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Mars meteorite challenges leading theory of how the Red Planet formed

Posted: June 24th, 2022, 12:32 pm
by fred8615
Meteorites delivered volatiles to Mars much earlier than scientists thought.

A new analysis of a Martian meteorite is challenging current thinking about how terrestrial planets acquired volatile elements, including the elemental ingredients of life, early in their formation.

Researchers analyzed the Chassigny meteorite, which fell to Earth in 1815 and is thought to be a sample from the deep interior of Mars and thus providing a window into the early days of the solar system.

The main hypothesis for the formation of rocky planets such as Earth is that they initially acquired volatiles — such as water and elements which vaporize at low temperatures — from the solar nebula, the swirling disk of material around the young sun. These volatiles dissolved into the fiery magma oceans of young planets but later outgassed into their atmospheres. Further volatiles were delivered later on, when chondritic meteorites — primitive, rocky asteroids formed from dust and grain in the early solar system — smashed into the planets, according to that hypothesis.

Read more: ... on-mystery