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Rare Metals on Mars and Earth Implicate Colossal Impacts

Planets continue to accrete material well after they have formed. This process is known as late accretion, and it occurs as leftover fragments of planet formation rain down on the young planets. Planetary scientist Ramon Brasser of the Tokyo Institute of Technology and geologist Stephen Mojzsis of the University of Colorado, Boulder took a closer look at a colossal impact during Mars’ late accretion that could explain the unusual amount of rare metallic elements in Mars’ mantle, which is the layer below the planet’s crust. Their recently published paper, “A colossal impact enriched Mars’ mantle with noble metals,” [https://doi.org/10.1002/2017GL074002] appeared in the journal Geophysical Research Letters.

 

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