New simulations run on a supercomputer suggest that the planetary body formed in mere hours after being impacted by an object called Theia. The supercomputer revealed new behaviours and details that were not evident with lower-resolution models.
Scientists had previously believed that debris from the collision of Theia came together to form the Moon over months or years.
A researcher at Durham University and co-author of the study, Vincent Eke, said the information about the formation of the Moon reveals the evolution of Earth itself. Lunar rock samples are similar to rocks on Earth, suggesting that the material making up the satellite could have originated on Earth.
Published in The Astrophysical Journal Letters, the new simulation has answered questions about the similarity of rocks between Earth and the Moon, along with questions revolving around the Moon’s thin crust and tiled orbit.
NASA believes additional analysis of lunar samples bought back from future missions might help form accurate theories of the formation of the Moon.