Monday, March 11, 2019
Deception Point Page 70
Correct, Tol state say. This species would have collapsed under its take weight if it walked around on worldly concern. corkys brow furrowed with annoyance. Well, Mike, unless some recluse was running an antigravity louse farm, I dont see how you could possibly conclude a two-foot-long bug is solid groundly in origin.Tolland smiled inwardly to regard corked was wanting(p) such a simple point. Actually, there is another possibility. He rivet closely on his friend. bad, youre used to looking up. Look down. Theres an abundant antigravity purlieu right here on earth. And its been here since prehistoric times.Corky st bed. What the conflagration are you talking ab forbidden?Rachel also looked surprised.Tolland pointed out the window at the moonlit sea glistening beneath the plane. The sea.Rachel let out a low whistle. Of course.Water is a low-gravity environment, Tolland explained. Everything weighs less underwater. The sea supports enormous little(a) structures that could n ever exist on land-jellyfish, giant squid, ribbon eels.Corky acquiesced, even only slightly. Fine, but the prehistoric ocean never had giant bugs.Sure, it did. And it still does, in fact. People eat them eachday. Theyre a delicacy in to the highest degree countries.Mike, who the hell eats giant sea bugsAnyone who eats lobsters, crabs, and shrimp.Corky stared.Crustaceans are essentially giant sea bugs, Tolland explained. Theyre a suborder of the phylum Arthropoda-lice, crabs, spiders, insects, grasshoppers, scorpions, lobsters-theyre all related. Theyre all species with go appendages and external skeletons.Corky suddenly looked ill.From a classification standpoint, they look a lot like bugs, Tolland explained. Horseshoe crabs resemble giant trilobites. And the claws of a lobster resemble those of a large scorpion.Corky turned green. Okay, Ive eaten my last lobster roll.Rachel looked fascinated. So arthropods on land stay small because the gravity selects naturally for smallness. provided in the water, their bodies are buoyed up, so they can grow very large.Exactly, Tolland said. An Alaskan king crab could be wrongly classified as a giant spider if we had limited fossil evidence.Rachels excitement seemed to fade at once to concern. Mike, again barring the departure of the meteorites apparent authenticity, tell me this Do you think the fossils we saw at Milne could possibly have come from the ocean? Earths ocean?Tolland felt the directness of her gaze and sensed the true weight of her question. Hypothetically, I would have to say yes. The ocean floor has sections that are 190 billion years old. The aforesaid(prenominal) age as the fossils. And theoretically the oceans could have uphold life-forms that looked like this.Oh please Corky scoffed. I cant believe what Im hearing here. proscribe the issue of the meteorites authenticity? The meteorite is irrefutable. Even if earth has ocean floor the same age as that meteorite, we sure as hell dont have ocean floor that has fusion crust, anomalous nickel confine, and chondrules. Youre grasping at straws.Tolland knew Corky was right, and yet imagining the fossils as sea creatures had robbed Tolland of some of his awe over them. They seemed someways more familiar now.Mike, Rachel said, why didnt any of the NASA scientists contemplate that these fossils might be ocean creatures? Even from an ocean on another planet? ii reasons, really. Pelagic fossil samples-those from the ocean floor-tend to exhibit a plethora of intermingled species. Anything aliveness in the millions of cubic feet of life above the ocean floor exit eventually die and sink to the bottom. This means the ocean floor becomes a graveyard for species from every depth, pressure, and temperature environment. But the sample at Milne was clean-a single species. It looked more like something we might find in the desert. A brood of kindred animals getting buried in a sandstorm, for example.Rachel nodded. And the second reason you guessed land or else than sea?Tolland shrugged. Gut instinct. Scientists have always believed space, if it were populate, would be populated by insects. And from what weve observed of space, theres a lot more dirt and leaning out there than water.Rachel fell silent.Although, Tolland added. Rachel had him thinking now. Ill admit there are very deep parts of the ocean floor that oceanographers call stillborn zones. We dont really understand them, but they are areas in which the currents and food sources are such that almost nothing lives there. Just a few species of bottom-dwelling scavengers. So from that standpoint, I suppose a single-species fossil is not entirely out of the question.Hello? Corky grumbled. Remember the fusion crust? The mid-level nickel surfeit? The chondrules? Why are we even talking about this?Tolland did not reply.This issue of the nickel content, Rachel said to Corky. Explain this to me again. The nickel content in earth rocks is either very high or ver y low, but in meteorites the nickel content is within a specific midrange window?Corky bobbed his head. Precisely.And so the nickel content in this sample falls only within the expected range of values.Very close, yes.Rachel looked surprised. Hold on. Close? Whats that vatical to mean?Corky looked exasperated. As I explained earlier, all meteorite mineralogies are different. As scientists find new meteorites, we constantly need to update our calculations as to what we consider an acceptable nickel content for meteorites.Rachel looked stunned as she held up the sample. So, this meteorite strained you to reevaluate what you consider acceptable nickel content in a meteorite? It fell outside the established midrange nickel window?Only slightly, Corky fired back.Why didnt anyone mention this?Its a nonissue. Astrophysics is a dynamic skill which is constantly being updated.During an incredibly important analysis?Look, Corky said with a huff, I can assure you the nickel content in that sample is a helluva lot closer to other meteorites than it is to any earth rock.Rachel turned to Tolland. Did you know about this?Tolland gave a reluctant nod. It hadnt seemed a major(ip) issue at the time. I was told this meteorite exhibited slightly higher nickel content than seen in other meteorites, but the NASA specialists seemed unconcerned.For good reason Corky interjected. The mineralogical proofread here is not that the nickel content is conclusively meteoritelike, but rather that it is conclusively non-earth-like.Rachel shook her head. Sorry, but in my business thats the kind of improper logic that gets people killed. Saying a rock is non-earth-like doesnt prove its a meteorite. It simply proves that its not like anything weve ever seen on earth.What the hells the differenceNothing, Rachel said. If youve seen every rock on earth.Corky fell silent a moment. Okay, he finally said, ignore the nickel content if it makes you nervous. We still have a flawless fusion crust and chondrules.Sure, Rachel said, sounding unimpressed. Two out of threesome aint bad.83The structure housing the NASA central headquarters was a big glass rectangle located at 300 E Street in Washington, D.C. The building was spidered with over two hundred miles of data cabling and thousands of tons of calculating machine processors. It was home to 1,134 civil servants who oversee NASAs $15 billion annual cypher and the daily operations of the twelve NASA bases nationwide.