Has the mystery of how the moon formed finally been solved? - Daily Mail
Oct 04, 2022 1 min, 23 secs

Since the 1970s, astronomers have suspected that the moon was created when a giant protoplanet called Theia struck Earth.

However, in a new study, researchers from the University of Durham claim that the giant impact immediately placed the moon into orbit around Earth.

In a new study, researchers from the University of Durham claim that the giant impact immediately placed the moon into orbit around Earth (artist's impression pictured).

Astronomers have long suspected that the moon was created when a giant protoplanet called Theia struck the newly formed Earth - a theory first put forward in the 1970s.

The collision created the moon, but debate has raged about exactly what happened during this event - and the question of why the moon and Earth are so similar in their composition has remained a mystery.

If much of the Moon formed immediately following the giant impact, this could mean that less material became molten during formation than previously thought, according to the researchers.

The researchers suggest that the moon formed following a giant impact between Earth and a Mars-sized planet.

The computer simulations indicate that the collision formed the moon almost immediately, and went straight into orbit around Earth .

The collision created the moon, but debate has raged exactly what happened during this event - and a mystery has persisted on why the moon and Earth are so similar in their composition.

The impact of Theia with Earth was so violent, the resulting debris cloud mixed thoroughly before settling down and forming the moon

A third possibility is that the moon formed from Earthen materials, rather than from Theia, although this would have been a very unusual type of impact

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