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Thu Oct 17, 2019, 06:27 PM

Doomed Alien Planets 'Polluted' White Dwarf Stars with Earth-Like Rocks


By Charles Q. Choi 5 hours ago



An artist's depiction of rocky material and a metallic, spherical core both orbiting a white dwarf,
with an Earth-like planet in the background.An artist's depiction of rocky material and a metallic,
spherical core both orbiting a white dwarf, with an Earth-like planet in the background.
(Image: University of California, Los Angeles/Mark A. Garlick/markgarlick.com)


By analyzing the disintegrated remains of distant worlds consumed by their stars, a new study finds that at least some rocky exoplanets may have interiors similar to those of Earth and Mars.

Previous research found that most rocky bodies in our solar system formed amid high levels of oxygen, about 100,000 times higher than what is found in the sun's hydrogen-rich gas. Such oxidation likely reflects the primordial conditions that existed during the earliest stages of rock formation around the sun. Those first rocks ultimately built asteroids, moons and planets.

It remains unclear whether the kind of chemistry seen in the solar system's rocks is typical of planetary systems overall. After all, scientists have yet to bring back rock samples from a neighboring planet such as Mars, much less an exoplanet circling a distant star.

Now, researchers may have found a way to probe the chemistry of distant planets by analyzing the remains of worlds that crashed into white dwarf stars.

More:
https://www.space.com/polluted-white-dwarfs-show-earthlike-planets.html?utm_source=notification

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