Scientists propose surprising new theory for how the Moon was formed


The Moon may have formed “immediately” after a giant impact that put it into orbit around Earth, according to a new theory of its origin.

The theory relies on detailed simulations by powerful supercomputers, which suggested that the Moon would have emerged instantly after something crashed into Earth.

The extra detail provided by the most powerful supercomputer simulations yet allowed researchers to find unexpected details that could explain some of the unusual characteristics of the Moon. It also suggests that the “lower-resolution” simulations that have been used in the past could have left scientists mistaken about the history of our planet.

“This formation route could help explain the similarity in isotopic composition between the lunar rocks returned by the Apollo astronauts and Earth’s mantle,” said Vincent Eke from Durham University. “There may also be observable consequences for the thickness of the lunar crust, which would allow us to pin down further the type of collision that took place.”