When baby planets melt

Thursday, May 7, 2020 - 14:40 in Astronomy & Space

Let’s start at the beginning. Before humans, before Earth, before any of the planets existed, there were baby planets — planetesimals. Coalesced from dust exploded outward by the solar nebula, these blobs of material were just a few kilometers in diameter. Soon, they too aggregated due to gravity to form the rocky planets in the innermost part of the solar system, leaving the early details about these planetesimals to the imagination. Their mysterious identity is complicated by the fact that Mercury, Venus, Earth, and Mars are all different in chemical composition. Like a blender mixing the ingredients in a cake, Earth has undergone some rearrangement, largely due to volcanism and plate tectonics that shift elements into and out of the interior, that further obscures information about what the original ingredients might have been, and their proportions. Now, a pair of MIT scientists in the Department of Earth, Atmospheric and Planetary Sciences (EAPS)...

Read the whole article on MIT Research

More from MIT Research

Latest Science Newsletter

Get the latest and most popular science news articles of the week in your Inbox! It's free!

Check out our next project, Biology.Net