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A new study on space dust bolsters the theory that the Earth was made of pebbles

A new study on space dust bolsters the theory that the Earth was made of pebbles



Last year, researchers in Lund launched a groundbreaking theory that the Earth was formed from pebbles that sucked together in a celestial body for millions of years. This explanatory model has now been strengthened by a new study showing that cosmic dust also played a critical role in the formation of our planet.

It became known as the pebble theory. The radical idea is that Telus transformed from a small planet of rock and ice to its current size and shape thanks to millimeter-sized pebbles that were sucked together into a massive orb. The controversial theory, which goes against the popular notion that the Earth formed as a result of multiple collisions of giant asteroids, was launched by Lunda astronomer Anders Johansen last year and quickly heard in astronomy circles. And in a new study published in the scientific journal Science Advances, a research team from Sweden, Denmark and China can reveal more details about Earth’s exciting creation 4,550 million years ago.

Through advanced computer simulations, we can prove that Earth was formed from a mixture of pebbles and dust from supernova explosions in the outer solar system, as well as dust from the inner solar system that contains much less dust than supernovae, says Anders Johansen, professor of astronomy. at Lund University.

It was previously known that meteorites from the outer part of the solar system, the so-called carbonaceous chondrites, contain more dust from supernovae, and exploding stars, than meteorites from the inner part of the solar system. This has traditionally been explained by the fact that Jupiter suddenly stopped supernova dust particles from finding their way into the central parts of the solar system. But the new study suggests that Jupiter’s role as a planetary vacuum cleaner is overstated.

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Our study shows that Jupiter did not play a large role in the formation of the solar system as previously thought. Despite its size, the monster planet probably did not block all the dust particles from the outer solar system. A great deal has gone ahead and contributed to the formation of the Earth, says Michel Lambrechts, an astronomy researcher at Lund University.

Dust particles migrating from the outer solar system that Jupiter is still obscured by Jupiter may explain why Earth hasn’t grown any larger. Without Jupiter’s help, Earth would likely have evolved into a so-called super-Earth with much greater masses and a life-threatening atmosphere of hydrogen and helium. Researchers will now work more on the pebble theory to understand more aspects of how this happened when our Earth formed.

By learning more about these complex processes, we are gaining an increasing understanding of how things work when habitable planets also form around other stars in the universe, places that could harbor life, says Anders Johansen.

In addition to Lund University, Zhejiang University and Copenhagen University were involved in the work.

The study was published in the scientific journal Science Advances: “Natural separation of two primitive planetary reservoirs in an expanding protoplanetary disk”

For more information please contact:

Anders Johansen, Professor

Department of Astronomy and Theoretical Physics

046222 15 89

0736 84 96 98

[email protected]

Michel Lambrechts, Researcher

Department of Astronomy and Theoretical Physics

046222 73 06

[email protected]

Media contact

[email protected]

046222 71 86