The Moon is often something that we take for granted here on Earth, since we can catch a glimpse of it almost every single day. The gigantic pie in the sky is Earth’s stellar companion, and both bodies share gravitational effects on each other. It seems though that the Earth and Moon share a lot more than just the same zip code, as their chemical signatures are strangely similar. Perhaps you have never thought of why the Moon is there, how it got there, or what it’s made up of, but there are plenty of scientists who do. Many scientists from around the world have been working on models for how the solar system formed, but figuring out how the Moon got there isn’t quite so easy.
Earth And Moon Are Made Of Similar Materials From 4.5 Billion Years Ago
The other inner planets do not have moons, meaning that Mercury, Venus, and Mars do not have heavenly companions like the Moon in regular orbit around them. This sort of makes the Earth unique, which it practically is for many reasons. The gas giants in our solar system are the planets that have moons, many of them in some cases. Their larger mass makes them more attractive to smaller objects, and also gives them a gravitational field that could influence the formation of satellite bodies.
The material that makes up the Earth, on the other hand, would not have likely spun off and created a companion anywhere near the size that the Moon is. The Moon is massive compared to the relational size of the other planets and their moons. There is something different here that just needs to be figured out.
A popular theory known as the Giant Impact Hypothesis is that the Earth and the Moon collides nearly 4.5 billion years ago during the early formation of our solar system. This theory can be proven with certain models, but it is not always easy to prove. The solar system was likely formed up of disks of material orbiting around out forming Sun in the early years. These strands of matter became somewhat stratified, with the denser materials making their way toward the center closer to the Sun. The lighter materials tended to move towards the outer reaches, having a lesser gravitational attraction to our star.
Since no two planets share the same regular orbit, it seems most likely that these materials began to to collide into one another, fusing into masses. As one section began to grow, it would slow down and begin to attract in the orbiting material from within it’s band around the Sun. These materials, combined with gravitational forces over time to eventually create the planets, and the remaining debris became scattered across the asteroid belt, Oort cloud, and other places nearby.
For the Moon to form so close to Earth, and within our orbital range, it had to either be formed somewhat simultaneously at the roughly the same distance away from the Sun, or it had to have formed elsewhere and collided with out planet. Most astrophysicists and planetary scientists tend to favor the cataclysmic theory centered around collision, but it could be very possible that the Earth and Moon were just made up of similar materials in a similar orbit and were destined to find one another.
The Moon remains locked in an orbit around the Earth, only rotating once on its axis per revolution around the Earth. From our point of view, it is as if the Moon never turns in space since it appears locked in the sky. Moons around other planets in out solar system do not behave this way, and they also do not share such identical chemical signatures to their parents as the Earth and the Moon share with each other.
Perhaps the Earth and Moon are just the product of a planetary collision, but either way it will take scientists a bit longer to prove exactly how it all happened.
Earth And Moon Are Made Of Similar Materials From 4.5 Billion Years Ago.