Reasons to Believe

New Data on Comets

Earlier this year, I provided further information supporting the existence of the Kuiper belt. This belt is a collection of objects just beyond the orbit of Neptune (one of the larger objects in this belt is the planetoid Pluto), which astronomers claim to be the supply of new short-period, short-lived comets in our solar system. As I explained in a previous post, the existence of the Kuiper belt has become a subject of controversy because some creationists use the short-lived nature of these comets as an argument for a young earth (a few thousand years old). They argue that the belt does not contain the small objects required to resupply these comets and, therefore, the continued presence of comets supports a young solar system and Earth.

On the other hand, if the existence of the Kuiper belt can be fully established and it can be shown to possess the right-sized objects, there will be serious consequences for the young-earth position. We at RTB expect that with further observation, the young-earth explanation will lose favor.

Well, such observations are starting to accumulate. In a recent paper, Harvard scientists report on a novel technique using NASA’s Hubble Space Telescope to observe 14 new objects in the Kuiper belt, with the promise of more to come. All of these objects range from 25 to 60 miles in diameter, just the right size needed for resupplying the short-period comets.

It is our hope that young-earth creationists will soon cease using the nonexistent Kuiper belt argument to make their point. We hope they will consider the possibility that our solar system and Earth are, in fact, as old as all the other evidence suggests—about 4.5 billion years.

Subjects: Solar System Design

Dr. David Rogstad

Dr. Dave Rogstad received his PhD in physics from Caltech and worked over 30 years for NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory. Though now retired, Dave continues to serve as an RTB board member and participates regularly in several RTB podcasts.