The Moon stole something from the Earth years ago, and today we have the definitive proof – Teach me about Science

2024-01-13 03:23:46

One day while contemplating the beauty of the Moon, ask yourself, since when has it been there? It may seem like it has been around forever since we have seen it since we were children, and people have been doing it generation after generation. However, it had an origin just like our planet, and it can even be said that they were certainly one billion years ago.

We know that today the composition of the Earth and the Moon are remarkably different. Scientists have proposed many ideas to explain the origin of the Moon, although there is one that certainly has the upper hand.

According to NASAOne of the main ones, the Giant Impact theory, speculates that when Earth was a young planet and just beginning to form, it was hit by another emerging planet the size of Mars called Theia, located nearby. The collision caused both planets to temporarily separate into chunks of gas, magma and chemical elements before reforming into the bodies we know today as the Earth and Moon.

This event occurred when the Earth was just forming, about 4.5 billion years ago. Scientists have been providing evidence in recent years, now a new investigation claims to have found the first definitive proof that the Moon inherited noble gases indigenous to the Earth’s mantle.

A group of scientists made up of geochemists, cosmochemists and petrologists from the ETH in Zurich have been studying pieces of the Moon that reach our planet in the form of meteorites. Being more specific, they analyzed six samples of lunar meteorites from an Antarctic collection, obtained from NASA.

The team discovered that glass particles (the result of cooled magma) preserve the chemical signatures (isotopic signatures) of solar gases: helium and neon from the interior of the Moon. Their findings strongly support that the Moon inherited the noble gases indigenous to the Earth. The isotopes trapped inside meteorites match those found in the solar wind, without having ever been exposed to it.

Scientists discover more evidence about the origin of the Moon. (Image: Adobe Stock).

“Finding solar gases, for the first time, in lunar basaltic materials that are not related to any exposure on the lunar surface was a very exciting result,” I say Patrizia Willformerly of ETH Zurich in Switzerland, now at the University of Washington in St.

Researchers consider this new discovery an important piece of the puzzle in understanding how the Moon and, potentially, the Earth and other celestial bodies formed. Likewise, they hope in the near future to search for noble gases such as xenon and krypton, which are more difficult to identify. They will also look for other volatile elements such as hydrogen or halogens in lunar meteorites.

“Although these gases are not necessary for life, it would be interesting to know how some of these noble gases survived the brutal and violent formation of the Moon,” said in a press release ETH Zurich professor Henner Busemann, one of the world’s leading scientists in the field of extraterrestrial noble gas geochemistry. “This knowledge could help geochemistry and geophysics scientists create new models that show more generally how these more volatile elements can survive planet formation, in our solar system and beyond.”

The findings have been published in the journal Science.

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