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Contact: Maria Martinez
Southwest Research Institute

Evolution of the Solar System

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Caption: The animation simulates the first 1.2 billion years of solar system history. The orbits of the 4 giant planets are shown as color ellipses. The green dots show small comet-like objects. A small fraction of these objects become trapped in the asteroid belt when the orbits of the planets become unstable. In the simulation shown, this instability occurs at 880 million years.

Credit: Southwest Research Institute

Usage Restrictions: This animation may be used by the public and the media for educational and informational purposes only.

Related news release: Primitive asteroids in the main asteroid belt may have formed far from the sun

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