How old is the Moon? – level 3

27-10-2023 07:00

In 1972, during the Apollo 17 mission, astronauts collected soil and rock samples from the moon.

Recently, scientists analyzed zircon crystals within a rock collected by astronaut Harrison Schmitt, shedding light on the moon’s age and formation. Their findings indicate that the moon is approximately 40 million years older than previously believed, forming more than 4.46 billion years ago. This insight helps support the theory that a Mars-sized object, named Theia, collided with Earth during the solar system’s early history. This impact sent molten rock into space, forming a debris disk that eventually coalesced into the moon. Using a method called atom probe tomography, scientists confirmed the age of these ancient zircon crystals.

These findings are crucial in understanding the moon’s role in stabilizing Earth’s axis and its impact on our planet’s habitability. The moon’s age and formation also hold significance for future deep-space explorations by space agencies like NASA.

Difficult words: shed light (to make something clear or understandable), coalesce (to come together), habitability (the quality of being good enough to live in).

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What implications does the discovery of moon's age and formation have for future deep-space explorations?


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