It has been long believed that meteorites as well as clouds of gas and dust have played a crucial role in the formation of planets in our solar system. But, a latest study has raised several questions about the role of meteorites as the building blocks of planets.
The study was conducted by a team of researchers at the Purdue University and Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT).
Meteorites, the chunks of rocks and metals, also consists chondrules — miniscule, the spherical grains of melted solidified rocks.
Currently, it is believed that these grains of rocks play a fundamental role in the mechanism of planet formation. In the early stages of our solar system, chondrules started to accrete clouds of gas and dust that further led to the formation of bigger planetary precursors, a process known as coalesce.
Study researcher Jay Melosh, of Purdue University, said, “Understanding the origin of chondrules is like looking through the keyhole of a door; while we can’t see all that is happening behind the door, it gives us a clear view of one part of the room and a glimpse into the very beginnings of our solar system.”
Following the study, the researchers claimed that meteorites may have been the by-products of the formation of planets.
The researchers used computer simulations for the creation of collisions between protoplanets and found that bodies of the size of the moon were formed much before than the chondrules formation.
With the help of these simulations, the scientists also found that chondrules were perhaps created during collision between protoplanets, smashing into each other with a force that resulted into the melting of some of their material and spewed out the molten rock.
“Chondrules were long viewed as building blocks of planets … but it’s ironic that they now appear to be the remnants of early protoplanetary collisions,” Maria Zuber, study researcher from MIT, said.
The study was published online in the journal Nature.