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No. 114: Nov-Dec 1997

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It can't be true because it violates our ideas!

This was the collective opinion of many atmospheric scientists when a satellite experiment found approximately 50% more water vapor at an altitude of 75 kilometers than well-established theory predicted. That was back in 1991. Now, a second satellite experiment of different design has confirmed the existence of this "excess" water vapor. Most geophysicists are perplexed, to say the least.

Not L. Frank, though, because these experiments are in line with his theory that the upper atmosphere is continuously pelted by house-size, fluffy, icy comets -- some 20 each minute. (SF#112)

Frank asserts:

"When you get that excess of water vapor up there, it just can't come from the Earth. It must come from space."

Even so, other geophysicists are reluctant to accept Frank's icy comets -- that would be too much "crow" to eat! One point levied against Frank's icy comets is that they would introduce more than three times the amount of water vapor actually measured. M. Summers, a theoretician at the Naval Research Laboratory, summed up mainstream opinion:

"There's definitely something very unusual going on in the mesosphere that we don't understand at all, but I'm not even close to saying this supports the small-comet hypothesis."

(Kerr, Richard A.; "Rising Damp from Small Comets?" Science, 277:1033, 1997. Also: Monastersky, R.; "Reservoir of Water Hides High above Earth," Science News, 152:117, 1997.)

From Science Frontiers #114, NOV-DEC 1997. 1997-2000 William R. Corliss