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Planetary scientist Raluca Rufu of the Weizmann Institute of Science in Rehovot, Israel, and colleagues dusted off a decades-old, largely disregarded hypothesis that the moon instead formed from multiple impacts. In this scenario, the early Earth was hit by a series of objects a hundredth to a tenth of Earth’s mass. Each impact could have created a disk of debris around Earth that assembled into a moonlet, the researchers’ simulations show. Over tens of millions of years, about 20 moonlets could have ultimately combined to form the moon.
Multiple impacts help explain why Earth and the moon are chemically similar. For example, each impact may have hit Earth at a different angle, excavating more earthly material into space than a singular impact would.
The single impact hypothesis has about a 1 to 2 percent chance of yielding the right lunar mix based on the makeup of potential impactors in the solar system. In the researchers’ simulations, the multiple impact scenario is correct tens of percent of the time.
originally posted by: zosimov
Tens of percent of the time? Is that meant to be convincing?
ATS, what do you think about this theory? Does it make more sense to you than the single-impact hypothesis? Or is there yet another theory that you are more inclined to believe and why?
originally posted by: choos
10% chance when talking about events like this is, i think, pretty high.
considering that a chance of an extinction level event is excessively unlikely (much much lower than 10%) yet it has still happened a few times.