We have been counting the moon’s age wrong all these years. Thanks to samples of lunar rocks gathered during NASA’s Apollo 14 mission, scientists were able to figure out its precise age.
Moon Holds So Much Magic
It looks like the biggest light in the night is indeed older than we thought. In fact, analysis of rocks may prove it has been created 4.51 billion years ago, 60 million years after the solar system first formed.
The scientists involved in the study conducted a uranium-lead dating on the fragments of the mineral zircon. The minerals were extracted from the Apollo 14 lunar samples. The pieces were minuscule, no bigger than a grain of sand.
“Size doesn’t matter, they record amazing information nonetheless!” lead author Melanie Barboni of the University of California, said via email to Fox News. Barboni noted that the moon holds “so much magic … the key to understand how our beautiful Earth formed and evolved.”
Debris that was knocked off from Earth created the moon. It is suggested to be roughly 4.54 billion years old. Some of the eight zircon samples used in a previous study utilized more limited techniques.
The Moon Is Way Older Than We Thought
According to Barboni, she’s looking into more zircons from Apollo 14 samples. However, she is not expecting it would change her estimated result of 4.51 billion years. Possibly 4.52 billion years would be the littlest change.
“It would be more a double-checking than anything else,” Barboni explained. She and her colleagues’ study appeared in the journal Science Advances on Wednesday. Despite the recent result they discovered, they are still eager to learn more about the moon’s history. “We finally pinned down a minimum age for the moon formation,” Barboni added, “regardless of how it formed.”
Back in February 1971, while exploring the moon’s Fra Mauro highlands, Alan Shepard and Edgar Mitchell of Apollo 11 collected 92 pounds of rocks and used tubes to dig up soil. They spent a total of nine hours conducting spacewalks out on the lunar surface.