Small amounts of moon water that were recently found in ancient rocks could possibly share a common source with water on Earth. And if this is confirmed, it significantly adds to the theory that the moon originated from a giant impact with Earth, an April 2 report from Mother Nature Network says.
The samples of moon water in the lunar rocks were part of an 842 pound load brought from the moon by NASA's six Apollo moon landing missions and the three Russian robotic sample-return missions, Fox News reports.
The study, conducted by an international team of scientists, also found a "geological clock" for determining the age of the moon. This method is based on measurements of the Earth's interior along with computer simulations of the protoplanetary disk from which the Earth and other planets formed.
The researchers simulated the growth of planets closest to the Sun (Mercury, Venus, Earth and Mars) from an album of thousands of planetary building blocks in orbit around the star. By analyzing this growth, scientists discovered a relationship between the time when the Earth was hit by a Mars -sized object to create the Moon and the amount of material added to the Earth after the impact.
Increasing detail in the simulation of the mass of material added to the Earth by accretion after the formation of the moon, the work reveals a relationship that works like clockwork until the date of the event that formed the moon. This is the first " geological clock" that is not based on measurements and interpretations of the radioactive decay of atomic nuclei to determine the age.
"Scientists have suggested the moon was formed 4.5 billion years ago by a gigantic collision between a Mars-size object named Theiaand Earth, a crash that would have largely melted the Earth," Space.com writes.
From geochemical measurements, the birth date of the moon is estimated to be within 100 million years of the birth of the solar system.
This estimate of the formation of the moon agrees with some interpretation of measurements of radioactive dating, but not others.