According to researchers at Rice University in Houston, USA, life on Earth was caused by the collision of the planet with another large celestial body, which led to the formation of the Moon.
The results of the study were published by the professional portal “EurekAlert!
Most of the vital elements present on Earth, including the greater part of carbon and nitrogen, may come from another planet, the scientists suspect.
They had carried out experiments to simulate the extreme conditions under which the geochemical reactions that led to the formation of the chemical composition of the planet’s crust and mantle took place. The hypothesis that the sulfur-rich nucleus of a foreign planet pushed the carbon and nitrogen into the outer layers was confirmed since a high concentration of sulfur in the melt reduces the solubility of various volatile compounds. Consequently, the proportion of carbon and nitrogen in the crust of the foreign planet was greater than in the Earth’s crust.
According to the results of a computer modeling, which took into account about one billion different scenarios, the current ratio of carbon and nitrogen as well as the isotope content, but also the total amount of nitrogen and carbon and sulfur on earth are as in the catastrophic scenario of the formation of the moon.
According to this scenario, 4.4 billion years ago, the Earth collided with a planet the size of Mars, which had a sulfur-rich core. If this had not been the case, the accessible chemical substances necessary for the existence of the biosphere would simply not have been sufficient, according to the researchers.