Friday, January 30, 2009

Mars, Mercury may be 'byproducts' of Earth, Venus formation

A new model of the inner Solar System's early history suggests Mars and Mercury are the leftovers of a giant ring of debris that created Earth and Venus (National Geographic via Slashdot).

At the moment, conventional wisdom holds that a disc of material circling the Sun coalesced into the four inner planets. The problem with that is, each planet should be the same size and following a similar orbit. But they're not. Mercury and Mars are much smaller, and follow more elliptical orbits than Earth and Venus.

To solve this problem, University of California astronomer Brad Hansen suggests the early Solar System was composed of rings of material, not a disc. One of the largest rings eventually created Earth and Venus, which kicked out the left over matter. That matter joined up with smaller rings, the theory goes, to create Mercury and Mars.

(image courtesy
NASA)

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I started pound360 to channel my obsession with vitamins, running and the five senses. Eventually, I got bored focusing on all that stuff, so I came back from a one month hiatus in May of 2007 (one year after launching Pound360) and broadened my mumblings here to include all science.