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.
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
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
Prof. Dr. Addi Bischoff
University of Münster
Institute for Planetology
Wilhelm-Klemm-Str. 10, 48149 Münster, Germany
Phone +49 251 83-33465
Thomas Richter | Georg-August-Universität Göttingen
Diving robots find Antarctic seas exhale surprising amounts of carbon dioxide in winter
16.08.2018 | National Science Foundation
Diving robots find Antarctic winter seas exhale surprising amounts of carbon dioxide
15.08.2018 | University of Washington
There are currently great hopes for solid-state batteries. They contain no liquid parts that could leak or catch fire. For this reason, they do not require cooling and are considered to be much safer, more reliable, and longer lasting than traditional lithium-ion batteries. Jülich scientists have now introduced a new concept that allows currents up to ten times greater during charging and discharging than previously described in the literature. The improvement was achieved by a “clever” choice of materials with a focus on consistently good compatibility. All components were made from phosphate compounds, which are well matched both chemically and mechanically.
The low current is considered one of the biggest hurdles in the development of solid-state batteries. It is the reason why the batteries take a relatively long...
New design tool automatically creates nanostructure 3D-print templates for user-given colors
Scientists present work at prestigious SIGGRAPH conference
Most of the objects we see are colored by pigments, but using pigments has disadvantages: such colors can fade, industrial pigments are often toxic, and...
Scientists at the University of California, Los Angeles present new research on a curious cosmic phenomenon known as "whistlers" -- very low frequency packets...
Scientists develop first tool to use machine learning methods to compute flow around interactively designable 3D objects. Tool will be presented at this year’s prestigious SIGGRAPH conference.
When engineers or designers want to test the aerodynamic properties of the newly designed shape of a car, airplane, or other object, they would normally model...
Researchers from TU Graz and their industry partners have unveiled a world first: the prototype of a robot-controlled, high-speed combined charging system (CCS) for electric vehicles that enables series charging of cars in various parking positions.
Global demand for electric vehicles is forecast to rise sharply: by 2025, the number of new vehicle registrations is expected to reach 25 million per year....
17.08.2018 | Event News
08.08.2018 | Event News
27.07.2018 | Event News
20.08.2018 | Information Technology
20.08.2018 | Life Sciences
20.08.2018 | Information Technology