Feature Article - June 2007
by Do-While Jones

The Dark (MATTER) Side of the Moon

Decades ago, song writers used to write sappy love songs rhyming June, Moon, tune, and croon. June still brings out some lunacy.

A paper presented at the Meeting of Division of Particle and Field 2004, American Physical Society, by Hongjun Pan, Department of Chemistry, University of North Texas, has just been brought to our attention. The title of this paper is, “The evolution of the Earth-Moon system based on the dark matter field fluid model.” Hongjon Pan himself sent the link to his paper 1 because it relates to our analysis of the distance between the Earth and the Moon, and implications for the time available for evolution to have occurred.

For those of you who tuned in late, here’s the basic problem for evolutionists. The Moon is slowly getting farther away from Earth. This was known from radar measurements even before the Apollo astronauts placed a laser reflector on the Moon, allowing even more precise measurements. Millions of years from now, the Moon will be farther away from Earth than it is now. But that means millions of years ago the Moon must have been closer to the Earth than it is now. Many people (including us) have done the calculations and discovered that the Moon’s orbit would have equaled the Earth’s radius less than 3 billion years ago. 2 It would have been difficult, to say the least, for life to evolve with the Moon rolling around on the surface of the Earth.

With that background, here is what Pan’s paper says.

The popular theory is that the tidal friction causes all those changes [in the distance between the Earth and the Moon]. However, based on tidal friction model and the current Moon-Earth system data, the tidal friction should be stronger and the recessional rate of the Moon should be greater in the past because the Moon was closer, the distance of the Moon would quickly fall inside the Roche's limit (for earth, 15500 km) in which the Moon would be torn apart by gravity in 1 to 2 billion years ago. This, however, never happened. Furthermore, geological evidence indicates that the recession of the Moon in the past was slower than the present rate, i.e., the recession has been accelerating with time. Based on tidal friction models, it must be concluded that tidal friction was very much less in the remote past than we would deduce on the basis of present-day observations (Stacey 1977). This was called “geological time scale difficulty” or “Lunar crisis” and is one of main arguments by creationists against the tidal friction theory (Brush 1983). Various models were proposed in the past to describe the evolution of the Earth-Moon system based on tidal friction mechanism to avoid this difficulty and put the Moon at quite a comfortable distance from Earth at 4.5 billion years ago (Hansen 1982, Kagan and Maslova 1994, Ray et al. 1999, Slichter 1963). The tidal friction theories explain that the present rate of tidal dissipation is anomalously high because the tidal force is close to a resonance in the response function of ocean (Brush 1983). Kagan gave a detailed review about those tidal friction models (Kagan 1997). However, all those models are based on many assumptions about geological (continental position and drifting) and physical conditions in the past, and many parameters (such as phase lag angle, multi-mode approximation with time-dependent frequencies of the resonance modes, etc.) have to be introduced and carefully adjusted to make their predictions close to the geological evidence. Therefore, they are not so convincing, and are still challenged by creationists. In the Meeting of Division of Particle and Field 2004, American Physical Society, University of California at Riverside, the author proposed a dark matter field fluid model (Pan 2005), the current Moon and Earth data agree with this model very well. This paper will demonstrate that the past evolution of Moon-Earth system can be described by the dark matter field fluid model without any assumptions about past geological and physical conditions. Although the subject of the evolution of the Earth-Moon system has been extensively studied analytically or numerically, to the author’s knowledge, there are no theories similar or equivalent to this model. It should be noted that the proposed dark matter field fluid is more like the cosmic fluid in distinguishing to the galactic halo or clump type of the dark matter in current cosmological theories. 3

Let’s summarize what he had to say.

First, he talks about the Roche Limit. We didn’t discuss this in our analysis because it unnecessarily complicates the problem. We simply computed how long ago the Moon’s distance would have been equal to the radius of the Earth, but catastrophic things happen when the Moon is closer to the Earth than the Roche Limit. This makes the time available for evolution even shorter. Without resorting to mathematics, here is a simple explanation of the Roche Limit.

Imagine two satellites orbiting the Earth in the same direction, but at different altitudes. Suppose that one satellite is initially directly above the other. After one orbit, the lower satellite will be ahead of the higher satellite. There are two reasons for this. First, the circumference of the lower orbit is shorter. Second, the velocity of the lower satellite must be faster to maintain that lower orbit. Since the lower satellite has to go a shorter distance, and is going at a faster rate, it will quickly get ahead of the higher satellite.

Imagine that those two satellites are connected by a rubber band. As the lower satellite gets farther and farther ahead, the rubber band will stretch. At some point, depending upon the strength of the rubber band, it will break.

Now, suppose that the two satellites represent points on the near side and far side of the Moon. The point on the near side of the Moon tries to orbit the Earth faster than the point on the far side does, causing a strain. The Moon, of course, is so far away that the speed difference and orbital circumference difference of the near side and the far side are small. Furthermore, the Moon is stronger than a rubber band, so it doesn’t stretch or break as easily. But if the Moon got very close to the Earth, the Moon would break just like a rubber band. The distance at which this would happen is the Roche Limit.

Pan says that, if tidal interaction between the Earth and the Moon has always been the same, then the Moon could not have been orbiting the Earth for more than 1 or 2 billion years, because 1 or 2 billion years ago the Moon would have been closer to the Earth than the Roche Limit. This is consistent with our calculations.

