Early Solar System, artwork

Early Solar System, artwork

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Credit: RICHARD BIZLEY/SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY

Caption: Early Solar System. Artwork of numerous small rocky bodies (planetessimals) forming in the protoplanetary disc of the early Solar System.The planetessimals were formed by the collision and electrostatic accretion of smaller particles. Later, the accretion process became gravitational, with smaller bodies attracted to and impacting on larger bodies. Ultimately, protoplanets and then planets were formed. In the inner Solar System, this is the process by which the Earth, Mars, Mercury and Venus formed around 4.6 billion years ago.

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