Scientists observe the emergence of a new Earth

    A planet like ours is formed at a distance of about 424 light-years in a huge belt of warm dust. Photos of the planet taken with Spitzer, NASA's space telescope.

    Currently, in a system known as HD113766, dust particles come together to create stones, and when collided, these stones form even larger bodies, some of which are already reaching the size of our Moon.

    At the age of 10-16 million years, the solar system of this planet is still in its “teenage state”, but this is the most suitable age for formation, says lead researcher Cary Liss from the Johns Hopkins University Laboratory of Applied Physics.

    The huge ring of dust surrounding the two stars of this system resembles the middle of the “inhabited zone” where water could have appeared. Such types of dust belt rarely occur around stars like the sun, and the presence of an outer belt of ice makes it more likely the presence of water, and subsequently the emergence of life.

    The belt consists of rocky compounds similar to those that form the earth's crust, and metal sulfides are very similar in composition to the material found in the earth's core.

    It may take 100 million years before the planet is fully formed. It will also take about a billion years before the first signs of life, such as algae, appear there. The evolution of complex organisms is likely to take another couple of billion years, but only if a new planet follows the path of evolution of the Earth, Liss said.

    Liss's discovery will be presented next week at the Planetary Sciences Division of the American Astronomical Society.

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