This new study seeks to reveal the origin of the Moon.
Ever since the dawn of humanity, the Moon has been the one subject which has fascinated generations all around the world. Since Galileo’s first observations of the Moon in 1609, experts, researchers, scientists as well as writers and romanticists have been obsessed with the Moon for nearly 5 centuries.
But how did Earth’s natural satellite come into being? There have been numerous theories such as the fission theory, capture theory, condensation theory, and giant impact theory. Now, one more theory can be added to the list.
Origin of the Moon
A research team consisting of geochemists, cosmochemists, and petrologists at ETH Zurich have published a new study in the Science Advances journal with findings that explain the moon inherited the indigenous noble gases of helium and neon from Earth’s mantle.
This theory further supports the giant impact theory which stated the moon formed from debris ejected into an Earth-orbiting disk by the collision of a smaller proto-planet with the early Earth, according to NASA.
Patrizia Will, a cosmochemist, analyzed 6 lunar meteorite samples from Antarctica which were provided by NASA. According to phys.org, the meteorites consist of basalt rock that formed when magma welled up from the interior of the moon and cooled quickly. They were still covered by additional basalt layers after their formation, which protected the rock from cosmic rays and, particularly, the solar wind. The cooling process resulted in the formation of lunar glass particles amongst the other minerals found in magma.
It was found that the glass particles still contained the chemical fingerprint of the helium and neon gases from the interior of the Moon, further strengthening the support for the giant impact theory.
Patrizia Will said, “Finding solar gases, for the first time, in basaltic materials from the moon that are unrelated to any exposure on the lunar surface was such an exciting result.”