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How did the moon form? Simulation may solve riddle about its chemistry

The moon is believed to have been created in a violent collision, and a brand new simulation of the occasion may reply questions which have puzzled astrophysicists



Space



11 March 2022

Artwork of the young Earth-Moon system. The Earth had recently formed when it was struck by a protoplanet called Theia roughly three times the size of Mars. Debris from the impact went into orbit, while the cores of the two planets merged. Within weeks of the event, the debris formed a Saturn-like ring around the Earth. Later collisions in this ring led to the formation of the Moon, probably within just a few thousand years. Initially the Earth and Moon were much closer together than they are now, and spinning more quickly.

Artwork of the collision that gave rise to the moon

MARK GARLICK/SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY

A pc simulation that traces the moon’s formation in excessive decision might clarify the thriller of why it’s so chemically much like Earth.

The standard story for the moon’s origin is {that a} primordial planet named Theia smashed into Earth and spewed molten rock into house. This particles, primarily made up of Theia, then coalesced into the moon over tens of tens of millions of years.

While this state of affairs accounts the moon’s noticed angular momentum, it fails to elucidate the …

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