On October 12th delegates attending the Royal Astronomical Society (RAS) meeting ‘Early Solar System Processes on Meteorites’ will discuss the competing theories. The meeting is being held in honour of the late Robert Hutchison, who was a distinguished meteorite expert at the Natural History Museum and used early Solar System samples to deduce how asteroids formed.
One group of scientists believes that the partial melting of asteroids led to the formation of chondrules, mm-size melt droplets which make up many meteorites. Another camp is convinced that asteroids grew from cold particles in the solar nebula and that the chondrules formed beforehand. There are currently two main ways of studying this question: one is to analyse the composition and age of primitive meteorites, the other makes use of similarly primitive grains collected from Comet Wild-2 by the NASA Stardust space probe, which returned a sample to Earth in January 2006.
Like other comets, Wild-2 began life in the earliest stages of the Solar System, more than 4500 million years ago. At that time the rocky, metallic and icy material that ultimately formed the planets started to form larger bodies. Ices of water, ammonia, carbon dioxide and carbon monoxide condensed in the cold outer parts of the Solar System. Most of the ices ended up as part of the gas giant planets – Jupiter, Saturn, Uranus and Neptune – but some remained in much smaller bodies 1-10 km across that eventually formed the cores (nuclei) of comets.
Comets that have spent most of their lives at a great distance from the Sun contain the least processed material in the Solar System, whereas in contrast an increasing number of scientists believe that asteroid surfaces were extensively melted. For example, one theory put forward by Dr Ian Sanders of Trinity College Dublin is that the presence of radioactive material created enough heat to partially melt the building blocks of planets and asteroids (planetesimals) found in the early Solar System. When these objects collided they would have created great clouds of molten droplets, the predecessors of the material found in asteroids today.
Meeting chair Dr John Bridges of the University of Leicester is part of the international team studying grains from Wild-2 and hence the early history of the Solar System. Dr Bridges comments ‘There has been a vigorous debate for many years about how the earliest planetesimals formed – either from cold accumulation of dust and gas from the nebula and interstellar space or through impact and radioactivity-induced melting. By studying Comet Wild-2 and primitive meteorites we are starting to reveal the true nature of a violent early Solar System where many of the earliest planetary building blocks underwent repeated collisions and melting episodes.’
Robert Massey | alfa
ASEAN Member States discuss the future role of renewable energy
17.10.2017 | Fraunhofer-Institut für System- und Innovationsforschung (ISI)
World Health Summit 2017: International experts set the course for the future of Global Health
10.10.2017 | World Health Summit
Seven new papers describe the first-ever detection of light from a gravitational wave source. The event, caused by two neutron stars colliding and merging together, was dubbed GW170817 because it sent ripples through space-time that reached Earth on 2017 August 17. Around the world, hundreds of excited astronomers mobilized quickly and were able to observe the event using numerous telescopes, providing a wealth of new data.
Previous detections of gravitational waves have all involved the merger of two black holes, a feat that won the 2017 Nobel Prize in Physics earlier this month....
Material defects in end products can quickly result in failures in many areas of industry, and have a massive impact on the safe use of their products. This is why, in the field of quality assurance, intelligent, nondestructive sensor systems play a key role. They allow testing components and parts in a rapid and cost-efficient manner without destroying the actual product or changing its surface. Experts from the Fraunhofer IZFP in Saarbrücken will be presenting two exhibits at the Blechexpo in Stuttgart from 7–10 November 2017 that allow fast, reliable, and automated characterization of materials and detection of defects (Hall 5, Booth 5306).
When quality testing uses time-consuming destructive test methods, it can result in enormous costs due to damaging or destroying the products. And given that...
Using a new cooling technique MPQ scientists succeed at observing collisions in a dense beam of cold and slow dipolar molecules.
How do chemical reactions proceed at extremely low temperatures? The answer requires the investigation of molecular samples that are cold, dense, and slow at...
Scientists from the Max Planck Institute of Quantum Optics, using high precision laser spectroscopy of atomic hydrogen, confirm the surprisingly small value of the proton radius determined from muonic hydrogen.
It was one of the breakthroughs of the year 2010: Laser spectroscopy of muonic hydrogen resulted in a value for the proton charge radius that was significantly...
It's possible to produce hydrogen to power fuel cells by extracting the gas from seawater, but the electricity required to do it makes the process costly. UCF...
17.10.2017 | Event News
10.10.2017 | Event News
10.10.2017 | Event News
17.10.2017 | Life Sciences
17.10.2017 | Physics and Astronomy
17.10.2017 | Life Sciences