"A Lunar Paradox" --Was the Moon Created by a Collision with Earth by a Mars-Sized Object?
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August 29, 2012

"A Lunar Paradox" --Was the Moon Created by a Collision with Earth by a Mars-Sized Object?

 

            Whitedwarf_01

 

The Moon is believed to have formed from a collision, 4.5 billion years ago, between Earth and an impactor the size of Mars, known as "Theia." Over the past decades scientists have simulated this process and reproduced many of the properties of the Earth-Moon system; however, these simulations have also given rise to a problem known as the Lunar Paradox: the Moon appears to be made up of material that would not be expected if the current collision theory is correct. A recent study published in Icarus proposes a new perspective on the theory in answer to the paradox.

If current theories are to be believed, analyses of the various simulations of the Earth-Theia collision predict that the Moon is mostly made up of material from Theia. However, studying materials from both Earth and the Moon, shows remarkable similarities. In fact, elements found on the Moon show identical isotopic properties to those found on Earth.

Given it is very unlikely that both Theia and Earth had identical isotopic compositions (as all other known solar system bodies, except the Moon, appear to be different) this paradox casts doubt over the dominant theory for the Moon formation. Moreover, for some elements, like Silicon, the isotopic composition is the result of internal processes, related to the size of the parent body. Given Theia was smaller than Earth, its Silicon isotope composition should have definitely been different from that of Earth's mantle.

A group of researchers from the University of Bern, Switzerland, have now made a significant breakthrough in the story of the formation of the Moon, suggesting an answer to this Lunar Paradox. They explored a different geometry of collisions than previously simulated, also considering new impacts configurations such as the so-called, "hit-and-run collisions," where a significant amount of material is lost into space on orbits unbound to the Earth.

"Our model considers new impact parameters, which were never tested before. Besides the implications for the Earth-Moon system itself, the considerably higher impact velocity opens up new possibilities for the origin of the impactor and therefore also for models of terrestrial planet formation," explains lead author of the study, Andreas Reufer.

"While none of the simulations presented in their research provides a perfect match for the constraints from the actual Earth-Moon-system, several do come close," adds Alessandro Morbidelli, one of the Icarus' Editors. "This work, therefore, suggests that a future exhaustive exploration of the vast collisional parameter space may finally lead to the long-searched solution of the lunar paradox."

The article "A hit-and-run Giant Impact scenario" by Andreas Reufer, Matthias M.M. Meier, Willy Benz, Rainer Wieler (doi:10.1016/j.icarus.2012.07), appears in Icarus, published by Elsevier.

The Daily Galaxy via [email protected] 

Image credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech.

Comments

I´m afraid this explanation also is wrong, and it is so because the scientists forget some very important facts and connections.

The Solar System is an integrated and orbiting part of the Milky Way formation and rotation and therefore the formation of it should be connected to the overall formation in the Milky Way galaxy.

The formation movement in our galaxy goes in circuits of gasses and matter being sucked into the swirling funnel in the centre undergoing a nuclear formation of sorting and melting gasses and matter together from where it horizontally on the galactic plane leaves the galactic centre as larger spheres of gas i.e. stars and matter i.e. planets and moons and so on.

That is: Our Solar System was once formed in the galactic centre at almost the very the same time but of course with minor or major differences regarding the composition of gas and matter. The formation of stars and planets and their moon leaves the galactic centre from where it has gained both their rotation and orbiting velocity via the galactic orbit velocity and via the horizontal swirling funnel that makes up the barred structures and later on created the galactic arm.

This explanation compute with “the galactic rotation anomaly” and it also explain the actual circular and oscillating movement of our solar system in the galactic arm, where the system is “going up and down” (i.e. going around in a circle) in the galactic arm.

It further more explains the elliptic orbit of the planets and the slowly increasing distance between the moon and the Earth and other planets the longer the solar system moves away from the galactic centre, giving the impression that “everything is expanding” where in fact “everything is going in circuits”.

Because of the difference of 60 degree between the galactic plan and the planetary orbiting plane, several “anomalistic movements” in cosmos can be explained, and also the formation of the moon. It is formed directly in the galactic centre together and at the same time as the rest of the solar system.

If so, this formation explanation of the moon and the solar system of course is very simple in its holistic view – and isn´t that what it’s all about?

I'm not an astro-physicist (or even a scientist by trade) so please forgive the raw nature of this comment; I'm merely interested in this subject:

In all I've read about the theory of Earth's colliding with a Mars-sized object that led to the formation of the Moon, I have never actually seen written that the object was, in fact, Mars. What happened to 'Theia'? Did it disintegrate on impact? If not, where is it now?

Is there any possibility that the object that Earth collided with was Mars? If so, might this explain the sudden loss of Mars' magnetic field that was thought to have happened c.4 billion years ago- around the time the Moon was formed.

@Ivar Nielsen.

You sir are an idiot.

@Robert,
- In my opinion an idiot is a person who only can tell others that they are idiots, completely ignoring the contents in an article.

Everything is a theory and here it is another one:

There was a planet between Mars and Jupiter. Something comes from outside the Solar System and hits this planet. It explodes into pieces, some of it still rotating around the Sun in the same orbit , we call it the Asteroid Belt. A big piece moves towards the Sun, hits Mars and moves it out of its orbit a little bit. Hits the Earth and the Moon is born. And finally settles between Earth and Mercury and now we call it Venus. Venus is rotating the opposite direction as other planets. Its day is longer than its year. It's hotter than Mercury because of its huge core. A core that once belonged to a much larger planet.

I forgot to mention; in theory, inner planets (Mercury, Venus, Earth, and Mars)are not supposed to have moons.

"The Moon is believed to have formed from a collision, 4.5 billion years ago, between Earth and an impactor the size of Mars"

The Earth is 4.54 billion years old so most likely this theory is wrong. But hey a mystery is great rather than some facade answer.

"the Lunar Paradox: the Moon appears to be made up of material that would not be expected if the current collision theory is correct."

Guess I should read the article more before I comment lol

Yep, that usually helps!

Ruth Mc

Whos the smartypants here?

IF the Isotopes are variant thus theia stands, sans that there is only one explanation that thia hit earth and force out an object out of our magnetic field and introduced it in the form of moon which has no pressure except it revolves around earth and water as well as weather are deeply effected.


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