This Mars meteorite that fell to Earth may reveal big secrets about the birth of our planet
A little space rock from Mars, which fell to Earth in 1815, can change what we thought we knew about the birth of our planet. Known as the Chassigny meteorite, it is a small chunk of rock which is believed to be from a time when Mars was still forming into a planet. And a recent study has found some remarkable evidence stored inside this red rock, that is making scientists question the established theory of how planets are formed and its chronological order because of the concentration of volatile gases found inside of it.
The study has been published in the peer-reviewed journal Science. The study has analysed the content of volatile gases present in the meteorite and have found that Krypton, a noble gas, is available in much higher concentrations than what established theories suggest. So, why is this such a big deal? Let us break it down.
The Chassigny meteorite raises questions about the theories on the birth of planet Earth
The current accepted theory of how planets came into existence starts like this. There are large amounts of nebular clouds of dust spread across the universe. When these gases float closer to each other, sometimes the dense clump collapses under gravitational force and begins spinning. As it spins, it pulls in more material and under high pressure, it starts to burn and becomes a star. This star is still an early stage star and it keeps pulling in more nebular dust to increase in size. At the same time, it aligns the remaining dust cloud in the shape of a wide disc. Now on this disc, wherever another clump of nebular particles accumulates, it gives rise to a planet.
While the planet is forming, it reels in all the volatile gases (like nitrogen, oxygen, argon, helium, Krypton) and pushes it inside its mantle. As the planet cools, some of the gases are released into the atmosphere. Later, more volatile gases are added into the atmosphere through meteorite bombardments. So, in short, the mantle of the planet should have a lesser ratio of these gases compared to the atmosphere.
However, the Chassigny meteorite has a higher concentration of Krypton, which has now made scientists question whether there are other factors involved in formation of a planet like Earth.