The solar system is the mother galaxy of the earth, and also the home of human beings. The solar system was formed by the sun, first by the sun, and then by the planets and other celestial bodies. Scientists have always wanted to understand how planets formed. Although there have been many theoretical studies on this, we still need to find relevant evidence in space.
To understand how planets formed, it is necessary to look for the celestial bodies formed at the beginning of the formation of the solar system, that is, for the living fossils of the solar system. Such objects exist in the Kuiper belt at the edge of the solar system. Some people may not understand: why do such living fossil objects of the solar system exist only at the edge of the solar system, but not in the interior of the solar system?
In fact, this is related to the influence of the solar wind. If the celestial bodies exist near the sun, they will be greatly affected by the solar wind. The long-term solar wind irradiation has already caused great changes in the materials that make up the celestial bodies. Naturally, it is difficult to maintain the composition and appearance of the early solar system. Only the edge of the solar system, less affected by the solar wind, where the existence of celestial bodies may still maintain the shape of the solar system at the beginning of its formation.
In order to explore the objects in the Kuiper belt at the edge of the solar system, NASA launched the new horizons probe on January 19, 2006. Its main mission is to explore Pluto and its largest satellite, Charon (Phobos), as well as the small planetary clusters in the Kuiper belt.
After more than nine years of navigation, it finally reached the edge of the solar system, explored Pluto and its satellites, and then moved towards the Kuiper belt. Recently, new horizons successfully completed the flyby exploration of Kuiper belt object 2014 mu69, which is the first time that humans have seen the farthest object in the solar system. This 2014 mu69 object has a very surprising shape, it is like a gourd, composed of a large and a small two parts.
2014 mu69 is still the same as it was 4.5 billion years ago, which is equivalent to the beginning of the formation of the earth. By exploring and studying it, we can solve the problem of planet formation in the universe for mankind. As for the cause of planet formation, a mainstream theory is pebble accretion mechanism. Some scientists believe that all kinds of materials left behind after the formation of the sun and dust gather slowly.
Under the interaction of gravity, the matter here first forms various small bodies of different sizes, and then these small bodies come close to each other again to form the most primitive star, which is the most primitive planetary embryo. Later, the primordial embryo gathered other materials and celestial bodies through gravitational attraction, gradually grew larger and larger, and finally formed the planet we see now. The earth may also have formed in this way.
2014 mu69, a strange object composed of two parts, may have been formed by two small objects at the beginning of the formation of small objects in the early solar system. This situation is not an impact, but two objects about several hundred meters in size revolve at a slow speed, then keep approaching, and finally combine very gently. Therefore, the 2014 mu69 object is actually a primitive planetary embryo.
So why didn’t 2014 mu69, a protoplanetary embryo, form a planet? This may be related to the fact that there is not enough material around it. Through the exploration of new horizons, no large asteroid or satellite has been found around this celestial body, and its surroundings are empty. After the formation of the embryo of the planet, it was found that there was no material around it to absorb, so it was impossible for it to gradually track towards the planet, and finally keep its present appearance until now.
If we can land on this celestial body and sample, it is possible to uncover the mystery of the formation of planets in the solar system and the universe. Unfortunately, new horizons has not landed on this living fossil celestial body, and scientists need to send new probes to land and sample back in the future.
So, are objects like 2014 mu69 unique in the solar system? Of course not. The 67p comet explored by the Rosetta probe of ESA also has a similar structure, one large and one small. The two examples verify that the pebble accretion model may indeed be the cause of the formation of planets. In the future, humans will explore and discover more celestial bodies in the Kuiper belt, and believe that many strange celestial bodies with large and small components will be discovered.
If new horizons can go deep into the Kuiper belt in the future and find more structures similar to such living fossils, then the mystery of planet formation may be solved, which is a great progress for human beings to explore the universe. Only when we know more about the formation of planets can we know more about the earth itself.
We need to know that although human beings go out of the earth and begin to explore the universe, we still have a lot of unknowns about our own earth. We know very little about the structure of the earth and the situation inside the earth. Only by unraveling the mystery of planet formation, we may be able to reveal the real situation inside the earth.
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