How the moon was formed

It would make sense that a large portion of the material that makes up the Moon would have come from Theia, but chemical analyses on samples brought back by the Apollo missions in the s indicated that Earth and lunar rocks were nearly identical.

Mastrobuono-Battisti, Perets and their colleague Sean Raymond, of the University of Bordeaux in France, detailed their findings in the April 9 issue of the journal Nature. The research in these two studies was also detailed in the April 9 issue of the journal Nature.

Giant-impact hypothesis

For this scenario to be viable, however, the proto-lunar disk would have to endure for about years. It suggests the moon resulted from the collision of two protoplanets, or embryonic worlds.

InIsraeli researchers proposed that a rain of small debris fell on Earth to create the moon. He reasoned the Moon must have broken away from our planet, when the Earth was still a rapidly rotating ball of molten rock.

More pointedly, the Apollo 14 zircon grains presumably crystallized from the deep lunar magma ocean LMO that existed right after the Moon came together.

However, they also found that 20 to 40 percent of the time, the composition of one planet was very similar to the makeup of the last protoplanet that had collided with it.

The shared metal vapor bridge would have allowed material from the Earth and proto-Moon to exchange and equilibrate into a more common composition.

Lower density minerals would have floated to the top, forming a crust. The capture theory would explain the differences in the composition of Earth and its moon.

When and How Did the Moon Form?

They also show that most of the Moon came from the impactor planet and not from Earth. They proposed that one of these objects may have collided with the Earth, ejecting refractory, volatile-poor dust that could coalesce to form the Moon.

But rock samples from the Apollo missions suggest otherwise. According to research on the subject that is based on new simulations at the University of Bern by physicist Andreas Reufer and his colleagues, Theia collided directly with Earth instead of barely swiping it. Such objects may have stayed within the Earth—Moon system for as long as million years, until the gravitational tugs of other planets destabilized the system enough to free the objects.

Basic model[ edit ] Simplistic representation of the giant-impact hypothesis. However, such orbiters are often oddly shaped, rather than being spherical bodies like the moon. One can imagine that the giant impactor and proto-Earth had nearly identical compositions — but statistically and intuitively that seems unlikely.

This designation was proposed initially by the English geochemist Alex N.

How Was the Moon Formed?

A moon that formed around Venus by this process would have been unlikely to escape. Thus, protoplanets that share similar birthplaces can also share a similar composition. However, although Earth and the moon share much of the same material, the moon is much less dense than our planet, which would likely not be the case if both started with the same heavy elements at their core.

The impact is said to have created a cloud that reached roughly 13, miles or 22, kilometers high, where it condensed into solid particles that orbited the Earth.

The impact theory explained many of the challenges about the formation of the Moon.

How Was the Moon Formed?

However, a significant portion of the mantle material from both Theia and the Earth would have been ejected into orbit around the Earth if ejected with velocities between orbital velocity and escape velocity or into individual orbits around the sun if ejected at higher velocities.

They have been radiometrically dated to having formed 4. Under the capture theory, a rocky body formed elsewhere in the solar system could have been drawn into orbit around Earth.

This collision could potentially explain the unique geological and geochemical properties of the Moon.

How the Moon Formed: Violent Cosmic Crash Theory Gets Double Boost

Although only a few multi-ring basins have been definitively dated, they are useful for assigning relative ages. Several years ago a different research group had analyzed these same grains, and it also came up with an early formation age.

How Did the Moon Form?

Distinct, terrestrial geochemical reservoirs may therefore have survived Moon formation. An astronomical unit is the average distance between the sun and Earth, which is about 93 million miles, or million kilometers.The formation of the moon has long remained a mystery, but new studies support the theory that the moon was formed from debris left from a collision between the newborn Earth and a Mars-size rock.

After the sun spun to light, the planets of the solar system began to form. But it took another hundred million years for Earth's moon to spring into existence. There are three theories as to how. Download Formation of the Moon in wmv format.

Animated visual spanning the millions of years when the moon was a mere dustcloud and formed into the sphere we know today.

The moon was formed ~ billion years ago, about 30–50 million years after the origin of the Solar System, out of debris thrown into orbit by a massive collision between a smaller proto-Earth and another planetoid, about the size of Mars.

The Moon's different chemical composition could be explained if it formed elsewhere in the solar system, however, capture into the Moon's present orbit is very improbable. Something would have to slow it down by just the right amount at just the right time, and scientists are reluctant to believe in such "fine tuning".

A theory that the moon formed from debris left over from a violent collision between the Earth and a Mars-size object has received a double boost in the form of two new studies.

See what they say.

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How the moon was formed
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