Earth was born wet, a new study of moon rocks finds.
My article in Nature, Ephemeral Third Ring of Radiation Makes Appearance Around Earth, discusses how twin spacecraft studying the Van Allen radiation belt overturned a fifty year old model: Instead of seeing two rings of high-energy particles circling the Earth, an unexpected third ring has been found.
Although there is wide consensus on the theory that the moon formed through the collision of Earth and another object, the specifics of that theory are still not certain. And two new papers published in Science present two new significantly different takes on those specifics.
My latest article is about new research that adds to the uncertainty of how the Moon was formed by looking at the Moon’s isotopic composition:
Question over theory of lunar formation
A chemical analysis of lunar rocks may force scientists to revise the leading theory for the Moon’s formation: that the satellite was born when a Mars-sized body smacked into the infant Earth some 4.5 billion years ago.
If that were the case, the Moon ought to bear the chemical signature of both Earth and its proposed ‘second’ parent. But a study published today in Nature Geoscience1 suggests that the Moon’s isotopic composition reflects only Earth’s contribution.