Washington: The latest evidence based on lunar material collected by Apollo astronauts nixes the theory that a giant collision between Earth and a Mars-sized object resulted in the moon’s formation.
A comparative analysis of titanium from the moon, Earth and meteorites indicates the moon’s material came from Earth alone, says a new study conducted by University of Chicago researchers.
If two objects had created moon, “just like in humans, the moon would have inherited some of the material from the Earth and some of the material from the impactor, approximately half and half,” argued Nicolas Dauphas, associate professor of geophysical sciences at Chicago, study co-author.
“What we found is that the child does not look any different compared to the Earth,” Dauphas said. “It’s a child with only one parent, as far as we can tell,” added Dauphas, the journal Nature Geoscience reports.
The research team based their analysis on titanium isotopes – forms of titanium that contain only slight subatomic variations, according to a Chicago statement.
“When we look at different bodies, different asteroids, there are different isotopic signatures. It’s like their different DNAs,” Dauphas said.
“We thought that the moon had two parents, but when we look at the composition of the moon, it looks like it has only one parent,” said study co-author Junjun Zhang, researcher in geophysical sciences at Chicago.