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Many tiny moons came together to form moon, simulations suggest

Many tiny moons came together to form moon, simulations suggest

One giant impact may not be responsible for Earth’s satellite

By
11:00am, January 9, 2017
moon

MINI MOONS  The moon may have been formed by a series of medium to large impacts that created mini moons that merged, rather than from a single colossal impact.

The moon is made of moons, new simulations suggest. Instead of a single colossal collision forming Earth’s cosmic companion, researchers propose that a series of medium to large impacts created mini moons that eventually coalesced to form one giant moon.

This mini-moon amalgamation explains why the moon has an Earthlike chemical makeup, the researchers propose January 9 in Nature Geoscience.

“I think this is a real contender in with the other moon-forming scenarios,” says Robin Canup, a planetary scientist at the Southwest Research Institute in Boulder, Colo., who was not involved in the new work. “This out-of-the-box idea isn’t any less probable — and it might be more probable — than the other existing scenarios.”

A collision between Earth and a Mars-sized object called Theia around 4.5 billion years ago is the current leading candidate for how

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