Wednesday 29 February 2012

Modern solar system model

In a recent issue of the Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society, a team led by André Izidoro showed that no matter what density profile one adopts for the Sun’s protoplanetary disk, it is impossible to solve the Mars Problem independent of the Grand Tack scenario.3 That is, astronomers and the rest of us really are stuck with the evidence for an extremely fine-tuned solar system. As with the fine-tuning needed to explain how the Moon formed, 4 the solution to the Mars Problem is bound to cause “philosophical disquiet”5 for nontheistic astronomers. For the rest of us, we can embrace the theological implications arising from such an exquisitely fine-tuned solar system designed for the specific benefit of human beings.

Subjects: Solar System Design


  1. Mars is 0.11 Earth masses.
  2. Arnaud Pierens et al., “Outward Migration of Jupiter and Saturn in 3:2 or 2:1 Resonance in Radiative Disks: Implications for the Grand Tack and Nice Models, ” Astrophysical Journal Letters 795 (October 2014): id. L11; Arnaud Pierens and Sean N. Raymond, “Two Phase, Inward-Then-Outward Migration of Jupiter and Saturn in the Gaseous Solar Nebula, ” Astronomy and Astrophysics 533 (September 2011): id. A131; R. Brasser, K. J. Walsh, and D. Nesvorný, “Constraining the Primordial Orbits of the Terrestrial Planets, ” Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society 433 (August 2013): 3417–27; Konstantin Batygin, Michael E. Brown, and Hayden Betts, “Instability-Driven Dynamical Evolution Model of a Primordially Five-Planet Outer Solar System, ” Astrophysical Journal Letters 744 (January 2012): id. L3; Ramon Brasser et al., “Constructing the Secular Architecture of the Solar System II: The Terrestrial Planets, ” Astronomy and Astrophysics 507 (September 2009): 1053–65; Harold F. Levison and Alessandro Morbidelli, “The Formation of the Kuiper Belt by the Outward Transport of Bodies During Neptune’s Migration, ” Nature 426 (November 2003): 419–21; David Nesvorný, David Vokrouhlický, and Alessandro Morbidelli, “Capture of Trojans by Jumping Jupiter, ” Astrophysical Journal 768 (May 2013): id. 45.
  3. André Izidoro et al., “Terrestrial Planet Formation Constrained by Mars and the Structure of the Asteroid Belt, ” Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society 453 (August 2015): 3618–34.
  4. Hugh Ross, “Increasing Lunar Coincidences Lead to ‘Philosophical Disquiet, ’” Today’s New Reason To Believe (blog), February 3, 2014,
  5. Tim Elliott, “A Chip Off the Old Block, ” in “Shadows Cast on Moon’s Origin, ” Nature 504 (December 5, 2013): 90.

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