Jupiter may have absorbed a planet 10 times the size of Earth billions of years ago
  • WORLD

  • 05:57 17 August 2019

Jupiter may have absorbed a planet 10 times the size of Earth billions of years ago

Scientists ran several models and concluded that planetary collisions were likely a common event during the Solar System’s early days, APA rpeorts quoting sputniknews.

The gas giant planet Jupiter could have collided with a “proto-planet” approximately 10 times as big as Earth and swallowed it whole during the early days of the Solar System, a group of researchers say.

A joint group of scientists from China, Switzerland, Japan and the US created a model that seeks to explain the discrepancies in Jupiter’s structure discovered by NASA’s Juno spacecraft. According to gravitational readings, the planet’s core is less dense and more extended than expected. 

"This is puzzling," said Andrea Isella, a co-author of the study. "It suggests that something happened that stirred up the core, and that's where the giant impact comes into play."

Published in Nature magazine, the new model suggests that the strange core structure may be a result of an impact with a huge rocky or icy “planetary embryo” in the first few million years of Jupiter’s formation.

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