“Billions of years ago, a version of our Earth that looks very different than the one we live on today was hit by an object about the size of Mars, called Theia – and out of that collision the Moon was formed. How exactly that formation occurred is a scientific puzzle researchers have studied for decades, without a conclusive answer.
“Most theories claim the Moon formed out of the debris of this collision, coalescing in orbit over months or years. A new simulation puts forth a different theory – the Moon may have formed immediately, in a matter of hours, when material from the Earth and Theia was launched directly into orbit after the impact.”
Was the moon formed in just a few hours? Scientists were able to study the geochemical makeup of the moon when the Apollo astronauts returned to Earth with moon rocks in 1969, leading to the Giant Impact Hypothesis.
“This scenario can put the Moon into a wide orbit with an interior that isn’t fully molten, potentially explaining properties like the Moon’s tilted orbit and thin crust – making it one of the most enticing explanations for the Moon’s origins yet.”
In the future, scientists will compare simulations like this one with future Artemis mission lunar samples, further refining our understanding about how the moon might have formed.
Watch more videos about the moon on TKSST, including:
• Moon 101, a quick primer on our 4.51 billion-year-old natural satellite
• Tour of the Moon (our One and Only)
• The phases of the moon visualized from the other side
• Artemis and How We Are Going to the Moon
This Webby award-winning video collection exists to help teachers, librarians, and families spark kid wonder and curiosity. TKSST features smarter, more meaningful content than what's usually served up by YouTube's algorithms, and amplifies the creators who make that content.
Curated, kid-friendly, independently-published. Support this mission by becoming a sustaining member today.