Scientists have long believed that the moon was formed around 4.51 billion years ago. However, a new study conducted by researchers at the German Aerospace Center found that the moon is actually much younger, around 85-million-year younger exactly and that it was once home to a massive magma ocean.
Billions of years ago, a huge Mars-sized protoplanet collided with a young Earth. As a result of this collision, cosmic rubble and debris came together to form a new rocky formation, or as we know it today, the moon. Researchers believed that this collision happened 4.51 billion years ago, however, new research shows that this event actually happened 4.425 billion years ago.
Researchers came to this conclusion by using advanced mathematical models to calculate the composition of the moon over time. Working on the idea that the moon was home to a magma ocean, the researchers calculated how long it would take for the minerals to form as the magma cooled over time. By following the timeline of the magma ocean, the researchers were able to trace their way back to the moon’s formation.
— DLR – English (@DLR_en) July 10, 2020
“By comparing the measured composition of the moon’s rocks with the predicted composition of the magma ocean from our model, we were able to trace the evolution of the ocean back to its starting point, the time at which the moon was formed,” study co-author Sabrina Schwinger, a researcher at the German Aerospace Center, said in a statement.