How did Mars form? Watch the story in 5 steps

Mars is one of the most fascinating planets in the solar system. One of the most frequent destinations of space missions, several nations have already sent probes and rovers to study Mars in detail.

From the reddish hue that earned it the nickname “Red Planet” to the majestic mountains that adorn its surface, Mars offers a visual spectacle that stimulates human curiosity.

Martian exploration continues to fascinate the human imagination. And following this climate, how about exploring the history of the formation of this planet in 5 stages?

The formation of the Red Planet dates back to the early days of the Solar System, approximately 4.6 billion years ago. The most accepted theory to explain the formation of the solar system is the solar nebula hypothesis, proposed by Pierre-Simon Laplace in the 18th century and subsequently refined by other scientists.

Complementary to this hypothesis is the accretion theory, widely accepted by scientists in explaining the formation of Mars and other planets in the solar system.

Accretion refers to the process of gradual accumulation of matter on a celestial object, such as a star, planet, or protoplanetary disk. This process is driven primarily by gravity, which pulls particles of gas, dust, or other materials toward the growing object.

Both theories describe different aspects of the same planetary formation process. Therefore, the formation of Mars can be summarized as follows:

Initially, there was a large, diffuse cloud of gas and dust called a solar nebula. It was a vast region of dispersed material, slightly spherical in shape and composed mainly of hydrogen, helium and other heavy elements.

The nebula began to contract due to the influence of the gravitational force between the different particles that made it up. This leads to a gradual concentration of mass in specific regions.

When this nebula began to contract under the influence of gravity, the conservation of angular momentum caused it to slowly begin to rotate.

This rotational motion led to the formation of a flattened disk, known as a protoplanetary disk, around a denser central point, which would eventually become the proto-Sun.

To conserve angular momentum, the disk began to flatten and rotate more rapidly as the contraction continued.

Dust particles in the disk began to clump together due to gravitational forces. These clumps grew over time to form planetesimals, rocky bodies of various sizes.

Protoplanets are even larger bodies that form from the accretion of planetesimals. As planetesimals continue to collide and merge, they combine to form protoplanets.

Accretion in this phase is responsible for the growth of protoplanets, which begin to attract material more efficiently due to their greater mass and gravity.

This process continues until the protoplanets reach masses that allow, if present, significant atmospheric retention and emptying of their orbits into the protoplanetary disk.

Over time, protoplanets underwent differentiation processes, in which denser materials accumulated in the core, while lighter materials formed the crust. Eventually, Mars evolved into the planet we observe today.

The post How was Mars formed? Watch the 5-step story first appeared on Olhar Digital.

Source: Olhar Digital

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