The Moon May Be Younger That We Thought

by Annalee Newitz

The violent history of the Earth’s Moon just gave rise to a new mystery. At a Royal Society special meeting today, planetary scientist Rick Carlson announced that the Moon is a few hundred million years younger than we thought. This could change our understanding of how the Earth formed, too.

Carlson reported that new methods for dating rocks from the Moon’s crust or regolith have placed its birth between 4.4 and 4.45 billion years ago. Previously, scientists placed its origin at 4.56 billion years ago. The Moon was formed when a Mars-sized body smashed into the Earth, reducing part of our planet to liquid rock and shooting debris into orbit that slowly cooled and coalesced into the Moon…

(read more: io9)

illustrations by Ron Miller

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