After Thoughts - November 1996

Dust on the Moon

In the summer of 1969, I was an evolutionist finishing his junior year, majoring in electrical engineering. Like many other evolutionary scientists, I feared for the safety of the Apollo XI astronauts who were about to land on the moon.

I knew that cosmic dust fell on the Earth at a rate of 15 million metric tons per year. On Earth, that isn't a problem. Most of it lands on the ocean and just settles to the bottom. The dust that does fall on the land gets blown (or washed) off rocks and mixed in with the soil. But on the moon, there is no atmosphere to blow it away, or water to wash it into the sea. I knew there would be a treacherous 2 billion1 year-old accumulation of dust more than 50 feet thick.

What would happen when the lunar lander tried to set down on the moon? Would its large landing pads distribute the weight enough so that it would not sink down into the dust? Would the rocket exhaust blow the dust away sideways? or would it bore a deep hole in the dust? Would the dust settle back down on the landing craft, burying it?

We were all very surprised when there turned out to be just a small fraction of an inch of dust on the moon. How could that be?

We were all very much relieved when new research showed that the cosmic dust measurement we had accepted as undeniable fact was simply off by a factor of about 70,000% (:-). We were glad to know that the new undeniable fact was that dust accumulates at a rate of 22,000 tons of dust per year. This new measurement predicted (after the fact) a layer of dust about ¾ inch on the moon after 2 billion years, which was remarkably close to what was actually measured.

It might seem that all is well in Evolution Land, now that the moon dust problem has been solved-but all isn't well. The greatly decreased cosmic dust measurement is a sword that cuts both ways. According to one evolutionist,

"My copy of Everyman's Astronomy indicates that the earth collects about 9000 kg per day from meteors of visual magnitude 5.0 or brighter. Assuming a typical rock density of 3 g/cc, this corresponds to an accumulation rate of one inch per 10 billion years. Unfortunately no data is presented for fainter meteors. I wouldn't be surprised to find that the actual rate is one or two orders of magnitude higher."2
OK. Let's assume that the rate is two orders of magnitude higher. In other words, 900,000 kg per day, or 100 inches per 10 billion years. The Earth was supposedly formed in a 10 billion year period following the big bang by the accumulation of cosmic dust attracted by gravity. 900,000 kg per day for 10 billion years is roughly 3 x 1021 grams. At 3 g/cc this is 1021 cc. There are 1015 cubic centimeters per cubic kilometer, so the volume of dust collected in 10 billion years is about 106 cubic kilometers. This is the volume of a sphere with a 62 kilometer (about 39 miles) radius, which is considerably smaller than the 2,000 mile radius of the Earth. The dust accumulation would have to be about 8,000 times 900,000 kg / day for 10 billion years to create a planet the size of Earth.

So, the evolutionist is caught in a three-way stretch. He needs rapid dust accumulation for creation of the planets, slow accumulation for a relatively dust-free moon, and constant accumulation to satisfy the uniform rate assumption he uses.

I don't know how much cosmic dust falls on the Earth or moon. But I do know that I haven't seen a set of numbers that satisfy all the conflicting criteria. Nor do I see a way that one could construct a satisfactory set of numbers. A low value will explain the dust on the moon, but not the formation of the Earth. A high value will explain the formation of the Earth, but not the small amount of dust on the Moon. A medium value won't explain anything.

The theory of evolution would not have this problem to deal with if we hadn't gone to the Moon and found that the predicted layer of dust wasn't there. The space program is discovering new problems for evolution almost daily. The more we learn, the more things we find wrong with the theory of evolution. The current interest in Mars, although based on irresponsible speculation, will no doubt drive more nails in the theory of evolution's coffin.

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Footnotes:

1In those days we "knew" that the solar system was 2 billion years old. We now "know" it is 4.6 billion years old.
2 James Meritt's General Anti-Creationism FAQ. (Ev+) http://earth.ics.uci.edu:8080/faqs/faq-merit.html