Jun 18, 2024

Scientists Uncover First Building Block in Super-Earth Formation

Posted by in categories: particle physics, space

A new study reveals that magnesium oxide, a key mineral in planet formation, might be the first to solidify in developing “super-Earth” exoplanets, with its behavior under extreme conditions significantly influencing planetary development.

Scientists have for the first time observed how atoms in magnesium oxide morph and melt under ultra-harsh conditions, providing new insights into this key mineral within Earth’s mantle that is known to influence planet formation.

High-energy laser experiments—which subjected tiny crystals of the mineral to the type of heat and pressure found deep inside a rocky planet’s mantle—suggest the compound could be the earliest mineral to solidify out of magma oceans in forming “super-Earth” exoplanets.

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