The moon has always sparked the interest of astronomers and astrophysicists, as it is the closest celestial body to Earth and because of the gravitational influence that it has on our planet, such as ocean tides, body tides and the slight lengthening of the day. Until now, it was believed that the moon was created around 150 million years after our Solar System was formed. Apparently, the math is wrong. Recently, scientists estimate that the moon is actually 4.51 billion years old having formed immediately after our Solar System and Earth have formed, 4.56 billion years ago. That means that Earth’s natural satellite is only 50 million younger than our Solar System.
The new discovery was identified by scientists from the University of Cologne’s Institute of Geology and Mineralogy and was published in the journal Nature Geoscience. The scientists examined the chemical composition of various samples taken from the Apollo missions, 50 years ago.
Scientists reveal that the moon is older than initially believed
It is believed that the moon is the result of the impact between Earth and a celestial body the size of Mars called Theia. The debris resulted after the impact clustered together and created the moon. In the beginning, the moon was wrapped in magma ocean from Earth. After it cooled down, the magma transformed into various kinds of rocks. These rocks can help to examine the planetary evolution. Among these rocks are hafnium, uranium, tungsten, and basalt. The hafnium and tungsten helped the scientists calculate with precision the moon’s age.
As these two natural radioactive solids had a period of 70 million years of decay, the researchers found out that Earth’s satellite was already solidifying 50 million years after the formation of our Solar System. These findings can help researchers calculate Earth’s age with better precision and also the way it evolved at the birth of the Solar System.