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New dating of lunar rocks add to a growing body of evidence that the Moon and Earth were pelted by a flurry of large meteorites during a relatively brief geologic time span about 3.9 billion years ago.
Known as the "Late Heavy Bombardment," or LHB, this period of heightened meteorite activity would have had important implications for life on Earth, since it coincides roughly with the time that scientists think the first primitive bacteria appeared on our planet.
Researchers examined about 50 different melted rock samples collected by astronauts during the Apollo missions in the late 1960s and 1970s. Using radiometric dating techniques, they found that all but a few of the rocks were between 3.8 and 4 billion years old. Earth itself is about 4.5 billion years old.
Furthermore, many of the samples displayed different chemical "fingerprints," which suggests that they were formed from different meteorites and lunar rocks.