Amazingly, it would appear all of us are a little bit alien, with the ingredients which make up life on Earth originating from another planet entirely.
We Earthlings are apparently here on account of another planet crashing into Earth billions of years ago, potentially containing the parts of us which find parallel parking to be a Herculean task.
As reported by a new scientific paper, this fortuitous collision happened 4.4 billion years ago; a colossal smash to which we owe our every thought, joy and atom.
This ‘giant impact hypothesis’ asserts that our moon was niftily created from debris left behind after the Earth collided with a planet the size of Mars. And you thought you were being handy using left over roast chicken to use as stock.
As reported in the paper published in the journal Science Advances, the planet which smacked into ‘us’ – referred to in the paper as a ‘donor planet’ – is understood to have been an embryonic planet which contained a sulphur-rich core.
According to this new theory, posed by researchers from Texas’ Rice University, this ultimate clash of the titans brought about the majority of the volatile elements vital for life on Earth.
Drawing from laboratory experiments and computer simulations, researchers have suggested debris from the obliterated planet deposited the precious elements on Earth, including much of the nitrogen and carbon which can be found in living things. What are the odds?
According to The Independent, Dr Rajdeep Dasgupta, study co-author and lead scientist at Rice University has made the following statement on the earth shattering find:
From the study of primitive meteorites, scientists have long known that Earth and other rocky planets in the inner solar system are volatile-depleted.
But the timing and mechanism of volatile delivery has been hotly debated. Ours is the first scenario that can explain the timing and delivery in a way that is consistent with all the geochemical evidence.
Fascinatingly, Dr Dasgupta has explained how this find could now allow scientists to gain a greater understanding regarding how life is formed on other rocky planets aside from Earth:
This study suggests that a rocky, Earth-like planet gets more chances to acquire life-essential elements if it forms and grows from giant impacts with planets that have sampled different building blocks, perhaps from different parts of a protoplanetary disk.
This removes some boundary conditions. It shows that life-essential volatiles can arrive at the surface layers of a planet, even if they were produced on planetary bodies that underwent core formation under very different conditions.
Of course, this new theory certainly explains the sparkling mass of otherworldly wonder that was the late David Bowie, who would have no doubt been enthralled at the thought of having an alien legacy.
Just goes to show how nationality really doesn’t matter all that much in the long run. We’re all just mysterious concoctions of space matter brewed up on another planet entirely.
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Jules studied English Literature with Creative Writing at Lancaster University before earning her masters in International Relations at Leiden University in The Netherlands (Hoi!). She then trained as a journalist through News Associates in Manchester. Jules has previously worked as a mental health blogger, copywriter and freelancer for various publications.