A Compelling New Hypothesis Could Finally Explain How Earth Formed
You want to know something funny? We don’t actually know how our planet formed. We have a broad general idea, but the finer details are a lot trickier to unravel.
We do have a model that is currently accepted as the most likely explanation so far: that Earth formed from the gradual accretion of asteroids. However, even here, there are some facts about the formation of our planet that are challenging to explain.
A new paper, combining experimentation with modeling, has revealed a new formation pathway that much more neatly fits the characteristics of Earth.
“The prevailing theory in astrophysics and cosmochemistry is that the Earth formed from chondritic asteroids. These are relatively small, simple blocks of rock and metal that formed early on in the Solar System,” said planetologist Paolo Sossi of ETH Zurich in Switzerland.
“The problem with this theory is that no mixture of these chondrites can explain the exact composition of the Earth, which is much poorer in light, volatile elements such as hydrogen and helium than we would have expected.”
There’s a whole bunch of question marks over the planet formation process, but scientists have been able to piece together a general picture. When a star forms from a dense clump of matter in a molecular cloud of dust and gas in space, the material around it arranges into a disk that orbits and spools into the growing star.
That disk of dust and gas doesn’t just contribute to the waistline of a growing star – small densities within that swirl also aggregate into smaller, cooler clumps. Small particles collide and stick together, first electrostatically, then gravitationally, forming larger and larger objects that can eventually grow into a planet. This is called the accretion model, and it’s strongly supported by observational evidence.
But if the rocks that stick together are chondrites, that leaves a big open question about the missing lighter, volatile elements.
Scientists have posed various explanations, including heat generated during the collisions that could have vaporized some of the lighter elements.
That, however, doesn’t necessarily track either: heat would have vaporized lighter isotopes of elements, with fewer neutrons, according to recent experimental work led by Sossi. But lighter isotopes are still present on Earth in roughly similar ratios to those found in chondrites.
So Sossi and his colleagues set out to investigate another possibility: that the rocks that combined to make Earth were not chondritic asteroids from Earth’s general orbital neighborhood, but planetesimals. These are larger bodies, the “seeds” of planets that have grown to a size large enough to have a differentiated core.
“Dynamic models with which we simulate the formation of planets show that the planets in our Solar System formed progressively. Small grains grew over time into kilometer-sized planetesimals by accumulating more and more material through their gravitational pull,” Sossi said.
“What is more, planetesimals that formed in different areas around the young Sun or at different times can have very different chemical compositions.”
They ran N-body simulations, altering variables such as the number of planetesimals, along the “Grand Tack” scenario, in which a baby Jupiter moves first closer to the Sun, and then back again to its current position.
Under this scenario, the motion of Jupiter in the early Solar System had an extremely perturbing effect on the smaller rocks swirling around, scattering planetesimals into the inner disk.
The simulations were designed to produce the inner Solar System we see today: Mercury, Venus, Earth and Mars. The team found that a diverse mixture of planetesimals with different chemical compositions could reproduce Earth as we see it today. In fact, Earth was the most likely outcome of the simulations.
This could have important implications not just for the Solar System, and understanding the varying compositions of the rocky planets therein, but other planetary systems elsewhere in the galaxy.
“Even though we had suspected it, we still found this result very remarkable. We now not only have a mechanism that better explains the formation of the Earth, but we also have a reference to explain the formation of the other rocky planets,” Sossi said.
“Our study shows how important it is to consider both the dynamics and the chemistry when trying to understand planetary formation. I hope that our findings will lead to closer collaboration between researchers in these two fields.”
The team’s research was published in Nature Astronomy.
UFO in the form of a black cube was filmed over Texas
A video of a strange black object that appears to be a cube was filmed this week on Tuesday at an unspecified location in Texas, USA.
According to the unnamed author of the video, he and his wife looked up at the sky as a military plane that looked like an F-111 bomber flew west to east right over their house.
They regarded this incident as very unusual, since military aircraft had previously very rarely appeared in their area.
But they were even more confused when, literally “seconds later” after the bomber’s passage, a dark object appeared in the sky.
