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Space & Astronomy

Moon is younger than previously thought

September 24, 2013 | Comment icon 17 comments



The moon is thought to be around 4.56 billion years old. Image Credit: NASA/JPL/USGS
New research suggests that the moon could be up to 100 million years younger than previous estimates.
The prevailing theory of how the moon was formed is that in the early days of the solar system, a large planetary body the size of Mars collided with the Earth, spewing a huge quantity of rock and debris in to orbit. As this material settled it would have eventually coalesced and formed the moon.

The event is believed to have occurred up to 4.56 billion years ago, but new research conducted by scientists at the Carnegie Institution for Science in Washington, D.C. has suggested that this figure may not be accurate.
Taking advantage of improvements in geochemical analysis technologies, researchers have been able to narrow down the exact age of the moon by studying samples retrieved by the astronauts during the Apollo landings. The results indicate that the moon is actually 100 million years younger than it was previously believed to be.

"There are several important implications of this late moon formation that have not yet been worked out," said geochemist Richard Carlson. "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 ?"

Source: Inquisitr | Comments (17)


Recent comments on this story
Comment icon #8 Posted by Talion 9 years ago
Is this one of the reasons we decided to "bomb" the moon a few years ago?
Comment icon #9 Posted by seeder 9 years ago
Is this one of the reasons we decided to "bomb" the moon a few years ago? eh? That makes no sense at all.
Comment icon #10 Posted by DieChecker 9 years ago
Is this one of the reasons we decided to "bomb" the moon a few years ago? No.... We (The USA) had to bomb the Moon because of the Nazi bases that had been built there. Haven't you seen Iron Sky? http://www.imdb.com/title/tt1034314/
Comment icon #11 Posted by pallidin 9 years ago
The leading theory of how the moon formed holds that it was created when a mysterious planet one the size of Mars or larger slammed into Earth about 4.56 billion years ago, just after the solar system came together. But new analyses of lunar rocks suggest that the moon, which likely coalesced from the debris blasted into space by this monster impact... That's from the article. Now, I'm confused a little. A planet(the size of Mars or larger) slamming into earth, doesn't make much sense to me. That is, what happened to that "planet" and would it not have changed Earth's orbit, not to mention... [More]
Comment icon #12 Posted by Frank Merton 9 years ago
The leading theory of how the moon formed holds that it was created when a mysterious planet one the size of Mars or larger slammed into Earth about 4.56 billion years ago, just after the solar system came together. But new analyses of lunar rocks suggest that the moon, which likely coalesced from the debris blasted into space by this monster impact... That's from the article. Now, I'm confused a little. A planet(the size of Mars or larger) slamming into earth, doesn't make much sense to me. That is, what happened to that "planet" and would it not have changed Earth's orbit, not to metion ... [More]
Comment icon #13 Posted by pallidin 9 years ago
Good post, Frank.
Comment icon #14 Posted by Mantis914 9 years ago
When I read that I have to say I was put off by the word "mysterious." At the time all sorts of things were happening of a violent nature, and stray planets were one of them. To address your questions, the planet was presumably consumed and its mass was incorporated into the Earth and Moon, with no doubt quite a bit being thrown elsewhere. Such an event would throw most of the outer parts of the Earth plus the mass of the incoming planet, depending on the relative orbits at time of collision, into a low earth orbit where over a few million years or so it would coalesce into the moon and the ea... [More]
Comment icon #15 Posted by Kaa-Tzik 9 years ago
Well I hope the Moon doesn't get any younger or we'll be in Velikovski woo woo land
Comment icon #16 Posted by Socio 9 years ago
The leading theory of how the moon formed holds that it was created when a mysterious planet one the size of Mars or larger slammed into Earth about 4.56 billion years ago, just after the solar system came together. But new analyses of lunar rocks suggest that the moon, which likely coalesced from the debris blasted into space by this monster impact... That's from the article. Now, I'm confused a little. A planet(the size of Mars or larger) slamming into earth, doesn't make much sense to me. That is, what happened to that "planet" and would it not have changed Earth's orbit, not to mention... [More]
Comment icon #17 Posted by seeder 9 years ago
Also another theory that is kind of out there, which is that the moon was deliberately positioned to orbit the Earth to house alien bases for monitoring Earth, and why we have never gone back, we were told not to. It is part of the the "we are just an alien experiment" theory, as was prehistoric earth before us. Rubbish theory too. Have you any idea how to move a moon? Its not as small as it looks you know, and its doing exactly what other moons - round other planets - do too! Moons are natural And which of the 6 times man walked on the moon did he get warned off?


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