Monday, June 06, 2011

Jupiter to Blame for Mars Being so Small?

It would appear that Jupiter may be to blame for the planet Mars being so low in mass, when in truth it should be somewhere between Venus and Earth in mass. Also the gas giant is most likely responsible for the unusual makeup of the asteroid belt.

Now first is the fact that we have found an inordinate amount of systems that have gas giants very close in to their primary. Instead of it being an aberration, this makeup would appear to be more normal than not.

A research team from Southwest Research Institute ran a series of simulations that demonstrated the effects of Jupiter moving in towards the Sun during the early days of the solar system.

If, shortly after Jupiter formed, was drawn in towards the sun only to reverse the inward spiral at about 1.5 times the distance of Earth's orbit by the formation of Saturn, then most of the planet building material would have been swept up except what existed inside of Earth's orbit. Limiting what was available for Mars.

The question that isn't answered so far is, does this model also explain the asteroid belt?

Dr. Kevin Walsh, leader of the Southwest Research Institute team said: (from the IO9 article)
  • "...we started to do a huge number of simulations. The result was fantastic. Our simulations not only showed that the migration of Jupiter was consistent with the existence of the asteroid belt, but also explained properties of the belt never understood before."
The team's conclusions are that not only does their roving Jupiter model explain the lack of mass in Mars but also the existence and weird makeup and distribution of elements. link
, IO9 complete article


John said...

Such is the future and our past perhaps??? A giant simulation... O well, at least the steak tastes like steak and Wheaties tastes like... Well, everything else... (Chicken). ;)

Beam Me Up said...

Ok, that is the new Inception test...when everything starts tasting like chicken you are in a simulation!