Birth of the Planet

Birth of the Planet

2008, Science  -   24 Comments
Ratings: 8.28/10 from 60 users.

In this first episode of Catastrophe series, host Tony Robinson speaks with planetary experts, archaeologists and paleontologists to understand one of our solar system's first great disasters and its most notable outcome: the emergence of our Moon and oceans and their roles in enabling life on Earth.

In the early stages of our solar system's development, Earth had a twin planet that shared its orbit around the sun. According to Planetary Scientist William K. Hartman when this planet, Thea, ultimately collided with Earth it destroyed itself and created a ring of debris around its sister planet. This ring of debris eventually settled, leaving behind the lunar body we now know as our Moon. Astrophysicist Robin Canup speaks in support of this theory, providing evidence in the form of computer models, which show how a planetary impact very likely created the Moon. It was also around this time the developing Earth's surface was struck by icy comets, in turn creating the world's first oceans.

Paleontologist Judith Nagel-Myers presents fossilized corals found in Ithaca, NY, which indicate the moon was once ten times closer to the Earth's surface. The strength of its gravitational pull resulted in massive tides that spread water across the planet, pulling in a combination of minerals and nutrients that created a "primordial soup" and gave way to the proteins and amino acids necessary for the emergence of life. An Earth-Moon "waltz" was set into motion, with the Moon continuing to influence tides as it slowly spins away from Earth even to this day. As cyanobacteria began to develop in the Earth's waters photosynthesis developed, introducing oxygen to the oceans and atmosphere and eventually giving way to the evolution of complex life forms.

As one subject notes, "A catastrophe is always, in some respect, a beginning." The sheer scope of chance that was at play in our creation is presented here with a sense of awe and great respect. Catastrophe: Birth of the Planet is just the tip of the proverbial iceberg in this documentary series concerning the arbitrary and brutal events that paved the way for modern life.

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24 Comments / User Reviews

  1. Jay

    I thought the primordial soup was in the trash bin as the complexity of life of the first bacteria was proposed in the Black Box, to accept this primordial soup you have to forget so may other critical developments that it just seems as a lucky shot.

  2. esteve

    Very interesting. I would doubt that luck is the correct concept as we exist because we exist. Also, is there any truly random events.

  3. Ramadan Ahmed

    I cannot imagine that such a magnificent work of art and design that transcends human imagination is just an accident!! It does not make sense at all. We simply say it is work of Almighty God. Modern scientists are shy to attribute the creation of nature and the world to God, because of their reductionist perception of God. When we think of God, certain images of fairy tales come to our minds. God is too great to be perceived by a human mind. The best way to know how great God is, is when you study His creation. This will lead you to a conclusion that this world did not come to being by chance, but rather it is an intentional act of an omnipresent, almighty, superior, transcendent being.

    1. Fabien L

      Science has no perception of God.
      How could it perceive God when it can't be detected by any physical mean?
      It's perfectly logical not to attribute an effect to something you can't detect.

    2. Faded Joke

      They have yet to discover the sought after graviton so we could potententially manipulate gravity one day. Yet gravity still exists. Or how about dark matter they claim makes up the majority of our universe that hasn't been discovered but yet science has taken for granted. The scientific theory says that if a theory can be repeated in lab conditions multiple time then a scientific law is justified. But I wonder why all these evolution experiments have only gone so far as changing immunities in bacteria which aren't even enough of a change to create a new genus. Take a look at industrial melanism. Close but no cigar. Why cant the creationists and evolutionists just stop trying to force thier belief/faith on other people when neither can be proven and yet both have circumstantial evidence to back them up.

    3. Fabien L

      They detect gravity, they are looking for the graviton, dark matter and dark energy, noone claims they exist without a doubt like believers in God. All of these are names attributed to something unproven.

    4. Faded Joke

      if you agree with me about unproven yet accepted scientific beliefs why must you and others down talk other peoples beliefs. A supreme entity may or may not exist/existed which some circumstantial evidence can be seen much like the examples I used above for scientific ventures. Just saying that there is no need to bash one's belief system no matter which side of the fence it is. religion and science both have zealots that go out the way to batter each other I for one am tired of this ignorance of others and, disappointed at the apathy of people not interjecting to silence these arguments.

    5. Fabien L

      When did I say God doesn't exist? I said it is unproven. The documentary is about how the moon was created, when someone comes on and says it was created by God and contradicts the documentary without any evidence, I don't feel any guilt questioning the affirmation.

    6. Achems_Razor

      Scientists do not talk down to the religious, they really do not care, and do not waste their time to counter all the arguments the religee's TRY TO PUSH on the masses to further their agenda too keep their religious majority hive mentality alive.

