Lunar rock samples reveal the moon is ’200million years younger than previously thought’

The moon could be younger than previously thought, according to scientists.

The prevailing theory of the moon’s origin is that it was created by a giant impact between a large planet-like object and Earth.

The energy of the impact was sufficiently high that the moon formed from melted material that was ejected into space. As the moon cooled, this magma solidified into different mineral components.

Now detailed analysis of lunar rock samples thought to have been derived from the original magma has given scientists a new estimate of the moon’s age at 4.36billion years.

According to this theory for lunar formation, a rock type called ferroan anorthosite – or FAN – is the oldest of the moon’s crustal rocks, but scientists have had difficulty dating FAN samples.

The research team, led by Lars Borg of the Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory in California, used newly refined techniques to determine the age of a sample of FAN from the lunar rock collection at the Nasa Johnson Space Centre.

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