Friday, 26 April, 2019


This rock brought back from the Moon likely came from Earth

Apollo Astronauts May Have Found the Oldest Earth Rock We Know On the Moon This rock brought back from the Moon likely came from Earth
Kristine Garrett | 29 January, 2019, 08:58

"Further impacts on the moon at later times would have mixed the Earth rocks with lunar rocks, including at the future Apollo 14 landing site, where it was collected by astronauts and brought back home to the Earth". It was possible to determine how deep beneath the earth the rock had been with the use of molecular analysis. That rock is the oldest known rock to originate from the Earth, dating back to approximately four billion years.

According to the research, Big Bertha is a two-gram fragment made of quartz, feldspar, and zircon, all commonly found our planet. The moon was about three times closer to Earth than it is today, it should be mentioned.

Kring noted, "The conclusion of a terrestrial origin for the rock fragment will be controversial".

Dr. Katharine Robinson, a postdoctoral researcher at the LPI, was also involved in the study, as were Dr. Marion Grange (Curtin University), Dr. Gareth Collins (Imperial College London), Dr. Martin Whitehouse (Swedish Museum of Natural History), Dr. Josh Snape (Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam), and Prof.

Curtin University research into lunar rock samples retrieved by astronauts nearly 50 years ago has found one of the samples may be originally from Earth, thrown into space when an asteroid struck our planet billions of years ago. These minerals are very rare on the moon but quite common here on Earth. It was partially melted, buried and then excavated by another impact approximately 26 million years ago.

The evidence suggests the rock crystallized below Earth's surface between 4 billion and 4.1 billion years ago, during the Hadean Eon, when the fledgling Earth was regularly struck by large objects.

Since zircon contains uranium, whose half-life is predictable, the researchers were able to date the rock to about 4 to 4.1 billion years ago.

The University of Southampton's Dr Gernon believes we can learn a lot about Earth from looking at the Moon.

The impact resulted in the rock resurfacing, which was then collected by the Nasa astronauts. "There are zircons on Earth of 4.4 to 4.3 billion years old which come from western Australia". Finally, Apollo 14 astronauts found the rock and reunited it with mother Earth.

The fragment is 4 billion to 4.1 billion years old, they say.

"For that reason it provides a neat achieve of impacts, as it is unlike the Earth, which is affected by erosion and plate tectonics that disturb impact craters".

The investigation of an worldwide team of scientists revealed that the sample contains a fragment of ancient crust which scientists believe is very likely to have formed deep beneath the Earth's surface.

It would require the sample to have formed at tremendous depths, in the lunar mantle, where very different rock compositions are anticipated, they said.

"Going back to the Moon to understand how it formed, and how our own planet formed would be a scientific boost, just as the US Apollo and Soviet Luna missions to the Moon were back in the late 1960's and early 1970's", said Day.

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