Scientists have unveiled their newest discovery. They say that our planet is a result of a direct collision between early Earth and a baby planet called Theia. This means that actually, the planet Earth is two planets.
Earth is, in fact, combined with two planets that blended in a direct collision, so severe, it formed the Moon.
Scientists were aware of this collision all the time; however, what they didn’t know, that the collision was rather direct and not of 45 degrees angle. They believed the Moon initiated when Theia grazed the Earth and broke up into space. The debris left apparently formed the Moon, they thought.
If this is what really happened, then the Moon would have had a different chemical composition than the Earth since it would be made mostly out of Theia.
And yes, scientists believed this theory for a long time, but a new research states the Earth is two planets hybrid.
The popular Apollo missions to the Moon brought back research material, such as Moon rocks. Geochemists from the University of California examined them and discovered their oxygen isotopes are the equivalent of the ones on Earth. The analysis included Moon rocks and six volcanic rocks from the Earth’s cover.
The discoveries indicate the collision between the early Earth and Theia was so hard, the two planets rapidly merged together to form a new planet, debris of which the Moon appeared.
“We don’t see any difference between the Earth’s and the Moon’s oxygen isotopes; they’re indistinguishable,” said Edward Young, leader of the study and a UCLA professor.
“Theia was thoroughly mixed into both the Earth and the Moon, and evenly dispersed between them. This explains why we don’t see a different signature of Theia on the Moon versus the Earth.”
The collision with Theia happened approximately 100 million years after the Earth was made, nearly 4.5 billion years ago.
The core of further investigation about the huge collision was a chemical mark scientists noticed in the oxygen atoms of the rocks. More than 99.9% of Earth’s oxygen is O-16. However, there is a tiny amount of heavier oxygen isotopes, O-17.
In 2014, German scientists discovered that the Moon has its own rate of oxygen isotopes, different from Earth’s.
Theia apparently broke up in pieces in the collision. However, it’s still present in the Earth and the Moon, said professor Young.
Young and several other scientists think Theia was almost the same size as the Earth. Although, they believe it was bit smaller, possibly similar to Mars.