So how exactly did the moon form? As it turns out, it may have been when the Earth collided with a celestial object that may have had a very similar composition.
It could help explain why Moon rocks are so similar to the ones that we find here on Earth, according to a study posted in the journal Nature as reported by the BBC.
Researchers in Israel and France used the modelling study to simulate the chaos of the inner Solar System in its early days and dives into the subtle differences in lunar rocks.
They believe that the proto-Earth would have been smashed in a string of collisions by other dwarf planets, with the last one being with a body that was a tenth of the size of Earth, resulting in debris that would eventually form the Moon.
Dr. Hagai Perets, one of the authors of the study from the Technion-Israel Institute of Technology, said that the Moon has an “almost identical” composition to the Earth. This suggests that the impactor planet was made of material that was very similar to that of Earth’s, with just a few subtle differences. Models suggest that there was just a 20 percent chance of that happening — but still well high enough for that to be a real possibility.
Scientists also delved into a sort of “veneer” that two planets developed, suggesting that they were bombarded by a large number of meteorites that caused them to collect quite a bit of extra matter after they had collided.
This bombardment should have left more of an impact on the larger Earth due to its strong gravity, causing it to receive more space material and the Moon to receive less. Two investigations of lunar rocks in the U.S. and Germany support that shift for the first time using samples analyzed from the Apollo mission with much greater precision than had been available in the past.
Dr. Matthias Willbold of the University of Manchester said he was excited by these findings, which collectively “all tell the same story — it all falls into place,” he said according to the report.