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Scientists Figured Out Out The Real Age Of The Moon: It Differs From Past Data

Scientists Figured Out Out The Real Age Of The Moon: It Differs From Past Data

The Moon formed a little later than previously thought. When a protoplanet the size of Mars was destroyed by a collision with the young Earth, a new body was created from the debris thrown out during this collision, which became the Moon. Scientists used a new numerical model to reconstruct the time when the event occurred — 4.425 billion years ago. Previous assumptions about the Moon's formation were based on an age of 4.51 billion years or 85 million years earlier than the new calculations show. The scientists reported their findings in the journal Science Advances.

Four and a half billion years ago, the solar system was still chaotic. The Earth was still growing to its present size, collecting matter in the form of planetesimals. They were previously formed in a disk of dust and gas orbiting the early Sun. The young Earth was consolidating, getting hotter inside. All large parts of the rocky mantle melted and formed an igneous ocean. It was at this time that the Earth acquired a natural satellite. A massive cosmic collision between Earth and a protoplanet has thrown a rock from the young Earth into space. Eventually, this debris condensed to form a new planetary body-the Moon.

In principle, most scientists agree on how the Moon formed, but not on the details of the process, and especially not on the time when it occurred.

The results of the latest simulation by planetary geophysicists at the German Aerospace Center (Deutsches Zentrum für Luft - und Raumfahrt; DLR), led by Maxim Maurice, together with researchers from the University of Munster, suggest that the protoplanet collided with the young Earth about 140 million years after the birth of the Solar system 4,567 billion years ago. According to their calculations, this happened 4.425 billion years ago.

At that time, the Earth had just become a planet. During this development, heavy metal components sank toward the center of the Earth and formed a core of iron and Nickel that was surrounded by a thick mantle of silicate rocks. Mantle rocks become hotter and hotter; this allowed the separation of metals and silicates in The Earth's interior for several tens of millions of years.

At this stage, the Earth was struck by Theia, a protoplanet that was the size of Mars. In the early days of the solar system, there would have been many such bodies. Some were ejected from the Solar system, and others were destroyed by collisions with other bodies. Thea, however, hit Earth and caused so much material to be ejected from the planet's mantle that the Moon could have formed from it. During this strong impact, an igneous ocean several thousand kilometers deep was formed. Today, there was no trace of Thea after that collision.

The collision of two bodies with its enormous energy also vaporized a large number of rocks from the Earth's early mantle. All this matter was thrown out and collected in a ring of dust around the Earth before it gathered again to form into stone. Based on this, the Moon was formed in a short time, perhaps just a few thousand years.

Scientists largely agree with the history of the Moon's formation. However, they were unable to establish an exact date, since none of the lunar rocks brought to Earth register the age of The Earth's natural satellite. Researchers from DLR and the University of Munster determined when the Moon formed using a new indirect method. Their calculations show that this most likely occurred at the very end of the Earth's formation.

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