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 Earth Day: Disease spread among species is predictable
24.04.2015 | National Science Foundation

nachricht Warming climate may release vast amounts of carbon from long-frozen Arctic soils
24.04.2015 | University of Georgia

All articles from Earth Sciences >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

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

Im Focus: Fast and Accurate 3-D Imaging Technique to Track Optically-Trapped Particles

KAIST researchers published an article on the development of a novel technique to precisely track the 3-D positions of optically-trapped particles having complicated geometry in high speed in the April 2015 issue of Optica.

Daejeon, Republic of Korea, April 23, 2015--Optical tweezers have been used as an invaluable tool for exerting micro-scale force on microscopic particles and...

Im Focus: NOAA, Tulane identify second possible specimen of 'pocket shark' ever found

Pocket sharks are among the world's rarest finds

A very small and rare species of shark is swimming its way through scientific literature. But don't worry, the chances of this inches-long vertebrate biting...

Im Focus: Drexel materials scientists putting a new spin on computing memory

Ever since computers have been small enough to be fixtures on desks and laps, their central processing has functioned something like an atomic Etch A Sketch, with electromagnetic fields pushing data bits into place to encode data.

Unfortunately, the same drawbacks and perils of the mechanical sketch board have been just as pervasive in computing: making a change often requires starting...

Im Focus: Exploding stars help to understand thunderclouds on Earth

How is lightning initiated in thunderclouds? This is difficult to answer - how do you measure electric fields inside large, dangerously charged clouds? It was discovered, more or less by coincidence, that cosmic rays provide suitable probes to measure electric fields within thunderclouds. This surprising finding is published in Physical Review Letters on April 24th. The measurements were performed with the LOFAR radio telescope located in the Netherlands.

How is lightning initiated in thunderclouds? This is difficult to answer - how do you measure electric fields inside large, dangerously charged clouds? It was...

Im Focus: On the trail of a trace gas

Max Planck researcher Buhalqem Mamtimin determines how much nitrogen oxide is released into the atmosphere from agriculturally used oases.

In order to make statements about current and future air pollution, scientists use models which simulate the Earth’s atmosphere. A lot of information such as...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

HHL Energy Conference on May 11/12, 2015: Students Discuss about Decentralized Energy

23.04.2015 | Event News

“Developing our cities, preserving our planet”: Nobel Laureates gather for the first time in Asia

23.04.2015 | Event News

HHL's Entrepreneurship Conference on FinTech

13.04.2015 | Event News

 
Latest News

Electrons Move Like Light in Three-Dimensional Solid

24.04.2015 | Materials Sciences

Connecting Three Atomic Layers Puts Semiconducting Science on Its Edge

24.04.2015 | Materials Sciences

Understanding the Body’s Response to Worms and Allergies

24.04.2015 | Health and Medicine

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>