Impact suffered by the Earth generated the Moon in a few hours; watch video


Supercomputer brings new simulation of the impact that formed the Moon

Image: NASA/YouTube/Reproduction

Have you ever wondered what the origin of the Moon is? A few months ago, if you directed this question to an astronomer, he would probably say that the satellite is the result of the junction of debris that was released in space after the Earth’s impact with another celestial body.

But a study recently published in The Astrophysical Journal Letters suggests that such an answer is partially wrong.

The collision between celestial objects actually happened 4.5 billion years ago, but simulations performed on a supercomputer suggest that the Moon formed in a matter of hours after the collision, rather than gradually, as previously thought.

The new hypothesis was raised by scientists at NASA’s Ames Research Center, the University of Glasgow and the University of Durham.

The faster formation theory of the Moon also suggests a different internal composition for the satellite, which could explain the reasons why samples brought from space missions have characteristics similar to those seen in rocks on Earth. Look:

Let’s go to the event: when the Earth was still very young, it was hit by an object the size of Mars, which was nicknamed Theia. If the impact had generated debris that gradually led to the formation of the Moon, it would be expected that the satellite would be composed of materials more similar to that of the smaller celestial body.

It is not what happens. The moon’s outer layer is rich in material originating from Earth. In addition, the scientists showed during simulations that a rapidly forming body could survive close to Earth without being torn apart by the planet’s gravitational influence. In this way, the Moon would have entered its orbit and remained until today.

NASA plans to bring more samples from the satellite during future Artemis Program missions, which could help scientists elucidate the origin of the Moon. Having such information will also make it easier for researchers to get details about Earth’s own past and its evolution in the Universe.

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