The scientific world has fidgeted and fumbled over the lunar mystery for decades: if the theory is right, and the moon was created when another planet-like body crashed into Terra, then why does its chemical fingerprint present so many similarities to that of our planet?
There’s not one theory that explains with 100% certainty how the moon came to being, but the theory of the great crash is the most frequently quoted. It theorizes that, a long time ago, when our solar system was still in-the-making, an ancient planet, resembling Mars’ size, crossed paths with Earth.
This hypothesis checks out when applied to the interesting physics relation between the Earth and the moon. However, one big problem could not be explained: the glaring and suspicious similarity between the moon’s material and the one making up the Earth.
According to specific computer models, the trajectory of the impactor body, known under the name of Theia, would have led it straight into colliding with Earth. In the aftermath, some of Theia’s debris might have coagulated and give birth to the moon.
This theory, however, doesn’t offer a satisfying explanation for why its chemical composition is so similar to the Earth’s – bearing in mind that Theia and the Earth did not form in the same part of the solar system. Therefore, different materials would make up chemically different bodies – just like Earth and Mars have two very different chemical fingerprints.
But according to a new researched issued in the journal Nature, researchers might have found the end of a long-standing dilemma. A combined team of scientists at the Israel Institute of Technology in Haifa and the University of Bordeaux in France published a paper claiming a very high chance that Theia and Earth were indeed made up from a nearly identical material.
Unlike previous studies that could only find a 1 percent chance for this theory to be true, the new simulations that provided more detailed analysis, shows a chance that goes up from 20 percent to 40 percent that the Earth and Theia were formed in similar environments and basically from the same material.
According to lead author, Alessandra Mastrobuono-Battisti, the updated huge percentage of 20%-40% that the Earth was from a similar material as the moon is a considerable step forward to explaining the mystery. And if we also believe that the moon could have “borrowed” some material from Terra during the collision, said percentage rises to a whopping 55 percent.
With such encouraging odds, the moon mystery can be considered now solved.
Image Source: The Silver Ink