One day as you contemplate the beauty of the moon, ask yourself, how long has it been there? It may seem like it's been around forever since we've been seeing it since we were kids, and people have been doing it generation after generation. However, it had an origin just like our planet, and it can be said that it was definitely a billion years ago.
We know that the composition of the Earth and the Moon today is markedly different. Scientists have put forward many ideas to explain the origin of the Moon, although one idea definitely has the upper hand.
According to NASAOne major theory, the Giant Impact Theory, speculates that when Earth was a young planet and just starting to form, it collided with another Mars-sized nascent planet called Theia, located nearby. The collision caused the two planets to temporarily separate into pieces of gas, magma and chemical elements before they formed again 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. It was the scientists Provide evidence In the last years, Now a new investigation He claims to have found the first conclusive evidence that the Moon inherited the noble gases found in the Earth's mantle.
A group of scientists consisting of geochemists, cosmochemists and petrologists from the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology in Zurich studied parts of the Moon that reach our planet in the form of meteorites. To be more specific, they analyzed six samples of lunar meteorites from the Antarctic cluster, which were obtained from NASA.
The team discovered that glass particles (the result of cooling magma) preserve chemical signatures (isotopic signatures) of solar gases: helium and neon from within the moon. Their findings strongly support that the Moon inherited Earth's original noble gases. The isotopes trapped inside meteorites match those in the solar wind, without being exposed to them at all.
“Finding solar gases, for the first time, in lunar basalt materials unrelated to any exposure on the Moon’s surface was a very exciting result.” Patricia Weil saidformerly at ETH Zurich in Switzerland, and now at Washington University in St. Louis.
Researchers consider this new discovery an important piece of the puzzle in understanding how the Moon, and perhaps the Earth and other celestial bodies, formed. Likewise, in the near future they hope to search for noble gases such as xenon and krypton, which are difficult to identify. They will also look for other volatile elements such as hydrogen or halogens in lunar meteorites.
“Although these gases are not essential for life, it will be interesting to know how some of these noble gases survived the Moon's brutal and violent formation.” He said in a press release Professor Henner Bosmann of ETH Zurich is one of the world's leading scientists in the field of geochemistry of extraterrestrial noble gases. “This knowledge can help geochemists and geophysicists create new models that generally show how these most volatile elements can survive planetary formation, in our solar system and beyond.”
The results were published in the journal Sciences.
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