A new study sponsored by the University of California is questioning existing theories on Mars’ origins after discovering a new finding in a 200-year-old chassingy meteorite.
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According to a recent analysis of the Chassingy meteorite, which originated on Mars and crashed into our planet in 1815, the Red Planet’s core may have been produced from different materials than previously thought.
Scientists formerly thought that the gases of the young Solar System’s nebula formed the core of Mars, with meteorites subsequently bringing in more volatile elements.
An earlier study of the meteorite revealed the presence of xenon, an inert gas found in nebulas. However, a new investigation sponsored by the University of California gave the two-hundred-year-old rock a second look:
“With xenon isotopes, it’s difficult to distinguish the precise source of volatiles, but that’s not the case with krypton. With krypton, you can better see the difference between potential sources like from solar or meteorites […] but krypton isotopes are more difficult to measure than xenon isotopes, “Sandrine Péron, one of the authors of the research, told the New Scientist.
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The latest discovery shows that meteorite collisions may have had a major role in the formation of the planet’s core. At the same time, the planet’s atmosphere was mostly composed of gases from the solar nebula, despite the fact that scientists had previously assumed that these gases were pushed out of the nebula’s formed core.
The new model also shows that Mars got its first atmosphere after cooling down, rather than creating it when it was still a molten rock. The current finding, on the other hand, has raised additional questions: if Mars’ atmosphere was formed from nebula, why wasn’t it blown away by solar radiation like the nebula itself?
If the findings of the scientists from the University of California are confirmed following peer review, this question will be answered.