Our planet could appear in a completely different scenario, which differs from previously proposed versions.
In the early stages of the existence of the solar system, the Earth took much less time to finally form. This is the conclusion made by researchers from the University of Copenhagen after analyzing iron isotopes found in meteorites. It is reported by Science Alert.
According to the results of a new study, the Earth has become a full-fledged planet in 5 million years – this is several times faster than previous models believed. An interesting fact remains that scientists are not yet completely sure how the formation of planets proceeds. As long as there is a general picture: a huge cloud of dust and gas revolves around the stars, which eventually turns into a flat disk, the elements of which become planets over time – therefore, objects in the solar system are approximately in the same plane around the sun.
Planets appear when the particles of cosmic dust and stones adhere – when they become larger, the force of gravity also grows, which helps to attract more and more objects. Ultimately, such interaction leads to the appearance of planets. It was believed that this requires several tens of millions of years, at least for the Earth.
In composition, the Earth differs from other objects in the solar system – it contains much less Fe-54, an isotope of iron. A similar composition is observed in carbonaceous chondrites.
If the Earth had formed over a longer period, its mantle would have contained more remnants of various meteorites, including those with a high Fe-54 content. Accordingly, the core of the planet should have appeared early enough due to rain from space dust. Scientists do not exclude that the rapid formation of planets, such as this, may be just one of the factors that determine the appearance of life on them.
“If the theory of early planetary accretion (the process of increasing the mass of a celestial body through the attraction of matter is really true, then water is most likely just a by-product of the formation of a planet similar to the Earth – this is more likely to find signs of life elsewhere in the universe,” cosmochemist Martin Bizzaro says.