At first it seemed to them spherical, but then they considered that it was more like a cube. It is also possible that the object has changed its shape.
In the video, a man can be heard saying, “It’s so weird. A military plane flies by, and then THIS appears, whatever it is,” to which his wife replies, “I have no idea what it is.”
It is indicated that the man sent the video he shot to the UFO site MUFON. The eyewitness also admitted that the strange object could be something mundane, such as a baby balloon, but he thinks that this “air anomaly” emits some kind of glow, which is clearly not related to the properties of balloons.
In his opinion, this “glow” may be associated with the propulsion system of the aircraft.
China has put hundreds of satellites in orbit to target U.S., as Space Force commander reveals Beijing’s horrific plan for America
The head of the U.S. Space Force, Gen. Chance Saltzman, says that China has launched numerous satellites in the past six months and currently possesses 347 orbiting crafts capable of gathering intelligence on American armed forces.
The general warned that China is the “most immediate threat” to U.S. operations in space given its development of technologies such as lasers to disrupt satellite sensors, electronic warfare jammers, and even building crafts that can potentially disrupt rival orbiting platforms.
Saltzman stated that China’s ultimate goal is to become the most dominant space-faring nation by 2045, a part of its plan for a fully modernized, world-class military, the UK’s Daily Mail noted.
“Over the last six months, China conducted 35 launches adding advanced communications and intelligence, surveillance, and reconnaissance (ISR) satellites to their orbital architecture,” he noted in a written statement to the Senate Armed Service Subcommittee on Strategic Forces earlier this week. “Of China’s over 700 operational satellites in orbit, 347 are People’s Liberation Army ISR platforms providing optical, radar, and radio-frequency capabilities which track the Joint Force worldwide.”
Senior U.S. commanders have issued repeated warnings that China’s advancements in space technology, such as the development of reusable rockets, pose a threat to U.S. dominance in space. Chinese officials have even compared the moon and Mars to the disputed islands in the South China Sea that Beijing is trying to assert its sovereignty over, the report said.
“Both China and Russia continue to develop, field and deploy a range of weapons aimed at U.S. space capabilities,” Saltzman told the Senate panel. “The spectrum of threats to U.S. space capabilities includes cyber warfare activities, electronic attack platforms, directed energy lasers designed to blind or damage satellite sensors, ground-to-orbit missiles to destroy satellites and space-to-space orbital engagement systems that can attack U.S. satellites in space.”
He added that both Russia and China have studied how the U.S. has become reliant on its satellites to conduct warfare.
“Whether it’s our precision navigation and timing, whether it’s satellite communications, the missile warning that we rely on and the intelligence surveillance and reconnaissance persistence that we have with space capabilities… they know we rely on that and so if they can blind us, if they can interfere with those capabilities, or God forbid, destroy them completely, they know that that will diminish our advantages and put the joint force at risk,” said the four-star Space Force commander.
“So I can see interfering with, I can see blinding, I can see some of those grey area kinds of attacks on our capabilities to try and put us behind the eight ball,” he noted further.
China’s rapid economic growth in recent years has allowed them to invest heavily in its space program, leading to significant advancements in its space military capabilities. As China races to the final frontier, its space program has become a point of interest for military analysts and governments around the world.
With the launch of Beijing’s first space station and the successful landing of a rover on the far side of the moon, China has demonstrated its ability to compete with other space-faring nations. However, their military activities in space have raised concerns and sparked debates about their intentions and the potential for an arms race in space.
As for the U.S., Saltzman said the Pentagon will be switching from bigger, more vulnerable geostationary satellites to constellations of smaller satellites that will be deployed in low-to-medium earth orbit.
“With regards to grappling satellites and pulling them out of orbit, much tougher to deal with when you have less than maneuverable older legacy satellites,” he told senators. “So again, shifting to a proliferated [low earth orbit] constellation where you don’t have what Gen. Hyten called a ‘big juicy target’ sitting there in a [geostationary orbit] makes that a much tougher proposition for them to execute against.”
By: JD Heyes
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