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Location: UFOUpDatesList.Com > 1997 > Nov > Nov 17

Re: Study Estimates Age of the Moon

From: RSchatte@aol.com
Date: Mon, 17 Nov 1997 07:03:38 -0500 (EST)
Fwd Date: Mon, 17 Nov 1997 10:04:43 -0500
Subject: Re: Study Estimates Age of the Moon


---------------------
Forwarded message:
Subj:    Study Estimates Age of the Moon
Date:    97-11-16 12:15:43 EST
From:    AOL News

.c The Associated Press

      By A.J. DICKERSON
      DETROIT (AP) - The moon's age is finally getting pinned down.
      Of course, age is relative in a universe billions of years old.
A new study narrows the moon's age down to a 20-million-year range.
      Using a new tool to study lunar rocks, University of Michigan
scientists have narrowed the time of the moon's formation to
between 4.52 billion and 4.50 billion years ago.
      Scientists believe the planets in our solar system began forming
about 4.57 billion years ago.
      ``People have come up with ages for rocks on the moon
previously, but they've been rather imprecise. What we've done is
pin down the age of the moon rather precisely,'' geological
sciences professor Alexander Halliday said Nov. 10.
      Research by Halliday, his colleague Der-Chuen Lee and two
University of Tennessee scientists also backs up the ``giant
impact'' theory of how the moon was created.
      ``The basic idea is that a planet about the size of Mars or
perhaps even larger hit the Earth with a glancing blow,'' Halliday
said.
      The lunar rock studies suggest that the moon was formed from
material from the Earth, from the planet that hit Earth or from a
combination of the two.
      If the moon came from the planet that hit Earth, that planet's
composition had to have been similar to the Earth's composition,
Halliday said. The giant impact would have occurred about 50
million years after the start of our solar system.
      Research was done on 21 moon rocks using a recently developed
method to analyze lunar samples. The equipment is capable of
analyzing extremely small samples: in this case, less than a
millionth of a gram of tungsten.
      Tungsten is a metal. The study looked at one isotope, or form,
of tungsten.
      Measurements of the tungsten isotope in moon rocks gave results
that suggest when the moon would have formed, Halliday said.
      The work at Michigan and by Tennessee researchers Gregory Snyder
and Lawrence Taylor looked at several types of moon rocks, said Dr.
Larry Nyquist, manager of the Thermal Ionization Mass Spectrometry
Laboratory at NASA's Johnson Space Center at Houston.
      ``It's a very interesting discovery and something we have to try
to factor into our own measurements,'' he said.
      There are four major theories about how the moon formed:
      Co-accretion: The moon formed in the same place and of the same
materials as the Earth.
      Fission: The moon is a chunk of the Earth that was broken away
from the planet and propelled into orbit by an asteroid impact.
      Giant Impact: The moon was a Mars-size rock that hit the Earth;
a large part, perhaps in the form of molten rock, ricocheted into
an orbit about the planet.
      Capture: The moon was a huge rock that wandered into Earth's
gravitational grasp and was captured in the planet's orbit.

      AP-NY-11-16-97 1202EST
Copyright 1997 The Associated Press.  The information
contained in the AP news report may not be published,
broadcast, rewritten or otherwise distributed without
prior written authority of The Associated Press.


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