What if the moon had formed in just a few hours?

What if the moon had formed in just a few hours? That suggests a new simulation.

U.S Moon has always been part of the decor, so to speak. And yet it remains very mysterious. His education, in particular, is still under discussion. The most popular theory is that it was the result of the giant impact between Earth and an embryo-planet the size of Mars, Theia, but how long did it take to form the satellite? A new simulation proposes: a slightly different answer.

What if the moon had formed in just a few hours?

The results of the study published in The astrophysical diary letters suggest that materials sent into orbit after the impact could have come together almost immediately, in just a few hours, to form the moon. “This opens up a whole new range of possible starting points for the evolution of the moon,” said Jacob Kegerreis, postdoctoral researcher at theAmes Research Center from NASA and lead author.

The previous hypotheses certainly justified properties of the moon, including its mass and orbit, but did not explain its chemical compositions close to Earth’s. The idea that Theia was pulverized and then mixed with terrestrial matter does not lead to the conclusion of such a similarity between the two isotopic signatures. Unless, of course, Theia was very earthy.

This is suggested by a new simulation

With this new high-resolution digital simulation run on a supercomputer, a larger portion of the Earth’s mantle would have been involved in the formation of the moon, explaining the similarity in the composition. The model suggests that the moon would be made up of 60% material from Earth, up from 30% for the original theory. And if our satellite had indeed formed soon after the collision, this would have had an impact on the cooling, a smaller amount of rock would have “melted” during its formation, leading to the composition we know today.

In addition, this theory would provide insight into some poorly understood features of the moon, such as its inclined orbit or its relatively thin crust. There is no doubt that the lunar monsters were recovered below the surface and brought back by Artemis Missions should help researchers confirm or disprove this hypothesis.

And as usual, these discoveries could give us a better understanding of our own planet. Vincent Eke, a researcher at Durham University and co-author of the paper, said that “the more we learn about the birth of the moon, the more we discover the evolution of our own Earth. Their histories are intertwined and would echo can be found in histories of other planets altered by similar or very different collisions.”