Current theories on how volatile elements, such as the building blocks of life, were acquired by terrestrial planets early in their formation are being challenged by a recent analysis of a Martian meteorite. The Chassigny meteorite, which is believed to have come from the deep interior of Mars and so offers a glimpse into the early solar system and fell to Earth in 1815, was examined by researchers.
The primary theory for how rocky planets like Earth came to be is that they first took on volatile elements like water and substances that evaporate at low temperatures from the solar nebula, the whirling disk of material that surrounds the newborn sun. Initially dissolving into the blazing molten oceans of early planets, this volatiles subsequently released gases into their atmospheres. According to that theory, more volatiles was released later when chondritic meteorites primitive, stony asteroids created from dust and grain in the early solar system crashed with the planets.
However, the most recent findings imply that Mars' growth could have been different. At the University of California, Davis Noble Gas Laboratory, professor Sujoy Mukhopadhyay and postdoctoral researcher Sandrine Péron from the Swiss university ETH Zürich meticulously measured the tiny amounts of the noble gas krypton's isotopes present in meteorite samples. The origins of the components in the rock might be inferred.
The two discovered krypton isotope ratios suggested volatiles came from chondritic sources rather than those connected to the solar nebula. This discovery implies that meteorite volatiles entered the Red Planet's mantle considerably earlier than previously assumed, while the nebula was still there.
In contrast to Earth, which took between 50 million and 100 million years to harden, Mars is believed to have cooled far more quickly than our planet. This suggests that the Red Planet is providing earlier information about the solar system's past through volatiles. Krypton's composition in the Martian interior is almost entirely chondritic, but the atmosphere is solar, according to Péron. It stands out clearly.
The findings raise issues about the creation of planetary atmospheres and "contradict the prevailing notion that, during planet formation, chondritic volatile transport happened after the solar gas acquisition," according to the researchers. The research was published on June 16 in the journal Science.