Simulation reveals the mysteries of the solar system planets




When we look at the solar system, what can we say about how it was formed? We see the wreckage of the process of formation in asteroids, comets and other small bodies that accumulate on the outskirts of our system (and sometimes pass near the Earth ).

Are the sizes of the planets orbit and a natural byproduct formation, or have any features that were born in the rare event? Scientists want to answer these questions in order to better understand how the Earth was formed, and how it will affect the Earth-like planets around other stars.

For example, a new simulation showed that Mars – a rare planet. It may appear, but in special circumstances, if the simulation parameters were correct. Correct any such assumptions or the need to carry out more research?

Finding answers to these questions helps us understand where not only Mars, but also our own planet. For astrobiologists Red Planet is of particular interest because it has numerous evidence of water in the past.

Results rovers “Opportunity”, “Spirit” and “Kyuriositi” on the surface of Mars showed that the planet are minerals, which are formed in the presence of water, for example, mineral iron oxide known as hematite.

“Education of Mars – an old puzzle. Most of the previous studies, such as this, could not reproduce the object with a mass of Mars, – said Rebecca Fisher, a doctoral student of Geophysical Sciences at the University of Chicago, leading the study. – You can play Mars, but it works only in 5% of cases. If you spend only four simulation, you will not see his education. ”

Job Fischer entitled “Dynamics of the terrestrial planets in numerous N-body simulations,” appeared in the journal Earth and Planetary Science Letters.
Jupiter and Saturn formed first


Fisher, a geologist by training, is interested in how the Earth was formed. Like the other planets in the solar system, the Earth emerged from the cloud of gas and dust about 5 billion years ago. Over time, this cloud came together in the wreckage. The debris collided and merged, eventually forming the planets and moons that we see today.

Predicting what conditions could have formed eight planets of our solar system, however, is a huge problem. It requires the simulation of collisions over millions of years and taking into account such things as the orbits of the gas giants – of course, Jupiter and Saturn – which affect the position of the planets of the inner solar system.

Former model the formation of the solar system were limited to a few approaches. To the latest work in question, the total number of simulations reached 12 – in 2009.

It is believed that Jupiter and Saturn were formed before the inner solar system , as they have a lot of gas inside. By analogy with the young sun, these planets drew gas floating in the immediate vicinity. Gas remained in the solar system for a short time before the radiation of the sun is not pushed him out of the solar system, which means that the gas giants formed pretty quickly. They were able to keep the gas due to the powerful gravity.

For this reason, the model begins with the assumption that Jupiter and Saturn existed when the inner solar system is still in its formative stages. The researchers conducted two series of 50 simulations – one with Jupiter and Saturn with the same eccentric orbits, as they are now, and one – when Jupiter and Saturn had more circular orbits.

“Usually, we form two to six of the planets of the inner solar system in their simulations, – says Fisher. – We see something similar to Venus. With Mercury harder. We see maybe one good counterpart in all simulations. The fact that no simulation produces Mercury, therefore, most likely, we err on the stage of the theory. ”

Fisher acknowledges that the results can tell scientists that the formation of Mars and Mercury – low probability events, possible, but rare. Or the simulation can show the scientists that the assumptions they make regarding the solar system should be revised. These issues are to be addressed in future studies.
Construction of the Earth


In addition to the formation of the planets, the researchers also studied how the presence of other planets influenced the formation of the Earth. For example, our planet comprises volatiles like water at its surface. Is it possible that the mass of Mars affected the amount of water collected by the Earth? Fisher modeling showed that the amount of water on Earth, appear to depend on Mars.

What else noticed Fisher, is the fact that the orbits of Jupiter and Saturn are strongly influenced by the amount of volatiles delivered to the inner solar system, where Earth. Water and some organic matter originated from the outer solar system, possibly for the same reason that comets come from a hypothetical region called the Oort Cloud. This region is full of icy objects that are from 5000 to 100 000 a. e. away.

These icy objects remain on the outskirts of the solar system, if the orbits of the gas giants do not push them closer to the Sun. Planet like the Earth, which is in the process of accretion of water, nitrogen and carbon (all important for life) is likely to depend largely on the material that deliver the gas giants.

Fisher found that early circular orbits of Jupiter and Saturn young gas giants allowed to deliver more of the volatiles in the inner solar system, that would be impossible with more eccentric orbits today.

Models have shown a number of scenarios for the orbits of Jupiter and Saturn, while the inner planets were formed. Perhaps their orbits intersect, or come up and moving away from the sun, but the main reason for this is not yet clear.
How rare is our solar system?


Understanding how to build solar system, has important implications for life beyond Earth. If it is definitely rare for the formation of some planets, then life must be less than expected. However, while the scientists failed to replicate the model of the solar system.

“There are lots of discussions about how to approach this, look at the solar system as the most likely outcome, or start from conditions that could produce the solar system. Currently there is a configuration that would produce a solar system in most cases. ”

In further studies, Fisher will study how the formation of the solar system could affect the Earth’s interior. For planets that are going in the simulation, it will calculate the distribution of incoming material between the crust and mantle of the Earth, the latter of which depends on the temperature and pressure in the Earth’s core.

These simulations will help to accurately determine the temperature of the Earth’s core, which is not yet known. The active surface of the Earth, volcanoes and earthquakes are sometimes cited as the cause of life, as they provide the body with energy and change.

Although the presence of Mars may be a rarity for our solar system, astrobiologists consider it luck. Exploration of Mars helps to understand the different conditions under which life could have arisen, even if we are not sure if she was ever on Mars


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