80.

    The Range of Planetary Masses

    In Little Brother's delivery of planets to the Sun, only two in eight were of the appropriate range of planet masses for a chlorophyll environment, Venus and the Earth. Mercury and Mars cannot retain significant atmospheres. Neptune and Uranus have crushing gravities and if near the Sun, would also have runaway greenhouse atmospheres.

    Even more so, Saturn at 95 Earth masses and Jupiter at 317 Earth masses have atmospheres inhospitable to chlorophyll and no known oceanic or crustal surface. Two planets of the Sun's eight are of an appropriate size, which suggests odds against such a condition at 4:1.

    So far, the chances against chlorophyll functioning on the surfaces of those planets delivered by Little Brother are 80:1 and 4:1, combining to 320:1 against any probability of functioning chlorophyll.

    The Appropriate Mix of Gases for Chlorophyll to Function

    Four gases are necessary for chlorophyll to function: oxygen, water vapor, carbon dioxide and nitrogen. In our planet's atmosphere, and barometric pressure, if oxygen were at a concentration of 30%, the slightest spark from friction in a forest environment would incinerate the forest. In a grassland environment such a spark would produce killer prairie fires, totally uncontrollable.

    In our atmosphere, oxygen comprises 21%. On the other hand, if oxygen fell under 10%, we estimate that it would be insufficient for fauna to survive. And without fauna, that exhale carbon dioxide how could flora survive?

    In our atmosphere, carbon dioxide comprises 0.037%. This is roughly 1 part in 2,700. If the percentage fell under 0.02%, we estimate that chlorophyll could not function. On the other hand, if the percentage were to rise to 2%, narcosis and stupefying ensues in fauna. A 5% concentration of CO-2 is immediately lethal.

    Water vapor also must be present in atmospheric concentrations up to 3%.

    Nitrogen must be present for chlorophyll to function. And its concentrations must range between 70% and 90% in order for our planet to have a barometric pressure favorable to the functioning of chlorophyll.

    Mercury has no atmosphere. Mars has a tiny atmosphere, of which 95.3% is carbon dioxide. Venus has an atmosphere 70 times as massive as the Earth's, and its atmosphere is 97% carbon dioxide. Moreover, temperatures exceed those in boilers.

    Jupiter's atmosphere is 90% hydrogen, with small percentages of helium, methane, ammonia, acetylene and phosphine. Saturn's atmosphere is 94% hydrogen, 6% helium and traces of ammonia, phosphine, methane, ethane and acetylene. And so it goes.

    What is the chance against a planet dropped off in "the slot" would have an atmosphere 10% to 29% oxygen with most of the balance being an "inert" gas such as nitrogen or argon? Perhaps 100:1.

    What is the chance against a planet so delivered in "the slot" would have carbon dioxide ranging from .02% to 2%? Some suggest 50:1 (but others suggest 100,000:1.)

    What is the chance against a planet deposited into "the slot" would have an atmosphere 70% to 90% nitrogen? Perhaps 40:1.

    What is the chance against a planet so deposited into "the slot" would have water vapor in concentrations up to 3%? Perhaps 50:1.

    For a planet to have an atmosphere, by coincidence, that would be inhospitable to the functioning of chlorophyll, thus it is estimated as the product of these various requirements.


    The multiplication is as follows:

    160:1 x 400:1 x 10:1 x 50:1 x 40:1 x 50:1.


    functioning chlorophyll


    in slot






    water vapor


    total   :1


    The result is one chance in 3.2 billion. But this does not include the fact that chlorophyll requires a geomagnetic field - an electrical umbrella from x-rays, far ultra-violet, medium ultra-violet, etc. To assess this factor requires that a scientist understand the cause of the Earth's geomagnetic field. We have more on this in Volume 3 in a chapter entitled "The Electric Show."

    When this factor is added into the odds, the chance slims down to about one chance in three or four quintillion.

    Understanding the recent organization of the Solar System, the Earth has not been greened forever, but only over the last age, since capture by the Sun, not over 100,000 years ago, and likely less. Moreover, there is no certainty it will greened forever into the future. It is somewhat likely, Little Brother will "kick the Earth out of the slot on its next tour to perihelion.

    Design wins every inning.

  • "There's no use trying," Alice said. "One can't believe impossible things." "I dare say you haven't had much practice," said the Queen. "When I was your age, I always did it for half an hour a day. Why, sometimes I've believed as many as six impossible things before breakfast."

    - Lewis Carroll, Through the Looking Glass (1872).

  • Conclusion

    Astronomically speaking, the chance that "chance" explains our green planet is remote. Geomagnetically speaking, it is the same story. Nevertheless our planet has been greened and stocked with a mega-circus filled with strange animals and magnificent flora.

    One of our favorites is the camel, which reportedly was designed by a committee.

    Astronauts returning from Moon missions share our opinion that this planet is indeed a choice piece of real estate, easily the best in this Solar System.

    Real estate brokers typically cite the three qualities of choice real estate. They are location, location and location. And we are there. Engineers, on the other hand, cite the three qualities of successful operations. They are design, design and design.

    The Recent Organization of The Solar System  by Patten & Windsor

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