PerspectivePlanetary Science

Speed metal

Science  06 Jun 2014:
Vol. 344, Issue 6188, pp. 1086-1087
DOI: 10.1126/science.1254943

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Summary

As in many building booms, planets were put together pretty rapidly. Transforming nebular dust to fully formed planets took less than ~100 million years of the ~4.5 billion years of solar system history. Accurate determination of the rates of planetary growth is key for understanding these tumultuous beginnings of the solar system, but obtaining high-precision ages on short-lived events that happened so long ago is a formidable challenge. On page 1150 of this issue, Kruijer et al. (1) determine with remarkable accuracy that planetary core formation began less than 1 million years after the first solids condensed—extraordinarily fast on geological time scales.