Academic journal article Science Scope

Lunar Hit-and-Run

Academic journal article Science Scope

Lunar Hit-and-Run

Article excerpt

The Moon is believed to have formed from a collision, 4.5 billion years ago, between Earth and an impactor the size of Mars, known as Theia. Over the past decades, scientists have simulated this process and reproduced many of the properties of the Earth-Moon system; however, these simulations have also given rise to a problem known as the lunar paradox: The Moon appears to be made up of material that would not be expected if the current collision theory is correct. A recent study published in Icarus proposes a new perspective on the theory in answer to the paradox.

If current theories are to be believed, analyses of the various simulations of the Earth-Theia collision predict that the Moon is mostly made up of material from Theia. However, studying materials from both Earth and the Moon shows remarkable similarities. In fact, elements found on the Moon show identical isotopic properties to those found on Earth.

Given it is very unlikely that both Theia and Earth had identical isotopic compositions (as all other known solar system bodies, except the Moon, appear to be different), this paradox casts doubt over the dominant theory for Moon formation. …

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