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Earth ate a Mercury-like body early in its history, study finds
Earth ate a Mercury-like body early in its history, study finds

A Mercury-like body smashed into a young Earth and gave our planet’s core the radioactive elements necessary to generate a magnetic field, a pair of Oxford geochemists say. Without that magnetic field, there would be no shield to protect us from the onslaught of radiation constantly bombarding Earth from space, making the existence of life as we know it impossible, scientists say. The study, published in the journal Nature, offers insight into how Earth’s magnetic field – and, perhaps, the moon – came to be. Our planet is thought to have formed from small rocky bodies like the ones in the asteroid belt today, study coauthor Bernard Wood, a geochemist at the...

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