A team of scientists from the University of Copenhagen has refuted the generally accepted theory about the formation of the Earth. Their study, published in the journal Nature, shows that our planet was created much faster than previously thought.
The popular theory states that it took more than 100 million years for the Earth to form. And when it formed, the planet was massively bombarded by asteroids and meteorites in its early stage of existence. Therefore, the common belief is that water was brought to Earth by asteroids. However, a new study from the University of Copenhagen suggests that water was not brought to Earth by chance.
According to the new theory, the Earth was formed by a very rapid accumulation of small, millimeter-sized pebbles. According to this mechanism, the Earth formed in just a few million years, and water was a byproduct of its formation.
“This theory predicts that whenever an Earth-like planet forms, it will have water on it. If you go to another planetary system where there is a planet orbiting a star the size of the sun, it should have water on it if it is the right distance from its star,” summarizes Martin Bizzarro, co-author of the study.
The researchers’ findings suggest that the presence of water on Earth is “a predicted result of its formation process.” That is, they refute the theory that water was brought to our planet by asteroids. And this, it turns out, increases the chances that there may be habitable worlds outside the solar system.
Until now, it was thought that water came to Earth by accident. Had it not been hit by an asteroid with the necessary molecules, there would have been no life. However, a new study offers a new theory about how the Earth was created. According to it, a protoplanetary disk filled with fine dust particles formed around the young Sun. When the growing planet reached a certain size, it began rapidly sucking up all this dust, like a vacuum cleaner. And it took only a few million years to form to its full size.
Not only did the suction of small dust particles play a vital role in the formation of the Earth, but it also ensured the delivery of water to our planet. Researchers write that the protoplanetary disk contained many ice particles. The Earth pulled them in along with the dust. This means that the appearance of water on the planet is not a random event.
“With this new understanding of the mechanism of planet formation, the probability of habitable planets appearing in the galaxy is much greater,” Martin Bizzarro explains. – Habitable is the ability of a planet to have the necessary ingredients on its surface for its development. One of the key components of habitability is water.
The study by scientists from the University of Copenhagen represents a new way of looking at the process of Earth’s formation. It refutes the old theory that water was brought to Earth by asteroids. The new theory suggests that water was created during the formation of the planet. This opens up new perspectives for the search for habitable worlds outside the solar system.