The Earth is considered to be a unique planet in the Solar System, because it has a large supply of liquid water and a large satellite that stabilizes the axis of our world. These two factors are necessary for the emergence and evolution of living organisms. But how did our planet get water? Researchers believe that it is necessary to thank the disaster.
New research indicates that water arrived in our world 4.4 billion years ago, when the moon appeared. If you heard about this theory, you know that in the past, a Martian-sized object named Theia crashed into the Earth, creating our satellite. For a long time, scientists believed that Theia was always in the internal system. However, it is now believed that the celestial body arrived from the outer solar system, delivering remarkable water supplies.
It is important to understand that our planet appeared in the “dry” part of the star system, so researchers are surprised that there are so many water reserves on Earth. To understand the situation, one should wind up the time 4.5 billion years ago and look at the formation of the entire solar system.
The structure of our system is based on the fact that the “dry” materials were separated from the “wet” ones. Carbon meteorites (enriched with water) were located in the external system, and non-carbon (dry) were located closer to the Sun. A recent analysis of molybdenum isotopes (which make it possible to clearly distinguish carbon and non-carbon materials) showed that part of terrestrial molybdenum originated from the outer solar system. It is important to understand that most of the molybdenum is in the core and appeared in the earlier phases of the formation of the planet. A molybdenum in the mantle was formed in the later stages of the planet. The findings suggest that the carbonaceous material from the external system arrived on Earth later.
But scientists continued research using computer simulations. Thus, it was possible to show that most of the molybdenum of the earth's mantle came from the protoplanet Theia, which collided with the Earth 4.4 billion years ago and created the Moon. Hence the second conclusion: Theia came from the outer, not the inner solar system.
The collision led to the emergence of the necessary amount of carbonaceous material, which explains the presence of the entire water supply of the Earth. This is a unique study, as it proves that the creation of the moon caused the emergence of water and life on the planet. So far this is just one of the theories to be tested. But it seems very promising and fits into existing models.