Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

Moon formed after collision of planets

06.06.2014

Göttingen scientists confirm “Giant impact“ theory – Lunar samples analyzed at Göttingen University

Scientists from the Universities of Göttingen, Cologne, and Münster in Germany have resolved an isotopic difference between the Earth and the Moon.

The slight variation in oxygen isotopes confirms the “Giant impact“ hypothesis of Moon formation, according to which the Moon formed from the debris of a giant collision between the Earth and another proto-Planet about 4.5 billion years ago. The results were published in the journal Science.

In the Stable Isotope Laboratory at Göttingen University’s Geoscience Centre, the scientists analyzed samples from the Moon that were provided by NASA. The lunar basalts were brought back to Earth between 1969 and 1972 with Apollo Missions 11, 12, and 16.

They released the oxygen from the rocks, purified it and measured the pure oxygen gas in the mass spectrometer. “For the first time, we were able to show a subtle difference between the rare 17O isotope and the abundant 16O isotope,” explains Dr. Daniel Herwartz, who lead the study at Göttingen University and is now employed at the University of Cologne.

“The similar isotopic composition of Earth and Moon appeared to be at odds with the giant impact hypothesis, because numerical models of the collision predicted a difference. The difference we found is smaller than initially predicted, but that might be due to the fact that both planets originated from the same region of the solar system.”

Only a few laboratories worldwide are able to measure the rare 17O isotope at all. “For the last three years, staff and students in Göttingen have persistently worked on improving the analytical procedure,” says Prof. Dr. Andreas Pack, head of the Stable Isotope Laboratory at Göttingen University’s Geoscience Centre.

“The results of this study show that this effort has paid off.” Some of the data were measured by student Bjarne Friedrichs for his Bachelor’s thesis.

Original publication: Daniel Herwartz, Andreas Pack, Bjarne Friedrichs, Addi Bischoff. Identification of the giant impactor Theia in lunar rocks. Science 2014. Doi: 10.1126/science.1251117.

Contact:
Dr. Daniel Herwartz
University of Cologne – Environmental Isotope Geochemistry
Greinstraße 4-6, 50939 Köln, Germany
Phone +49 221 470-3240 or +49 177 319 4278
Email: d.herwartz@uni-koeln.de

Prof. Dr. Andreas Pack
University of Göttingen
Geoscience Centre – Department of Isotope Geology
Goldschmidtstraße 3, 37077 Göttingen, Germany
Phone +49 551 39-12254 or +49 175 298 1638
Email: apack@uni-goettingen.de

Prof. Dr. Addi Bischoff
University of Münster
Institute for Planetology
Wilhelm-Klemm-Str. 10, 48149 Münster, Germany
Phone +49 251 83-33465
E-Mail: bischoa@uni-muenster.de

Weitere Informationen:

http://www.geologie.uni-koeln.de/1720.html
http://www.uni-goettingen.de/en/77365.html
http://www.uni-muenster.de/Planetology/ifp/personen/bischoff_addi/addihome.html

Thomas Richter | Georg-August-Universität Göttingen

Further reports about: Earth Environmental Geoscience Identification Moon Planetology collision difference isotope lunar

More articles from Earth Sciences:

nachricht Water - as the underlying driver of the Earth’s carbon cycle
17.01.2017 | Max-Planck-Institut für Biogeochemie

nachricht Modeling magma to find copper
13.01.2017 | Université de Genève

All articles from Earth Sciences >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: How gut bacteria can make us ill

HZI researchers decipher infection mechanisms of Yersinia and immune responses of the host

Yersiniae cause severe intestinal infections. Studies using Yersinia pseudotuberculosis as a model organism aim to elucidate the infection mechanisms of these...

Im Focus: Interfacial Superconductivity: Magnetic and superconducting order revealed simultaneously

Researchers from the University of Hamburg in Germany, in collaboration with colleagues from the University of Aarhus in Denmark, have synthesized a new superconducting material by growing a few layers of an antiferromagnetic transition-metal chalcogenide on a bismuth-based topological insulator, both being non-superconducting materials.

While superconductivity and magnetism are generally believed to be mutually exclusive, surprisingly, in this new material, superconducting correlations...

Im Focus: Studying fundamental particles in materials

Laser-driving of semimetals allows creating novel quasiparticle states within condensed matter systems and switching between different states on ultrafast time scales

Studying properties of fundamental particles in condensed matter systems is a promising approach to quantum field theory. Quasiparticles offer the opportunity...

Im Focus: Designing Architecture with Solar Building Envelopes

Among the general public, solar thermal energy is currently associated with dark blue, rectangular collectors on building roofs. Technologies are needed for aesthetically high quality architecture which offer the architect more room for manoeuvre when it comes to low- and plus-energy buildings. With the “ArKol” project, researchers at Fraunhofer ISE together with partners are currently developing two façade collectors for solar thermal energy generation, which permit a high degree of design flexibility: a strip collector for opaque façade sections and a solar thermal blind for transparent sections. The current state of the two developments will be presented at the BAU 2017 trade fair.

As part of the “ArKol – development of architecturally highly integrated façade collectors with heat pipes” project, Fraunhofer ISE together with its partners...

Im Focus: How to inflate a hardened concrete shell with a weight of 80 t

At TU Wien, an alternative for resource intensive formwork for the construction of concrete domes was developed. It is now used in a test dome for the Austrian Federal Railways Infrastructure (ÖBB Infrastruktur).

Concrete shells are efficient structures, but not very resource efficient. The formwork for the construction of concrete domes alone requires a high amount of...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

12V, 48V, high-voltage – trends in E/E automotive architecture

10.01.2017 | Event News

2nd Conference on Non-Textual Information on 10 and 11 May 2017 in Hannover

09.01.2017 | Event News

Nothing will happen without batteries making it happen!

05.01.2017 | Event News

 
Latest News

How gut bacteria can make us ill

18.01.2017 | Life Sciences

On track to heal leukaemia

18.01.2017 | Health and Medicine

Water - as the underlying driver of the Earth’s carbon cycle

17.01.2017 | Earth Sciences

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>