New evidence supports earth/exoplanet similarity.

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New evidence supports earth/exoplanet similarity.

#1  Postby Keep It Real » Oct 17, 2019 10:13 pm


Oxygen fugacity is a measure of rock oxidation that influences planetary structure and evolution. Most rocky bodies in the Solar System formed at oxygen fugacities approximately five orders of magnitude higher than a hydrogen-rich gas of solar composition. It is unclear whether this oxidation of rocks in the Solar System is typical among other planetary systems. We exploit the elemental abundances observed in six white dwarfs polluted by the accretion of rocky bodies to determine the fraction of oxidized iron in those extrasolar rocky bodies and therefore their oxygen fugacities. The results are consistent with the oxygen fugacities of Earth, Mars, and typical asteroids in the Solar System, suggesting that at least some rocky exoplanets are geophysically and geochemically similar to Earth.

Co-author Edward Young, a professor of geochemistry and cosmochemistry at UCLA, added that the study represents “the first time such an advanced way of looking at the geochemistry of these bodies has been used,” in the same call.

We are living through a golden age of exoplanet discoveries. Thousands of exoplanets have been detected, including an Earth-sized world orbiting the closest star to the Sun. But it is still extremely difficult to capture details about the interior composition and dynamics of these worlds. Unlike other planetary properties such as mass or atmospheric composition, a planet’s geochemistry cannot be deduced just by looking at an object passing in front of its host star.
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