I'm trying to avoid an opinion-based question, so before I outline the comparison I'm proposing, I will qualify the specific facts that yield this comparison. By focusing answers on the relative accuracy of those facts, hopefully we can avoid primarily opinion-based answers.
- Over the course of millions of years, planetary bodies, especially those closer to the sun, tend to lose their water and atmosphere as it is blown away by solar wind, and radiated or boiled off by other forces, unless they have a strong magnetosphere to repel the bulk of that solar wind, or enough gravity to hang on to their matter. On a much faster time scale, this also happens to comets as they approach the sun; thus, the tail.
- Over the course of millions of years, bombardment of planets by comets can increase the water and gas on a planet, or at least counter-balance the gradual loss of the same (depending on other factors like proximity to the sun, size, and magnetic protection).
- The Oort cloud is composed mostly of icy bodies (including solids that would be a gas at Earth temperatures). And it is from this region that comets "fall" toward the inner solar system.
So I started wondering what ultimately happens to the water and gas that gets blown off of planetary bodies. I would guess that given the outward pressure of solar wind and solar radiation, the direction of such material is generally outward, away from the sun. Well, where to? Media coverage of the departure of Voyager 1 from our solar system into the realm of interstellar space alerted me to the idea that there is an outer edge to solar influence, and I would guess that this is where the lighter molecules, like water and gases would tend to land. And indeed there is a collection of similar material out there at that solar radius.
Given these facts, is it accurate to view the Oort cloud as behaving similarly to a terrestrial cloudscape? Our clouds form at the altitude where water tends to deposit after it evaporates from the heated surface of the Earth. It gathers there and coalesces to a form which is then overcome by the opposing force of gravity. Then it returns from whence it came. Similarly, I imagine water and gases ultimately being driven from the heat of the sun to an “altitude above its surface”, where ultimately, over a much longer time scale, that material coalesces until other forces eventually drive them back toward the hot sun. Is this an accurate understanding? Is this comparison justified?