    7. Faded Joke

      Of course the majority of scientists don't talk down on religion. Why would they need too when the scientific zealots come from their masses in overwhelming support of "showing the light to non-believers." Why does it matter if someone has a differing opinion than you? Does it really give you a firmer foundation in your beliefs by forcing it on someone else or, belittling someone for having another point of view? This is for both sides of the fence scientific and religious zealots. Lets just dispense with all this BS and just accept that we all will never share the same opinion and move on with our lives. And realize that the "religee's" as you so callously refer are not the only ones pushing ideas towards an agenda.

    8. over the edge

      You state "Why does it matter if someone has a differing opinion than you?" It doesn't. But religion does things science does not. Nobody is attempting to inject science into religious classes or churches. Science does not try to tell others what is morally right and wrong for all. Science does not use the real world solutions and technology that religion has provided while denying the facts that they discovered in order to provide those solutions and tech. So believe all you wish but keep religion out of my wallet, my government and science class and I will stop and move on with my life.

    9. Faded Joke

      If anything I said is pointing to one side or another let me know. I believe the point is that both sides bashing each other is not needed. That bygones should be bygones and that the insistent attempts by both sides to prove worthiness over the other will only lead to more division. If this simple truth escapes the majorities grasps then all is lost. And the only winner will be the one with the biggest voice or most zealots in their following, regardless of being fortright in their quest for some kind of personal understanding. I am agnostic personally and can see the merits on both sides of the argument. That just means that I would rather not see the endless squabbles between the sects but would prefer to allow others to find out what works for them.

    10. Achems_Razor

      Now you are calling science a sect? It seems that you are just trolling, trying to get an emotional response. You are barking up the wrong tree with your nonsensical verbiage!

    11. Faded Joke

      I sure did and it fits in this instance as you are member of a collection of people with somewhat different religious beliefs (typically regarded as heretical). When a group of people start bashing and downplaying others for different beliefs ,which are contrary to their own, and forcing the beliefs they base their lives on on others, yes I would call that religion. only in this case the sect doesn't want to be called a religion just simply as a product of undeniable truth.

    12. Ramadan Ahmed

      Very interesting comment! If you cannot believe that a ship can move by chance from Rio De Janeiro to Dubai, offload and return, without being directed by someone, then it makes no sense at all to say that this universe, with all its complex laws and regulations, is an act of accident. Asking science to perceive God is like asking an embryo in the womb to tell you about oceans, deserts and forests!! However, science must necessarily lead scientists to realise beyond doubt that this world is taken care of by a superior being that is beyond human perception.

    13. Fabien L

      Don't you see how ridiculous what you just stated is? You claim God created and takes care of everything, yet it is beyond Human perception. Are you not Human? How can you claim to know something you can't perceive is real?

    14. lex lexich

      clearly you know nothing about universe theories so shut up, creator or no its impossible to know. to think that something as big as universe is created is to look on things ONLY from totally limited HUMAN perspective -it is as far from reality of that same universe as it can possibly be!!!

    15. some random scottish guy

      then you have a small imagination

    16. Kansas Devil

      That's OK. It's all part of your evolutionary path to consider your position.
      Humans evolved in a small patch of the planet and never really developed much past a local thinking mind.
      Good for us, that we invent things to compensate for that evolutionary handicap.
      All we need to do is remind ourselves of that so we don't become too fixated on self deceptions to fill in those gaps.

    17. iain

      Ramadan, by your logic, you should look at God's "creation" to know how great he is. But why is he great, why does he need to be great? I think you have found this in literature deemed to be the word of god, written or mis-translated by humans. You mention scientists reductionist perception of God is inaccurate because they can't imagine enough, and can't see the big picture, but they are not claiming there is no god, usually claiming instead that there is no evidence of God up until now. If God really exists the way you think of him then you would never have been told by your family, your friends and community about God. This image of God you have is completely reduced to what is allowed to be by whatever religious tradition you identify with.

  4. Fabien L

    Decent doc even though there are a few language mistakes like that brakes slow tires or bacterias learned to do photosynthesis. The theory sure makes more sense than it was created by God, that it was built by humans of the future, that it's a hologram, a camouflaged spaceship or is full of cheese :)

  5. Nicolas Pilot

    This video is propoganda BS - read the book 'Who Built The Moon' !!

  6. ProudinUS

    " In the beginning, God created the Heavens and the Earth........."

    1. Kansas Devil

      and before the beginning, abiogenesis built the people who wrote that.