So I’m reading the news today, and I follow news updates by NASA and one particular story caught my attention:
Earth’s Oldest known Rock Was Found on the Moon
The story talks about the age of rocks on this planet being pretty old, but none of them date back as far as the birth of the planet, 4.5 billion years ago. Up to now, the oldest rocks we’ve found are about 2 billion years old, but scientists have recently announced that they have found a rock that dates back to about 4 billion years, and I don’t mean the Rolling Stones.
The twist in this tale, is that the rock was found on the moon.
It was brought back to Earth by the Apollo 14 mission back in the early 70s, It’s just taken scientists this long to analyse this particular rock. They concluded it came from the Earth based on the amount and type of minerals within it. They can even tell it was formed 12 miles beneath the Earth’s crust.
So How Did it End Up on the Moon?
There a few reasons: two provided by scientists may be the front runners, with one clear favourite, and one reason provided by me (not a scientist).
- The best possibility, is that at some point in the past (not last week, further back), a giant asteroid collided with the still-forming Earth, forcefully ejecting debris into space, some of which could have landed on the moon.
- The rock could have formed on the moon. Unlikely, but not impossible. It would have to be formed from a lot of Earth-type minerals, and not many moon-type materials. Oh, it would also need to have been formed in the moon’s core, then somehow made its way to the surface. If there are miners living on the moon that we don’t know about (Clangers, anyone?), that could happen I suppose.
That’s all well and good, but I think my reason is just as feasible:
One of the astronauts picked up a rock out in the mountains one day, took it with him on Apollo 17, then brought it back and sat ‘Look what I found!’
Can You Imagine?
Can you imagine that you’re an astronaut that has been shot from the face of the Earth at three times the force of gravity, reached speeds over 7 miles per SECOND, crossed almost 240,000 miles of space, been one of only 12 people to ever set foot on on ground that wasn’t Earth?
Imagine all that, then imagine you brought a rock back from the surface of the moon, told all your friends, only to find out that you’re brought back something you could have got from your back garden (not quite)? You’d be gutted.
Views of the moon this month
So I’ve been trying my hand at photographing the moon this month. It’s a hobby, and the telescope I have is not super-powerful, but I think they’re okay for a first attempt. I’ve coloured one or two of the images, in case you wondered.
No Clangers in sight. If you don’t know what they are, just try Google…