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Collisions of Mars and Earth Likely Formed Moon Sized Rocks

According to a recent study, Earth and Mars formed through collisions between large moon-size Rocks rather than the clumping together of microscopic pebbles over time. Previous study has revealed that rocky planets like Earth are produced in one of two ways. The standard concept argues that in the early solar system, moon-to-Mars-sized Rocks known as planetary embryos smashed together on a regular basis, gradually forming into full-size worlds.

A more recent alternative theory involves small stones from the outer solar system moving inward toward the sun and gradually collecting to produce rocky planets, a process thought to be necessary for the development of the cores of big planets like Jupiter and Saturn. Scientists examined a total of 0.77 ounces (22 grammes) of material from 17 meteorites that originated on Mars to discover which hypothesis best explains how the solar system’s rocky planets developed.

The researchers looked at how the isotopic makeup of these samples differed. Isotopes are different chemical elements with the same number of neutrons in their nucleus. For example, the core of uranium-234 has 142 neutrons, while the core of uranium-238 has 146 neutrons. The researchers compared the levels of titanium, zirconium, and molybdenum isotopes on Mars and Earth to those found in several groupings of meteorites from both the inner and outer solar systems.

They discovered that Earth and Martian Rocks were more similar to meteorites from the inner solar system, with only around 4% of their compositions approximating material from the outer solar system. The enormous number of Martian meteorites they studied helped them overcome discrepancies in previous research that looked at a smaller number of these Rocks.

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