Researchers at ETH Zurich find new evidence of Moon’s origin

For nearly five centuries researchers have put forward several controversial theories about the origin of the Moon Recent research has found that the Moon inherited the original noble gases from the Earth’s mantle.

It was revealed by a geochemist, cosmochemist and petrologist at the ETH (Eidgenössische Technische Hochschule) Zurich, Switzerland, Patrizia Will. This conclusion is contrary to the hypothesis huge impact Which hypothesizes that the Moon was formed by a massive collision between Earth and other celestial bodies.

as quoted from science dailyOn Saturday (13/8/2022), Patrizia will analyze samples of six lunar meteorites from the Antarctic collection obtained from the United States Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA).

Meteorites are composed of basalt rock that formed when magma ejected from the Moon’s interior and cooled rapidly. Once formed, they are covered in a layer of basalt that protects the rock from cosmic rays and in particular the solar wind.

The cooling process results in the formation of the Moon’s glassy particles, among other minerals found in magma. Will and his team found that glass particles from the Moon’s interior leave traces of isotopes of the Sun’s gases, helium and neon. This discovery makes it clear that the Moon has inherited the original noble gases of the Earth.

The researchers used a state-of-the-art noble gas mass spectrometer at ETH Zurich’s Noble Gas Laboratory named Tom Dooley. It is so sensitive that it is the only instrument in the world capable of detecting the minimum concentrations of helium and neon.

Thanks to this, they were able to measure sub-millimetre glass particles from the meteorite and ruled out the solar wind as the source of the known gas. They found that helium and neon were much more abundant than previously thought.

Professor Heiner Bussmann from ETH Zurich said this knowledge could help scientists in geochemistry and geophysics build new models that show how gases in this solar system may have survived planet formation.

The latest study on the origin of the Moon is published in the journal Science Advances.


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