The Solar System's Big Bang

The Solar System's Big Bang

Finding signs of a lost beginning

By Ron Cowen, 13:52 PM January 29, 2009

Gone. Vanished. Lost.

When it comes to the early history of the solar system, planetary scientists must contend with a case of nearly systemwide amnesia.

Although the solar system formed nearly 4.6 billion years ago, researchers have a pretty good record that goes back only 3.9 billion years. Yet those first 700 million years proved critical to all that followed. That’s when the planets coalesced and water and other compounds essential to life were delivered to the inner planets.


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