Rare Metals on Mars And Earth Implicate Colossal Impacts - Astrobiology

New research has revealed that a giant impact on Mars more than four billion years ago would explain the unusual amount of “iron loving” elements in the Red Planet.

Planets form as small dust grains stick together and agglomerate with other grains, leading to bigger bodies termed “planetesimals.” These planetesimals continue to collide with each other and are either ejected from the Solar System, gobbled up by the Sun, or form a planet. This is not the end of the story, as planets continue to accrete material well after they have formed. This process is known as late accretion, and it occurs as leftover fragments of planet formation rain down on the young planets.

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 Photo credit: UNIVERSITY OF ARIZONA/LPL/SWRI

Photo credit: UNIVERSITY OF ARIZONA/LPL/SWRI