Scientists at the University of Cambridge have created a world model that describes how most water in planets may be locked far below the surface. During a planet’s formation, heat and pressure are exerted upon it as planetesimals congregate. The infant world may also be bombarded by radiation that can steam away surface water. Technically, most water may become trapped in minerals far beneath the surface. If conditions are correct, planets around these stars could claim the equivalent of several Earth-sized oceans. M-type red dwarfs are the most common stars in the Milky Way, making them useful to study variables of planetary formation. Temperamental stars often make seas evaporate, and on many worlds, the water migrates underground. The study shows that larger planets, approximately two to three times larger than Earth have drier rocky mantles, as the water-rich upper mantle makes up a smaller proportion of the planet’s total mass.
This new model helps planetary science understand the environment not only of Earth’s birth but the water-rich clusters that amass to form planets. The formation environment of larger rocky planets surrounding M-type red dwarfs is targeted. During their storm adolescence, niche world conditions are essential for climate change which sends liquid water deep underground. Once their fiery stars settle down, the water could emerge to the surface in various ways.
The research also suggests why early Venus may have transitioned from a barren landscape to a world with water. Being a hotly debated topic, scientists are still perplexed as to how Venus initially contained water. In the model created by Cambridge researchers, Venus may have had liquid pools and oceans four billion years ago, and it is possible that the interior water of Venus cooled it.
Lastly, the Cambridge research provides new guidelines for potentially habitable planets found in the Milky Way, which may be significant for future research. The factors given in the study explain what is kept within a planet, specifically between the mantle and the surface water. Research in the future may reveal more about the habitability and climates of rocky planets and surface water-rich worlds by comparing and contrasting with this new model.