Big balls to shoot! Flaming meteorites from the outer regions of the solar system gave rise to life on Earth 4.6 billion years ago.
A new study reveals that large balls of fire from the outer regions of the solar system brought the building blocks of life to Earth 4.6 billion years ago.
Scientists at MIT and Imperial College London found that these ancient meteorites contain carbonaceous chondrites, which are composed of potassium and zinc.
Potassium aids in the production of cell fluids, while zinc is vital in the formation of DNA.
The team found that these space rocks made up ten percent of the space rocks that collided with the planet during its birth.
The remaining 90 percent came from the non-carbonaceous material of the inner solar system.
Earth’s life was created by fireballs that crashed into the newly born planet 4.6 billion years ago
“Our studies complement and confirm each other’s findings in multiple ways,” the study’s lead author, Dr. Nicole Ni, told SWS.
“Among the moderately volatile elements, potassium is the least volatile while zinc is one of the most volatile elements.”
Meteorites provided 20 percent of Earth’s potassium and half of it zinc.
Both are considered volatiles, which are elements or compounds that change from a solid or liquid state to a vapor at relatively low temperatures.
Senior author Professor Mark Rekamper, of the Department of Earth Sciences and Engineering at Imperial College London, said in a statement statmentOur data show that about half of Earth’s zinc deposits were delivered by material from the outer solar system, beyond the orbit of Jupiter.
“Based on current models of early solar system development, this was completely unexpected.”
Previous research has indicated that Earth formed almost exclusively from inner solar system material, which the researchers conclude is the main source of volatile chemicals on Earth.
However, the new study provides the first evidence that Earth formed in part from carbonaceous meteorites from asteroids in the outer main belt.
“This contribution of outer solar system material has played a vital role in creating Earth’s stock of volatile chemicals,” Recamber said.
It appears that without the contribution of outer solar system material, Earth would have much less volatile matter than we know today – making it much drier and possibly unable to nurture and sustain life.
The team analyzed 18 meteorites,11 from the inner region and the rest traveled from the outer regions.
Meteorites contained potassium and zinc and traveled from the outer reaches of the solar system
And then, they are Measure the relative abundance of the five different zinc forms – or isotopes.
They then compared each isotopic fingerprint with Earth samples to estimate how much these materials contribute to Earth’s zinc inventory, which indicates that Earth only comprises about 10 percent of its mass in carbonaceous bodies.
The researchers found that substances with a high concentration of zinc and other volatile components are also likely to be relatively abundant in the water, giving clues about the origin of Earth’s water.
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