Rock and soil samples from 45 years ago have helped establish the moon's true age.
A new study that involved analyzing rocks and soil from the moon’s surface has revealed the celestial body is much older than scientists thought.
Samples collected by the Apollo 14 astronauts back in 1971 has led to the discovery that the moon is actually around 4.51 billion years old and was formed approximately 60 million years after the creation of the solar system.
Despite the samples only being the size of grains of sand, the rocks and soil mix were analyzed using uranium-lead dating on the fragments of the mineral zircon, which allows scientists to estimate the formation date of the moon.
“Size doesn’t matter, they record amazing information nonetheless!” explained lead author of the study, Melanie Barboni, from UCLA’s Earth, Planetary, and Space. There is much to find out about the moon which holds “so much magic” Barboni went on to state. “[It’s] the key to understand how our beautiful Earth formed and evolved.”
The creation of the moon was thought to be the result of leftover debris after a powerful collision between a planet-like object called Theia and our own planet. As a result, all life on Earth would have been wiped out to start again and this would give researchers information on when Earth started to begin becoming habitable once more.
Despite their findings many scientific bodies have different ideas as to how the moon formed with some believing the lunar body was formed from moonlets as a result of collisions between asteroids and Earth.