Gaia, Theia, Luna…Scientists Try to Piece the Moon Together!

“In our village, folks say God crumbles up the old moon into stars.”

—Alexander Solzhenitsyn, One Day in the Life of Ivan Denisovich

From folklore to science to philosophy, man can’t seem to write enough about the moon!

Rumor has it, Luna (latin:moon) was born when Gaia (early Earth) was smashed by a protoplanet, Theia that made up our moon out of the coalesced bits except the rocks ascertained by Apollo missions, do not seem to contain any elements other than that on Earth.

This suggests Theia had exactly the same geochemical make up as Earth (unlikely if one considers the mineral rich and variegated planetary atmospheres in our solar system) or the moon is an artificial construct, mined from Earth (likely to anyone wearing the tinfoil hat).

Now, a team of Israeli planetary physicists have revisited an old theory and verified after a gamut of simulations, that not one but multiple collisions on earth by several objects could have flung enough material unto earth orbit to form as many as twenty moonlets that got baked into one.

This theory actually explains why only the chemistry of our world is so pronounced on the moon, as the relative strength of other worldly minerals and rocks would have weakened in the mashup that followed. Yet the team admits, they need to piece the final puzzle of how the moonlets came together, although this is already creating a buzz among researchers.

So, what was the night sky like if this premise is true? Try picture the phases of our moon all happening at once in slow mo, many moons ago…



Bhaskar Dutta is a writer and IT specialist based in London.

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