Violent eruptions from our sun with the force of a thousand trillion exploding atomic bombs created our planet as we know it today, a new study has claimed.

Scientists are claiming that the event, which took place four billion years ago when our solar system’s star only shone with 70% of its current brightness, saw the sun spewing enormous superflares.

Because the sun was at a reduced level of brightness at the time, Earth was an icy rock.

And a new study is now claiming that particles from the superflares were therefore able to seep into earth’s nitrogen-rich atmosphere.

This is said to have changed the chemical conditions on our planet and enabling the building blocks for life.

The solar particles managed to split up the nitrogen molecules into atoms, while carbon dioxide in the atmosphere was split into oxygen and carbon atoms.

This allowed free-roaming oxygen to pair with nitrogen and create nitrous oxide – a greenhouse gas which is 300 times more powerful than carbon dioxide when it comes to warming the atmosphere.

As a result, Earth was able to brew and incubate life.

The findings were published in the latest edition of Nature Geoscience by a team of scientists from the Goddard Space Flight Centre at NASA.

Vladimir Airapetian, a solar scientist at NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center in Greenbelt, Maryland, said: “Back then Earth received only about 70 percent of the energy from the sun than it does today.

“That means Earth should have been an icy ball. Instead, geological evidence says it was a warm globe with liquid water. We call this the Faint Young Sun Paradox.

“Our new research shows that solar storms could have been central to warming Earth.”

Scientists from NASA came to the conclusion by searching for similar stars in our galaxy, the Milky Way.

They placed these sun-like stars in order according to their age and, from analysing data, found the sun was fainter four billion years ago.

NASA’s Kepler mission found stars resembling a young sun were producing ten enormous explosions known as superflares everyday.

Earth now experiences these sorts of eruptions once every 100 years.

The influx of solar particles may also have provided the energy to create the complex molecules such as RNA and DNA which eventually seeded life.

Mr Airapetian added: “As the particles from the space weather travelled down the magnetic field lines, they would have slammed into abundant nitrogen molecules in the atmosphere.

“Changing the atmosphere’s chemistry turns out to have made all the difference for life on Earth.”

The work is part of the Kepler mission, which centres around a space observatory launched in 2009 that surveys the Milky Way for Earth-size and smaller planets in or near the habitable zone.

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William Danchi, principal investigator of the project at Goddard, added: “We want to gather all this information together, how close a planet is to the star, how energetic the star is, how strong the planet’s magnetosphere is in order to help search for habitable planets around stars near our own and throughout the galaxy.

Source: The sun ‘lashed out with the power of a thousand trillion exploding atomic bombs’ to create our Earth – Mirror Online

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