Research

The most ancient stone of the earth was discovered ... on the moon

Analysis of lunar soil brought by astronautsThe Apollo 14 mission showed the presence of mineral particles in one of the samples, whose origin is connected by an international group of scientists from Sweden, Australia and the USA to the Earth. The article describing the study was published by the journal Earth and Planetary Science Letters. Researchers believe that a fragment of a meteorite from Earth, which fell on the satellite of our planet about 3.9 billion years ago, fell into their hands.

In the studied sample, which received the name "BigBerta, scientists discovered fragments of quartz, zircon and feldspar. The presence of these minerals is quite typical for terrestrial rocks, but not for lunar soil. Scientists explain that even if we assume the lunar origin of minerals in the sample, they should have been formed at a depth of at least 167 kilometers, which is unlikely. In addition, the formation of these minerals requires the participation of oxygen.

"This is an extraordinary find that allows us to draw a more complete picture of the early Earth and the Earth-Moon system as a whole," explains planetologist David Kring from the Institute of Moon and Planet Sciences.

So how did terrestrial minerals end up inmoon soil? Scientists suggest that about 4 billion years, when the Earth was only about 540 million years, some small celestial body (meteorite or asteroid) could fall on our planet, which raised part of the "breakaway" earth rock into space.

Comparing the distance between the moon from the earth

Since at that time the moon was located three timescloser to our planet than now, then after a while the rock settled on the surface of the satellite, specifically in the Cone's lunar crater, where it “waited” all this time for the Apollo 14 expedition.

Detection of zircon particles in the sample is largelyhelped the scientists, because this mineral contains uranium, whose half-life is well known to scientists. On this basis, experts determined that the rock was formed about 4–4.1 billion years ago, presumably at a depth of 20 kilometers.

Researchers add that their assumptionlooks the most likely of the obvious. At least, it is highly doubtful that so “terrestrial” conditions have ever existed on the Moon. However, to test the hypothesis will need new samples of the lunar soil, which may also contain the detected minerals. By the way, in the next decade, scientists may actually be able to get them. Recall that NASA plans not only to return a man to the moon, but also to gain a foothold there for a long time.

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