Thursday, August 18, 2011

Our lost moon

According to a new theory, our planet may have had two moons in the past, the one we have to this day and a smaller companion. A slow motion collision between the two is believed to have created the mountainous highlands on the moon's far side, by debris from the second moon. This could explain why the side of the moon facing the Earth and the side facing away have strikingly different topographies. Scientists have proposed various theories to explain this assymetry, however this new theory, the giant impact hypothesis, explains exactly this fact. 

Many experts believe a Mars sized object collided with Earth early in the solar system's history, ejecting debris that was later drawn together by gravity to form the moon. It is a belief that the second moon was also generated by the giant impact, remaining in orbit for tens of millions of years. According to this theory, the two moons collided relatively slowly. This concluded in the formation of the mountainous region on the far side of our moon. Nevertheless this is merely a hypothesis, an interesting one if your ask me.

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