Collision of baby planets may have given rise to Mars

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The Universe is constantly changing. However, most of them take millions of years to show themselves. Not long ago, new research brought more knowledge about the origin of the Earth and the Moon. Now, new investigations bring clarity about the formation of our neighboring planet: Mars. Apparently, underneath the Martian soil, there are unmixed remains of two baby planets, which would be the originators of the Red Planet after a collision that did not result in total fusion.

The research was conducted by the University of Arizona and recently published in Nature Goescience. The substances of both protoplanets were separated after analysis of traces of water. In other words, it was a discovery almost at random, which can retell what is meant by the formation of rocky and watery planets, such as Mars and Earth.

Another element analyzed was hydrogen. Most of the time, it is composed of only one proton, being called light hydrogen. Heavy hydrogen is that formed by a neutron and several protons. Finding different types of this element can help to reconstruct the origins of a planet.

In the atmosphere of Mars, heavy hydrogens are mostly found, suggesting that light hydrogens may have escaped into space, in a process that lasted billions of years. It is believed that the rocks on the planet also release light hydrogen, but this is difficult to measure, and the Martian meteorites that hit Earth could shed light on that.

The question of water
Two rocks were analyzed: the Black Beauty, very dark, that reached our planet about 4.4 billion years ago – it is worth remembering that Mars has 4.6 billion. The other meteorite, on the other hand, is “newer”, only 4 billion years old. Through the research of its compositions, it is believed that the Martian soil has the two forms of hydrogen, different from its atmosphere. But for that it would be necessary to study more.

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On Earth, the movement and shock of the continents draws water and hydrogen from the air and buries them. Already on Mars, there is a freezing of its interior, so it would be difficult to understand the existence of two types of hydrogen in this. Analyzing in depth other research on Martian soil, the team led by cosmo-chemist Jessica Barnes managed to understand that its interior was the result of the collision of two protoplanets with different characteristics.

And as water is formed by hydrogen and oxygen, it is possible to understand that the one that existed on Mars also had two distinct origins. “These two different sources of water inside Mars may be telling us something about the types of objects available to merge into rocky planets,” said Barnes.

Until then, it was believed that planets like Earth and Mars would have part of their water coming from meteorites known as carbonaceous chondrites, which have equal amounts of the two types of hydrogen – something different from the composition of Mars, in which specific types prevail depending on your location. With this, it was also possible to deduce, from the research, that Mars already had water below its surface.


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