Study shows that Earth is believed to have smashed with baby earth that made a cloud of fragments that for some time formed into the moon which was found to be nearly chemically identical to Earth.
This new study may answer questions as to why the Earth and the moon are closely similar in their composition. Computer models display that the materials that constituted the moon would have been from the planetary body that had hit Earth which is known as Theia, which consist a small difference in isotopic makeup than Earth.
“For some 30 years this contradiction was a major challenge to physicists grappling with the formation of the moon. The hope was that better simulations might resolve this issues, but it turned out that the progress with simulations gave essentially the same results, giving rise to the ‘isotope crisis,’ as this problem came to be called,” wrote Alessandra Mastrobuono-Battisti together with the Israel Institute of Technology in Haifa .
Computer simulations were ran of later –stage planet formation until they came up with similar colliding embryos and planetesimals that produced four rocky planets, as they looked to the last impact scene that created a moon- like form, the scientist evaluated the similarity that Theia and Earth had the same chemical composition.
“It turned out it is not a rare event … On average, impactors are more similar to the planets they impact compared with different planets in the same system,” Mastrobuono-Battisti said.
The slight difference in isotope of tungsen found on Earth and on the Moon still raises questions regarding the formation of the moon.
“It is very unlikely — but not impossible — that two very different sized bodies developed the exact same tungsten isotopic composition,” said Richard Walker on the Discovery News. “I think all three papers work to explain the formation of the moon within the framework of a giant impact. I don’t think we have a better alternative at this time,” he continued.
“It may be worth it. The committee that considers such requests will have to be convinced of the merit of continued work,” he said.
Their next plan is to get a sample from another inner solar system planet.