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Earth formed much faster than previously thought

UNITED STATES (OBSERVATORY NEWS) — Researchers from the University of Copenhagen found that the proto-earth – the forerunner of our planet – has formed in about 5 million years.

Researchers explain that on an astronomical scale, this is a very short period of time. If we take the age of the solar system – 4.6 billion years – per terrestrial day, then the proto-earth formed in about a minute and a half.

Scientists refute the traditional theory that proto-Earth was formed as a result of random collisions between large space objects for tens of millions of years. In this case, the isotopic composition of the planet would reflect a mixture of the isotopic composition of various types of meteorites.

However, having studied the composition of iron isotopes in various meteorites, the authors found that it corresponds to the earthly one in only one type of celestial bodies – CI chondrites. It is known that these fragile cosmic bodies are composed of primary cosmic dust, therefore they are equivalent to the volumetric composition of the solar system itself. This dust, in combination with gas, was directed through a circumstellar accretion disk to the growing Sun.

New results confirm a fresh alternative theory about the formation of the planet as a result of the accumulation of cosmic dust. First, tiny particles of cosmic dust, under the influence of electrostatic forces, stuck together into lumps, which eventually grew into lumps.

The increase in their gravitational force led to the fact that these objects collided and merged with the formation of planetesimals, from which protozoan and other rocky planets then arose. Since a large amount of dust was present in the protoplanetary disk for only about five million years, during this time the proto-earth was to form.

This means that other planets can form much faster than if they grew solely as a result of random collisions between objects in space. This assumption is supported by thousands of exoplanets in other galaxies that astronomers have discovered since the mid-1990s.

“Now we know that the formation of planets occurs everywhere, and that there are general mechanisms by which planetary systems are formed. When we understand these mechanisms in our own solar system, we can draw similar conclusions about other planetary systems. Including, at what point and how often water accumulates in them,” Martin Bizzarro, co-author of the study.

Bizzarro adds : “If the theory of early planetary accretion is indeed correct, water is most likely just a by-product of the formation of a planet similar to Earth. This means that the components of life, as we know it, are more likely to be found elsewhere in the universe.”


This article is written and prepared by our foreign editors writing for OBSERVATORY NEWS from different countries around the world – material edited and published by OBSERVATORY staff in our newsroom.

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