Pan missed the point when he said, “This was called ‘geological time scale difficulty’ or ‘Lunar crisis’ and is one of [the] main arguments by creationists against the tidal friction theory.” Creationists don’t say the tidal friction theory is wrong! Creationists say the tidal friction theory is absolutely correct. It is based on sound physics. It is a scientific fact that the Moon’s gravity does cause the tides. It is a scientific fact that the tides work against the Earth’s rotation, causing the Earth to spin slower. Conservation of angular momentum explains why the Moon has to move farther from the Earth as the Earth slows down. All the momentum and energy equations work out perfectly. There is nothing wrong with the tidal friction theory.

Because the calculations are incompatible with an old Earth, evolutionists have tried to fudge the numbers to make them work out to their satisfaction. Pan cites several studies from 1963 to 1999 that attempt to explain how the Moon could still have been a “comfortable distance” away 4.5 billion years ago. Remember, he said, “all those models are based on many assumptions about geological (continental position and drifting) and physical conditions in the past, and many parameters (such as phase lag angle, multi-mode approximation with time-dependent frequencies of the resonance modes, etc.) have to be introduced and carefully adjusted to make their predictions close to the geological evidence.”

If only crackpot creationists who don’t know anything about math or physics had done the studies, then creationists could simply be silenced by showing that they used the wrong equations, or made arithmetic errors. But the problem is that when “real scientists” do the math, they come up with the same conclusion. If the present truly is the key to the past, then the Moon could not have been circling the Earth for anywhere close to 4.5 billion years. The only way for the Moon to have circled the Earth for so long is for things to have been different in the past. Evolutionists have to assume that “the present rate of tidal dissipation is anomalously high,” and concoct some imaginary reason for why it was lower in the past.

Pan has examined these attempts to explain away the obvious conclusion and has found them unsatisfactory. Therefore, he is faced with two choices. Either the Earth isn’t nearly as old as he believes, or the whole notion of tidal friction is wrong. Since the first choice is absolutely unacceptable, he must take the second.

The Dark Side of the Force

If classical Newtonian physics don’t give the desired answer, then one must search for a non-Newtonian solution. Pan goes over to the dark side and finds his salvation in “dark matter.”

You’ve probably heard about dark matter before in the context of the Big Bang. The Big Bang theory predicts that there should be a certain amount of matter in the Universe. When astronomers estimate the mass of all the stars and other visible objects in the sky, they come up short. They come up very short. There isn’t nearly enough matter in the universe as the theory predicts.

In most cases, when measurements disagree with the theory, scientists discard the theory. When it comes to the Big Bang, astronomers have chosen to keep the theory and discard the measurements. They claim that 2% of the matter in the universe is ordinary matter, but 98% of the matter in the universe is undetectable “dark matter.” (Some more conservative astronomers say that 10% is ordinary matter, and just 90% is dark matter. ) They can’t see the dark matter, but it must be there because, if not, the theory is wrong.

So, one must accept, by faith, that dark matter exists. Having done this, Pan makes some assumptions.

In this proposed model, it is assumed that:

1. A celestial body rotates and moves in the space, which, for simplicity, is uniformly filled with the dark matter which is in quiescent state relative to the motion of the celestial body. The dark matter possesses a field property and a fluid property; it can interact with the celestial body with its fluid and field properties; therefore, it can have energy exchange with the celestial body, and affect the motion of the celestial body.

2. The fluid property follows the general principle of fluid mechanics. The dark matter field fluid particles may be so small that they can easily permeate into ordinary “baryonic” matter; i.e., ordinary matter objects could be saturated with such dark matter field fluid. Thus, the whole celestial body interacts with the dark matter field fluid, in the manner of a sponge moving thru water. The nature of the field property of the dark matter field fluid is unknown. It is here assumed that the interaction of the field associated with the dark matter field fluid with the celestial body is proportional to the mass of the celestial body. The dark matter field fluid is assumed to have a repulsive force against the gravitational force towards baryonic matter. The nature and mechanism of such repulsive force is unknown. 4

After several pages of calculations based on his fanciful assumptions he says,

From the above results, one can see that the current Earth-Moon data and the geological and fossil data agree with the model very well and the past evolution of the Earth-Moon system can be described by the model without introducing any additional parameters; this model reveals the interesting relationship between the rotation and receding (Eq. 17 and Eq. 18) of the same celestial body or different celestial bodies in the same gravitational system, such relationship is not known before. 5

If you just throw out Newtonian physics, and assume that dark matter has some unknown field properties, including anti-gravity, then “the geological and fossil data agree with the model very well!” That’s comforting. Not only that, the model reveals an unexpected and unobserved relationship between rotation and recession.

Since Mars is also moving through this dark matter field fluid, it will affect the rotation of Mars, too.

We shall feel confident that the reliable data about the angular rotation acceleration of the Mars will be available in the near future which will provide a vital test for the predication of this model. However, there are also other factors which may affect the Mars rotation rate such as mass redistribution due to season change, winds, possible volcano eruptions and Mars quakes. Therefore the data has to be carefully analyzed. 6

In other words, future data about Mars will confirm the accuracy of the model—unless it doesn’t!

Oh, the lunacy people will go to, just to believe the moon is billions of years old!

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Footnotes:

1 http://arxiv.org/ftp/arxiv/papers/0704/0704.0003.pdf
2 Disclosure, November 1997, “Our Escaping Moon
3 http://arxiv.org/ftp/arxiv/papers/0704/0704.0003.pdf, pages 1 - 2
4 ibid., page 3
5 ibid., page 11
6 ibid.