Tuesday, February 24, 2015

Terrestrial Planet Formation

Earth and Terrestrial Planet Formation


Jacobson et al


The growth and composition of Earth is a direct consequence of planet formation throughout the Solar System. We discuss the known history of the Solar System, the proposed stages of growth and how the early stages of planet formation may be dominated by pebble growth processes. Pebbles are small bodies whose strong interactions with the nebula gas lead to remarkable new accretion mechanisms for the formation of planetesimals and the growth of planetary embryos.

Many of the popular models for the later stages of planet formation are presented. The classical models with the giant planets on fixed orbits are not consistent with the known history of the Solar System, fail to create a high Earth/Mars mass ratio, and, in many cases, are also internally inconsistent. The successful Grand Tack model creates a small Mars, a wet Earth, a realistic asteroid belt and the mass-orbit structure of the terrestrial planets.

In the Grand Tack scenario, growth curves for Earth most closely match a Weibull model. The feeding zones, which determine the compositions of Earth and Venus follow a particular pattern determined by Jupiter, while the feeding zones of Mars and Theia, the last giant impactor on Earth, appear to randomly sample the terrestrial disk. The late accreted mass samples the disk nearly evenly.

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