December 3, 2023

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This is the age of the moon

This is the age of the moon

Maybe we can know what time it is moon Or results confirm that water exists and is in fact abundant and accessible, but despite its continued presence, exactly when our planet’s natural moon was created remains one of the major questions.

Research gives the answer and overturns what we knew about the moon, because it reveals that it belongs to the Earth It is 40 million years old Than we thought so far.

Scientists have made their discovery Study of crystals found in lunar dust carried in 1972 as part of the Apollo 17 mission – The last time astronauts set foot on the moon.

“It’s amazing to be able to prove that The rock it holds is the oldest piece of the moon that we have found so far. It is a reference point for many questions about Earth. “When you know how old something is, you can better understand what happened to it in its history,” said Dr. Jenica Greer from the University of Glasgow, lead author of the study.

About 100 million years after the formation of the solar system, when the planets had already formed, a Mars-sized body is thought to have struck Earth, ejecting a large mass of material that eventually created the Moon. The energy of the collision means that its surface was initially molten, but as with water Cooling of the lunar magma oceanhardening of the material.

The crystals examined in the study are believed to have formed during this cooling process, which means their formation provides researchers with an opportunity to determine their age. Hence the age of the moon itself.

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Obstacles that arose

However, it was not easy to determine the schedule.

As mentioned before guardianSome work analyzing lunar materials combined with modeling has shown this the The moon is 4.42 billion years oldBut recent crystallographic research has shown that it could be even bigger.

The researchers said that new techniques seem to confirm that the crystals formed much more recently.

The approach known as Tomography for corn detection (atom probe tomography), involves using a laser to vaporize atoms from crystals that have been sharpened to a very fine “nano-edge.” The mass of these atoms can then be detected and the ratio between different types of uranium and lead atoms known as Isotopes. Because uranium turns into lead over time through radioactive decay, this ratio can shed light on the age of the crystal.

The conclusion is written by the team in the journal Geochemical Perspectives Lettersis that the crystals, and thus our satellite, It appears to be at least 4.46 billion years old.

“This age offsets the age of the first preserved lunar crust by ∼40 [εκατομμύρια χρόνια] It provides the minimum age of moon formation within 110 [εκατομμύρια χρόνια] After the formation of the solar system,” the team writes.

They also argue that the sampled crystals, which lead to the Moon’s younger age being inferred, could be due to the loss of lead in the material after crystallization, distorting the resulting dating.

Dr Romain Tartis from the University of Manchester, who was not involved in the research, welcomed the study. “This indicates that the moon is at least 4.46 [δισεκατομμυρίων ετών]This contradicts some recent proposals.”

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He added that this discovery indicates that the giant collision with the Earth that formed the Moon may have occurred tens of millions of years before that point.