Introduction to the Section on Environments

Dr. Robert Duncan-Enzmann

Annals of the New York Academy of Sciences, vol. 140, ART. 1. Planetology and Space Mission Planning, 1966

What is space? What are we going to look at in space? Are there any regularities or patterns associated with the things of space? The content and arrangement of the papers in this section hive a generalized answer to these questions. It may seem surprising, but most of the papers are devoted to geospheres of the Earth. This has been done deliberately to indicate that the first object in space studied by mankind was the Earth. The Earth was first of all studied from its surface; and more recently from space, therewith creating new and useful geophysical systems.

The regal importance of the Sun as the massive and energetic center of the Solar System is acknowledged by the paper entitled The Evolution of the Sun. The corona of the Sun consists of electro fluxes of primary particles and ionized elements; it probably extends beyond Pluto. The satellites of the Sun form four regular groups: Terrestrial-type planets such as Mercury, Venus, Earth and its Moon, And Mars. Asteroids mainly concentrated bands between the orbits of Mars and Jupiter; Jupiter-type Gas Giant planets including Jupiter, Saturn, Uranus, Neptune, and probably Pluto, and Comets known to be concentrated near Jupiter’s orbit (Jupiter’s family), and also known as very long-period bodies that recede great distances from the Sun.

The zoned substance of the Sun, the planets, asteroids, and comets are molded by the action of fields (mostly gravitational) and balances of exogenetic, endogenetic, and stored energies. Action of these fields, internal, external, and stored energies upon the geospheres of these bodies is considered in the papers: Energy, Time, and Morphology, and Endospheres and Inter-zonal Coupling. All of these bodies can be divided into one or more zones plasmas, gas, liquid, solid, or stress-fluid. * A planetary sphere composed of matter in one state is called a geosphere. The best explored, described, and mathematically modeled geospheres are those of the Earth. These can serve as parametric models for all similar geospheres of other bodies; so the bulk of the Environments Session of the Conference was devoted to geospheres of a highly accessible and interesting planet of the Solar System, Mother Earth.

*A stress fluid is a somewhat unscientific but useful term that indicates the highly compressed matter of planetary interiors below the Mohorovicic Surface as being other than solid.