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New Data on the Moon Might Change What Scientists Know About Earth

"There are several important implications of this late moon formation that have not yet been worked out."

Scientists are reporting that the moon might be younger than previously thought, which could change what they know about Earth's early history as well.

moon youngr than thought A full moon on Sept. 19, 2013. New analysis of lunar rocks suggests the moon is younger than previously thought. (AP/Kin Cheung)

In a meeting about the origins of the moon, scientists discussed the leading theory of its creation, citing new evidence that suggests it might have formed 100 million years later than was originally thought.

Most scientists believe a giant collision on Earth from an object about the size Mars blew out a mass of debris, which then came together to form the moon. It was previously thought the moon was 4.56 billion years old, but new analysis of moon rocks dates it at 4.4 billion to 4.45 billion years old, according to Space.com.

These findings were presented at the Royal Society's meeting about the "Origin of the Moon" Monday.

"There are several important implications of this late moon formation that have not yet been worked out," Richard Carlson with the Carnegie Institution for Science said in a statement. "For example, if the Earth was already differentiated prior to the giant impact, would the impact have blown off the primordial atmosphere that formed from this earlier epoch of Earth history?"

In addition to the lunar rocks analyzed to suggest this younger age, scientists also found evidence of major melting on Earth, which they date at 4.45 billion years ago. This, Space.com reported, adds to theory that a major collision event spawned the moon at this age, rather than earlier in Earth's history.

Here's a video that covers some of the scientific thoughts about the formation of the moon:

Featured image via Shutterstock.com.

(H/T: io9)

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