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Supernova Energy = Earth's Energy

 
 
Reply Fri 28 Sep, 2018 06:00 am
Supernovae occur when giant stars collapse under their own weight due to declining energy from fusion keeping them inflated. Once the collapse of volume begins, the falling material accelerates and concentrates/condenses until nucleons are fusing into radioactive elements heavier than iron. Eventually something happens to stop the collapse and the energy 'bounces back' and causes a giant explosion, which sends the radioactive material outward in all directions.

Earth's sun is too small for it to generate heavy elements, so radioactive 'ash' from distance supernovas is required to provide nuclear power for Earth's core. Though sunlight absorbed as biomass and subducted through plate tectonics may contribute to core/mantle heat, most people dismiss this as a significant or primary source of interior energy.

Interestingly, if we consider the explosive power of supernovae in terms of their pre-collapse stellar power, that power is transferred to Earth via meteors. Major planetary extinction events coincide with mantle plumes and sometimes large meteor strikes. Ironically, the plumes and meteors might be related insofar as the meteors deliver fresh radioactive fuel to power the core heat, which causes a plume to boil up.

Now the question is if Earth would sustain a long period free of such meteor 'deliveries' of radioactive fuel, would it gradually cool and solidify so that the magnetic field eventually weakens and disappears leaving Earth vulnerable to cosmic radiation? If NASA develops an effective meteor defense system, would that starve Earth of fresh radioactive material? Further, do we have to undergo violent meteor strikes and the corresponding extinction event levels of climate disturbance to maintain Earth's interior energy, or could we find some other way to sustainable import energy from outside Earth without altering the climate?
 
rosborne979
 
  3  
Reply Fri 28 Sep, 2018 08:43 am
@livinglava,
The Earth's core heat (and magnetic) field is not exclusively driven by radioactive elements. Most of the heat is residual compression energy from gravity. And the EM Field is driven primarily by convection of iron in the interior.

The other thing to consider is the relative contribution of the materials you are speculating on. The amount of material the Earth currently received from impact objects is insignificant in comparison to what it received during formation, so no matter what NASA does, it won't change the ratio's much if at all.
livinglava
 
  1  
Reply Fri 28 Sep, 2018 03:11 pm
@rosborne979,
rosborne979 wrote:

The Earth's core heat (and magnetic) field is not exclusively driven by radioactive elements. Most of the heat is residual compression energy from gravity. And the EM Field is driven primarily by convection of iron in the interior.

Iron could only convect due to heating. "Residual compression energy?" So you're saying it's just friction that's insulated very well? What causes the mantel plumes to boil up then? The rolling boil of a pot stops when you turn the heat off. You have to add heat/energy somehow to get convection.

Quote:
The other thing to consider is the relative contribution of the materials you are speculating on. The amount of material the Earth currently received from impact objects is insignificant in comparison to what it received during formation, so no matter what NASA does, it won't change the ratio's much if at all.

If the interior heat is so well-insulated that it is still there after so long, then it is theoretically possible to replace it through gradual additions of energy.

Did you read what I said about meteors and mantel plumes corresponding with extinction events? If a meteor delivers fresh nuclear fuel for the core and deposits it in such a way that a mantel plume subsequently forms, it would be a bit like putting a new coal into a fire. Since the Earth's core is a very well insulated fire, it is actually more like shooting a coal into a large, well-insulated furnace.

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