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By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

9/25/2013 (6 months ago)

Catholic Online (www.catholic.org)

Favorite heavenly body was actually born a few hundred million years later

The world's favorite heavenly body - discounting favorite female move stars, that is - the moon, has been used to inspire songs and poetry of love and romance. It now turns out that the moon is actually younger than was previously believed - by a few hundred million years.

Previous simulations of the process suggest that about 80 percent of moon ought to have come from the impact and 20 percent from the Earth.

Previous simulations of the process suggest that about 80 percent of moon ought to have come from the impact and 20 percent from the Earth.

Article Highlights

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

Catholic Online (www.catholic.org)

9/25/2013 (6 months ago)

Published in Technology

Keywords: Moon, halving, phenomenology, collision


LOS ANGELES, CA (Catholic Online) - The moon, scientists say is around 4.4 and 4.45 billion years old, rather than the 4.56 billion years previously believed.

The nearest body to the Earth, astronomers are still unaware of how the moon came into being or was formed. One theory suggests the moon formed when a planet, around the size of Mars, collided with Earth around 4.56 billion years ago, dividing Earth into two unequal parts. The smaller of these parts condensed into what the moon is today.

Previous simulations of the process suggest that about 80 percent of moon ought to have come from the impact and 20 percent from the Earth.

Scientists have long studied the moon's crustal rocks to try and estimate its age. With technological advances, the most precisely determined age for the lunar rocks was gauged at 4.360 billion years, the researchers said.

Scientists have since found signs of a major melting event that occurred around 4.45 billion years ago, drawing the conclusion that the catastrophic collision that formed the moon occurred around 100 million years or so before.

"There are several important implications of this late moon formation that have not yet been worked out," Richard Carlson, of the Carnegie Institution for Science in Washington says.

"For example, if the Earth was already differentiated prior to the giant impact, would the impact have blown off the primordial atmosphere that formed from this earlier epoch of Earth history?"

The new controversial theory posits that a giant explosion equivalent to 40 billion atomic bombs originating from the Earth's core somehow led to the formation of the moon.

Planetary scientist Wim van Westrenen believes this violent event took place approximately four-and-a-half billion years ago and could answer the hotly contested question of where our moon comes from. Hailing from V.U. University in Amsterdam, van Westrenen says that previous explanations about how the moon came to be simply do not add up.

Chemical analysis of the rocks last year by the University of Chicago found that they shared identical oxygen, silicon and potassium isotopes with Earth, hinting that the Moon shares its origin with the Earth.

Taken as is, Van Westeren says the findings suggest that the moon was once part of the Earth that was blasted into space by an enormous explosion from the Earth's fiery core.

There must have been a "massive energy kick" delivered quickly and he calculates that the explosion was the strength of 40 billion atomic bombs the size of those dropped on Hiroshima.

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