Planets can protect their water until their star settles down, planetologists say
(ORDO NEWS) — Scientists at the University of Cambridge in the UK have created a complex model that describes a world in which most of the water is deep below the surface, not in pools or oceans, but in rocks.
Technically, it’s in the minerals deep below the surface. If conditions are right on the worlds around these most common stars in the galaxy, they could have enough water to equal several Earth‘s oceans.
Cambridge PhD student Claire Gaymond and other researchers have developed a model that describes newborns around M-type worlds orbiting red dwarfs. stars.
“We wanted to explore whether these planets, after such a turbulent upbringing, could rehabilitate themselves and continue to take in surface water,” she said.
Her team’s work shows that these planets could replace the liquid surface water ejected 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.”
M-type red dwarfs are the most common stars in the galaxy. This makes them suitable for studying planet formation variables. They form in the same way as other stars.
After they are past infancy, they also tend to be short-tempered and temperamental just like other stars. However, they have colic much longer than other stars.
This does not bode well for the surfaces of any nearby planets. If the surface does not burn, then water migrates underground. But will this happen to every rocky planet? What size world is needed for this?
The team of researchers found that the size of a planet and the amount of water-bearing minerals determine how much water it can “hide”. Most of it ends up in the upper mantle.
This rocky layer lies directly under the crust. Usually the mantle is rich in so-called “anhydrous minerals”.
Volcanoes are fed from this layer and their eruptions can eventually bring water vapor back to the surface through eruptions.
A new study has found that larger planets, which are 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 fraction of its total mass.
The new model helps planetary scientists understand not only the conditions for the birth of the Earth, but also the water-rich objects that accumulate to form planets.
However, this is actually more aimed at the formation environment of larger rocky planets around M-type red dwarfs.
Due to the active youth of their star, these planets have likely experienced chaotic climatic conditions for a long time.
It 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 gone from a barren hellish landscape to a watery world.
Of course, the question of water on Venus is still hotly debated. However, if four billion years ago it had pools of liquid and oceans, how did they come about?
“If this happened, Venus must have found a way to cool down and regenerate surface water after being born around a fiery Sun,” said researcher Oliver Shorttle.
“It is possible that she used internal water for this.”
Finally, ongoing research may provide new guidance in the search for habitable exoplanets.
“When we’re looking for planets that can hold water best, you probably don’t want a planet significantly more massive or significantly smaller than Earth,” Shorttle said.
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