Excerpt from thespacereporter.com
Meteorites might not have had as much of an impact as early planet formation as we thought.The space rocks are commonly considered to be the building blocks of planets, but a new study by MIT and Purdue scientists suggests that the rocks are merely a byproduct of planet formation, not a crucial part in the process.
According to the study, meteorites are what was cast off when other proto-planetary bodies collided in the early days of the Solar System. The new theory, which was determined using computer simulations of collisions in the early Solar System, counteracts the theory that meteorites’ chondrules (small grains of molten droplets on their surface) are remnants of collisions with gas and dust that eventually formed planets.
“This tells us that meteorites aren’t actually representative of the material that formed planets – they’re these smaller fractions of material that are the byproduct of planet formation,” says Brandon Johnson of MIT’s Earth, Atmospheric and Planetary Sciences department. “But it also tells us the early solar system was more violent than we expected: You had these massive sprays of molten material getting ejected out from these really big impacts. It’s an extreme process.”
The collision models showed that bodies the size of the Moon formed well before meteorites would have formed chondrules, suggesting that the meteorites were not involved in building planets in the previously accepted manner.