It looks like you're using an Ad Blocker.
Please white-list or disable AboveTopSecret.com in your ad-blocking tool.
Some features of ATS will be disabled while you continue to use an ad-blocker.
Marvin Herndon, an independent geophysicist based in San Diego, previously put forward the controversial hypothesis that uranium, the heaviest naturally occurring element, has sunk to the Earth's core and formed a "georeactor" several kilometres across (see Fire down below). But even he points out that such a reactor could not exist at the core-mantle boundary. That's because uranium is so heavy that when it liquefies in a nuclear reaction, it should fall to the Earth's core. "Meijer and Westrenem fail to realise that such a georeactor would melt itself down to the centre," he told me.
Others question the idea that heat from a runaway reactor would propel matter out of the Earth. Planetary physicist David Stevenson of Caltech is also sceptical. "The whole idea is not physically sensible," he says. "Life is too short to spend on things like this."
If the georeactor hypothesis is right, Gott questions why Venus did not form a moon in the same process, since Venus boasts a similar mass and composition to the Earth. "OK, it might have just been a fluke it happened to the Earth but not Venus," he says. "But how do you explain Charon, the big icy moon of Pluto? That would require an 'ice-reactor', which is a nonsensical idea!"