Baby planets might do something stealthy with their water to protect it from recalcitrant stars

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(ORDO NEWS) — Making rocky planets is a dirty, dangerous, and hot business. Planetesimals fuse together, which creates heat and pressure on the newborn world.

A nearby teenage star is bombarding them with intense radiation. This will most likely “bake” any surface oceans, lakes, or rivers, which is a disaster if you’re looking for places where life could originate or exist.

This is because life needs water and the planets around them. stars are among the most likely places for life. But it doesn’t look too encouraging if the radiation evaporates the water.

Scientists at the University of Cambridge in the UK have created a complex model that describes a world where most of the water is deep underwater. on the surface, not in pools or oceans, but in rocks.

Technically, it’s trapped in minerals deep below the surface. If conditions are right on the worlds around these most common stars in the galaxy, they could have as much water as several of Earth‘s oceans.

Claire Gimond, a Cambridge PhD student, along with two other researchers, came up with a model describing newborns around M-type worlds orbiting red dwarfs.

“We wanted to find out if these planets, after such a stormy upbringing, can be rehabilitated and come to the surface of the host. water,” she said.

Her team’s work shows that these planets could be a very good way to replace the liquid surface water expelled early in the host star’s life.

“The model gives us an upper limit on how much water a planet can carry at depth, based on these minerals and their ability to absorb water into their structure.”

Capturing water in an emerging world

M-type red dwarfs are the most common stars in the galaxy. This makes them good subjects for studying planetary formation variables. They form in the same way as other stars.

After infancy, they are also prone to outbursts and temperament like other stars. However, their colic persists much longer than other stars. This does not bode well for the surfaces of any planets (or protoplanets) nearby.

If the water does not evaporate, the water will migrate underground. But will this happen to every rocky planet? What is the size of the world needed for this?

The team found that the size of a planet and the amount of water-bearing minerals determine how much water it can “hide”.

Most ends. in the upper mantle. This rocky layer lies directly below the earth’s crust. It is usually rich in so-called “anhydrous minerals”.

Volcanoes feed on this layer, and their eruptions can eventually release steam and fumes to the surface during eruptions.

A new study has shown that larger planets – about two to three times the size of Earth – typically have drier, rocky mantles. This is because the water-rich upper mantle makes up a smaller part of its total mass.

Hidden water and planetary science

This new model is helping planetary scientists understand more than just conditions on Earth. birth, but water-rich objects that coalesce to form planets.

However, it is actually more aimed at the formation environment of larger rocky planets around M-type red dwarfs.

Thanks to the turbulent adolescence of their stars, these worlds have likely been in chaotic climates for a long time.

They could work to send liquid water deep underground. Once their stars settle down, water can appear in a variety of ways.

The model could also explain how early Venus could have changed from a barren hellish landscape to a watery world. The question of water on Venus, of course, is still hotly debated.

However, if it had liquid pools and oceans four billion years ago, how did they come about?

“If this happened, Venus must have found a way to cool and regenerate surface water after being born around a fiery Sun,” said Gimmond’s research partner Oliver Shorttle.

“It’s possible that she used internal water in order to do this.”

Implications for the search for exoplanets

Finally, the current study may provide new guidance in the search for habitable exoplanets in the rest of the galaxy. “This could help us refine which planets should be studied first,” Shorttle said.

“When we’re looking for planets that can hold water the best, you probably don’t want a planet that’s significantly more massive or wild. smaller than the earth.

Factors in Guimon’s model also influence the formation and mineralogy of rocky planets. In particular, it can explain what is stored inside the planet, especially between the surface and the mantle.

Future research is likely to look at the habitability and climate of both rocky and water-rich surface planets.


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