Mankind took its first walk on the Moon with the historic Apollo 11 landing on July 21, 1969. The crew returned to Earth with 21.5 kilograms of lunar soil and rock samples collected during the handful of hours, the crew spent on the lunar surface. Just last month, NASA opened the pristine samples to scientists for thorough researches on the lunar haul.
Scientists at the University of Cologne, Germany now has an updated answer to the most sought-after question we have had – how old is our Moon and when did it come to existence?
The research team has found that our Moon came into existence 4.51 billion years ago! Which leads them to conclude that the Moon is even older than we previously thought it to be.
Going by previous studies, the Solar System formed 4.56 billion years ago. According to earlier researches in this area, the Moon was believed to have born 150 million years before the Solar System. However, researchers have affirmed that our natural satellite came into being 50 million years after the formation of the Solar System.
“By comparing the relative amounts of different elements in rocks that formed at different times, it is possible to learn how each sample is related to the lunar interior and the solidification of the magma ocean,” University of Cologne staffer Raul Fonseca told the Hans India.
As per the study, the Moon likely formed as a result of a giant collision between a Mars-sized planetary body and the early Earth. Eventually, the Moon accreted from the cloud of material that hit Earth’s orbit. The newborn Moon was covered in a magma ocean, which formed different types of rocks as it cooled, like we know it now.
Analyzing the chemical signatures of a varied range of samples collected during all the Apollo missions, scientists determined the age of the Moon and published their study in Nature Geoscience journal.
While there are a bunch of theories concerning the origin of the Moon, it is important to calculate its age so as to understand how and at what time the Earth formed and how it evolved at the very beginning of the solar system.
Original Source: https://in.mashable.com/science/5327/just-how-old-is-our-moon-much-older-than-we-previously-thought-say-scientists