It’s more than 45 years when the astronauts Apollo 14 brought nearly 100 pounds of stone and soil from the lunar surface. All of them have already died, but have privileged the astronauts with a solid answer to the historic cosmic puzzle about the formation of the Moon. After analyzing the rocks and soils brought by the dead astronauts like Alan Shepard, Edgar Mitchell, and Stuart Roosa, two Berkeley-based scientists have determined the age of the solar system and the moon.
The 33-year-old Swiss-born geochemist Mélanie Barboni at UCLA and her 27-year-old colleague C. Brenhin Keller have determined that moon was configured nearly 4.51 billion years ago, around 60 million years following the formation of our solar system. The moon rocks and soils, collected from six American lunar space probes are carefully stored at Johnson Space Center in Houston, owned by NASA. By analyzing these ancient zircons samples, the UCLA research geochemist, and her postdoctoral geochemist colleague at the Berkeley Geochronology Center concluded the particular age of the only natural satellite of the Earth.
The researcher published a new lunar analysis report on Monday, according to which, “moon – the only natural satellite and the constant companion of earth were configured for some 4.5 billion years ago, because of the reaction of smaller bodies bumping into an emergent earth. The pieces of lunar rocks, gathered by Alan Shepard and some other astronauts of Apollo 14 have now helped the California-led analyst team to determine the age of the moon.
The first lunar theory about the birth of moon and sun was proposed in the middle of 1970s, followed by another hypothesis, suggested in 1980s. The theory suggested that, due to multiple collisions, the tide creating satellite of the earth was formed. The hypothesis also suggested that the formation of solar system took place nearly 567 billion years ago, followed by the configuration of moon nearly 100 million years later. However, the recently proposed hypothesis has revived the existing suppositions and revealed that; the moon was formed 4.51-billion years ago, almost 60 million years after the birth of the planetary system.
The researchers used the high-precision methods to recognize the speed at which traces of uranium in most of the lunar rocks send out their emission and decompose over many millions of years to become motionless forms of lead. The scientists also took the help of known speed of decomposing of the lesser-known radioactive material called lutetium into the static constituent hafnium for defining the age of the moon.