The Moon appears to be 40 million years older than scientists think. This is evidenced by research conducted by American scientists who examined the age of crystals brought by astronauts from the Moon in 1972.
More than 4 billion years ago, a giant object the size of Mars collided with Earth. This led to the separation of a large part of the Earth: the Moon. But scientists did not know exactly when this happened.
American researchers now think they know the answer. They believe that the moon is at least 4.46 billion years old and published their study in the journal Geochemical Perspectives Letters.
They used crystals from a sample of lunar dust brought to Earth by Apollo 17 astronauts during the last manned mission to the Moon in 1972.
These tiny crystals formed billions of years ago and tell us a lot about the age of the Moon. This is because the rock that eventually became the moon’s surface melted due to the energy released when the “moon” separated from the Earth.
At that time, it was not possible for these crystals to continue to exist or be created. “So any crystals on the moon’s surface must have formed after that moon’s magma ocean cooled,” Philip Heck says. On the Field Museum website. He is one of the study’s authors and, among other things, a professor at the University of Chicago.
Because the crystals can only form after the magma ocean has cooled, they provide insight into the Moon’s minimum age. Accordingly, the Moon must be at least 4.46 billion years old.
In a previous study, co-author Bidong Zhang had already suggested this, but using a new research method, scientists are now more certain.
Why is lunar exploration important?
According to Hick, it is important to know when the Moon formed because of the Moon’s influence on life on Earth.
For example, the Moon stabilizes the Earth’s axis of rotation, is the reason there are 24 hours in a day, and is responsible for the tides.
“It’s a part of our natural system that we want to understand better, and our study provides a small piece of the puzzle in that big picture,” Heck says.
“Professional web ninja. Certified gamer. Avid zombie geek. Hipster-friendly baconaholic.”