Imagine looking into the night sky, seeing not just one moon, but two! That is a new theory that scientists are trying to pass about the history of our Earth. No, it is not a joke, as actual astronomical researchers are reviewing information that may reveal how our planet was the host to two moons, at one point!
The suggested theory that is being presented says that Earth had two moons orbiting during her early years. Our current moon was twenty-five times as heavy and three times as wide as it is, right now. A second, smaller moon might have been orbiting our planet, also. Both moons were created from the result of a collision by a nearly planet-sized body with Earth some 4.4 billion years ago.
It is being labeled as a “slow crash”! The moons were gravitationally-bound to each other, and to a point that there was no way to avoid an eventual collision. Albeit at an estimated speed of over 5,000 miles per hour, the slow crash occurred when the smaller moon was captured by the gravitational pull of the larger moon. The impact was lengthy enough and strong enough to create our current moon, which has the varied landscape that we now see.
The “mini moon” probably was caught between the gravitational forces of both the larger moon and Earth. The larger moon is speculated to have been coated by a magma ocean that was covered by a crystalized surface. Mini moon lost to the gravitational power of the larger moon, being drawn into a collision. A seemingly slow impact happened, allowing for the rifts, mountains, and valleys that are on the modern moon to be created.
Researchers are presenting further evidence to support this theory. They state that a collision of two moons would explain why certain factors on the current moon are present. The higher setting of the land on the far side of The Moon could be explained by the impact of another celestial body adding more mass. A large area of rock and rubble was placed onto the larger moon, creating the current moon that has distinctly different surface regions. The far side of The Moon is thicker than the visible side, also giving validation to it having additional mass added by a celestial impact.
NASA’s Lunar Reconnaisance Orbiter will be visiting The Moon during 2012. This mission will allow for the gathering of surface samples, which will be examined to determine the possibility of a prior pounding from an additional moon. Also, new maps of The Moon will be made, which will display how the terrain does vary from one side to the other side.
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