April 18, 2024 at 9:25 am

Scientists Confirm The Moon Once Turned Itself Inside Out

by Trisha Leigh

Source: Shutterstock

If you think you’ve heard all there is to hear about our Moon, think again.

I mean, I know Mars is the bright and shiny new destination, but the Moon still has her secrets, too.

Like the fact that it once turned itself inside out.

For decades, scientists have agreed that the Moon was formed by debris that flew off Earth when it collided with another planet around 4.5 billion years ago.

The University of Arizona’s Lunar and Planetary Laboratory issued a press release as far as the “choose-your-own-adventure” that came next.

Source: Shutterstock

And in a new paper published in Nature Geoscience, researchers state the high concentration of titanium found in Moon rocks could be the result of heavy minerals.

Ilmenite, rich in titanium and iron, initially sank to the core before rising back to the surface.

“Our moon literally turned itself inside out,” explains co-author Jeff Andrews-Hanna.

Weigang Liang, the principal author of the study, explained that the Moon began as a vast ocean of magma.

“Because these heavy minerals are denser than the mantle underneath, it creates a gravitational instability. As such, you would expect this layer to sink deeper into the moon’s interior.”

Instead, the titanium-rich rocks mixed with the mantle before melting and then resurfacing.

When Chinese researcher Nan Zhang hypothesized that a large impact may have pushed the minerals to its core, a “light bulb went on.”

Source: Shutterstock

It will take further research and more lunar rock sampling to figure out how and why Moon rocks are so heavy, but Liang says the data adds up.

“Our analyses show that the models and data are telling one remarkably consistent story. When the Artemis astronauts eventually land on the Moon to begin a new era of human exploration, we will have a very different understanding of our neighbor than we did when the Apollo astronauts first set foot on it.”

It’s nice to see the Moon getting some attention.

She was our first love, after all.

If you thought that was interesting, you might like to read a story that reveals Earth’s priciest precious metal isn’t gold or platinum and costs over $10,000 an ounce!