There’s no secret for the scientific community that a violent planet collision gave birth to our natural satellite, but fresh evidence emerges. The cosmic object targeted by the Artemis program that aims to send a man and a woman there by 2024 was subject for a new lunar rock study of Simon and graduate fellow Tony Gargano. Both scientists are from NASA’s Astromaterials Research and Exploration Science division at Johnson Space Center in Houston.
The theory says that our Earth was also directly involved in the creation of our Moon. More precisely, another planet named Theia smashed into our world when the latter was just a fiery ball of molten lava, and the material released into space was gathered by gravity in order to form the Moon.
Chlorine is the key
The scientists involved began to study the chemical composition differences between Earth and Moon rocks. Tracking chlorine helps for understanding the planetary formation, therefore researchers analyzed the amount and types of chlorine present in the rocks. The conclusion was that the rocks from the Moon contained a higher concentration of heavy chlorine, while the rocks from Earth had more light chlorine.
While heavy chlorine usually remains put without being too reactive to various forces, we can’t say the same about light chlorine. Scientists believe that both the Earth and Moon blobs firstly contained a mix of heavy and light chlorines. Earth eventually drew the lighter chlorine from the Moon to itself.
Scientists also analyzed the rocks samples for differences in elements known as halogens, which are related to chlorine. They concluded that this new family of elements was lost from the Moon. It all ultimately leads to the conclusion that the Moon’s lighter chlorine composition and the halogen abundances were set at the very beginning.
Tony Gargano, one of the leaders of the study, says it loud and clear:
The chlorine loss from the Moon likely happened during a high-energy and heat event, which points to the Giant Impact theory,
The Giant Impact Theory is none other than the theory describing how the Moon formed due to a collision between Earth and the planet known as Theia.
The new study was published in the journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.