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Duh -yep-yep-yep

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Posted by Richard D. Stafford, Ph.D. on March 20, 2001 01:58:08 UTC

Alex,

As I said, I tend to make mistakes; sometimes I am not too bright. I think it was in the conversion from square meters to square inches. I believe I multiplied when I should have divided. Sorry about that.

But, none the less, it does sort of get rid of the atmosphere so we are talking about vaporization of the earth itself. Also, once it is vaporized it is going to leave quite quickly (if it stays very long it will build up an insulating layer and its temperature will rise until it does reach escape value).

What I am getting at is that at that point one could view it from the perspective of an inelastic collision. The change in energy will appear as heat. So long as vaporization is taking place, the base temperature of the earth cannot exceed that value. I think one could conclude that the stable state will be reached when the energy being carried away by the vaporized rock equals the energy being deposited by the conversion from kinetic energy.

This leads me back to roughly the 3,000 year period you originally deduced. The only difference would be that the planet would disappear about the same time as the orbit decayed.

I apologize again for my stupidity -- Dick



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