Review

The Early Evolution of the Inner Solar System: A Meteoritic Perspective

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Science  06 Jul 2001:
Vol. 293, Issue 5527, pp. 64-68
DOI: 10.1126/science.1052872

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Abstract

Formation of the solar system may have been triggered by a stellar wind. From then on, the solar system would have followed a conventional evolutionary path, including the formation of a disk and bipolar jets. The now extinct short-lived radionuclides beryllium-10 and, possibly, manganese-53 that were present in meteorites probably resulted from energetic particle irradiation within the solar system. Calcium-aluminum–rich inclusions (the oldest known solar system solids) and chondrules could have been produced by the bipolar jets, but it is more likely that they formed during localized events in the asteroid belt. The chondritic meteorites formed within the temperature range (100 to 400 kelvin) inferred for the midplane of classical T Tauri disks at 2 to 3 astronomical units from their central stars. However, these meteorites may retain a chemical memory of earlier times when midplane temperatures were much higher. Dissipation of the solar nebula occurred within a few million years of solar system formation, whereas differentiation of asteroidal-sized bodies occurred within 5 to 15 million years. The terrestrial planets took ∼100 million years to form. Consequently, they would have accreted already differentiated bodies, and their final assembly was not completed until after the solar nebula had dispersed. This implies that water-bearing asteroids and/or icy planetesimals that formed near Jupiter are the likely sources of Earth's water.

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