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A collision with another planet that helped form the moon can also mean the beginning of life on Earth.
USA TODAY

One study suggests that a collision between Earth and another planet that helped form the moon could also have delivered key components to create life.

Researchers at Rice University believe the Earth collided with another planet about the size of Mars more than 4,400 million years ago.

The collision not only helped to form our moon, but the planet that crashed into the Earth left elements such as carbon and nitrogen, called volatiles, needed to form a new life.

In a statement, Rajdeep Dasgupta, a petrologist at Rice University and co-author of the study, said that while scientists have known that volatiles did not originate from rocky planets like Earth, how and when these elements arrived, "it has been much debated. "

"Ours is the first scenario that can explain the timing and delivery in a way that is consistent with all geochemical tests," Dasgupta said.

The study was published on Wednesday in the scientific journal Science Advances.

According to the researchers, a long-standing theory about how Earth gained these life-creating elements was through meteorites that arrived just after the nucleus was formed. However, scientists say that the carbon to nitrogen ratios are higher on Earth compared to meteorites.

Because there are elements of evidence such as carbon and nitrogen everywhere except the core of the Earth, the researchers conducted a series of experiments that simulated the creation of a planetary core to learn under what circumstances these elements could be absorbed.

Then they took the results of those experiments and made approximately one billion computer simulations. The researchers compared them to the conditions in the solar system to determine how these elements appear in all non-central material on Earth, which scientists call silicate earth en mbade.

"What we found is that all the evidence (isotopic signatures, the carbon-nitrogen ratio and the overall amounts of carbon, nitrogen and sulfur in the bulk silicate of the Earth) are consistent with a moon-forming impact involving Mars. "Large planet with a sulfur-rich core," Grewal said in a statement.

Follow Brett Molina on Twitter: @ brettmolina23.

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