New research has been published that suggests the moon is massively younger than scientists previously believed. The new research suggests that the moon is between 4.4 billion and 4.45 billion years old. That finding makes it tens of millions of years younger than previously believed.
Scientists say that this finding could reshape the way science understands the early Earth and the moon. One theory on how the moon was created holds that a planet the size of Mars or larger slammed into the Earth about 4.56 billion years ago. That collision is believed to have happened shortly after the solar system was created.
The moons new age estimate comes from analyzing lunar rocks, which suggested a much younger age for the Earth's satellite. Scientists say that it is easy to estimate the age of smaller objects, such as asteroids. However, it's tougher to estimate the age of larger celestial bodies such as the moon and planets.
Some scientists believe that after the moon was formed from the material left over by the ancient planet striking the Earth it also held a global ocean of molten rock. Scientists say that the most precise age we currently have for rocks that came from that molten lava ocean when the moon is 4.360 billion years. The scientists also note that evidence has been found on Earth in several locations that a major melting event occurred about 4.45 billion years ago. Some scientists believe that is evidence of the major collision that created the moon, which supports the younger moon theory.