This idea about the possibility of the moon forming in a nuclear explosion is at least three years old, but it still doesn't appear in Wikipedia
which lists several different ideas about how the moon may have formed. However the final paper describing this idea was only published about half a
Let's start by examining some of the Wikipedia comments about the moon
The prevailing hypothesis today is that the Earth–Moon system formed as a result of a giant impact, where a Mars-sized body (named Theia)
collided with the newly formed proto-Earth, blasting material into orbit around it, which accreted to form the Moon.
However, this prevailing idea
has some problems:
Despite its accuracy in explaining many lines of evidence, there are still some difficulties that are not fully explained by the giant impact
hypothesis, most of them involving the Moon's composition.
In 2001, a team at the Carnegie Institute of Washington reported the most precise measurement of the isotopic signatures of lunar rocks. To their
surprise, the team found that the rocks from the Apollo program carried an isotopic signature that was identical with rocks from Earth, and were
different from almost all other bodies in the Solar System. Since most of the material that went into orbit to form the Moon was thought to come from
Theia, this observation was unexpected. In 2007, researchers from the California Institute of Technology announced that there was less than a 1%
chance that Theia and Earth had identical isotopic signatures.
Is it a logical inference from those statements that we could conclude there is
less than a 1% chance the prevailing hypothesis is correct? The composition of the moon doesn't seem to match the prevailing giant impactor
There is an alternate hypothesis that Wikipedia doesn't even mention in their list of hypotheses currently:
Did the Moon Form in Natural Nuclear Explosion?
there’s another theory called the fission hypothesis that could account for the similar isotopic content. This idea is that the Earth and Moon
both formed from a rapidly spinning blob of molten rock. This blob was spinning so rapidly that the force of gravity only just overcame the
centrifugal forces at work.
In this system, any slight kick would have ejected a small blob of molten rock into orbit. This blob eventually formed the Moon.
The fission hypothesis has been studied for 150 years but ultimately rejected because nobody has been able to work out where the energy could have
come from to kick a lunar-sized blob into orbit.
Nobody worked it out until about 2010, when the possibility of a nuclear explosion was
Their idea is that centrifugal forces would have concentrated heavier elements such as uranium and thorium near the Earth’s surface on the
equatorial plane. High concentrations of these radioactive elements can lead to nuclear chain reactions which can become supercritical if the
concentrations are high enough.
So if a natural nuclear explosion kicked enough mass off the Earth to form the moon, wouldn't it leave a
radioactive signature on the moon? Yes it would, and looking for that signature is how the theory can be tested:
They also say that there ought to be telltale evidence that such an explosion took place, particularly in the lunar abundance of helium-3 and
xenon -136, which would both have been produced in great quantities in a natural georeactor.
The problem with that is, there's lots of helium-3
on the moon's surface from the solar wind, so sorting that out from the helium-3 from a nuclear explosion would be a challenge. To prove this idea,
we would need to look for helium-3 below the surface where it didn't come from solar wind.
So someday we might be bale to collect better data to confirm, or perhaps reject this theory. But until then, don't you find it interesting that it
might solve the biggest problem with the giant impactor theory? (The problem being that the moon's composition is too much like the Earth and it's
unlikely the impactor's composition would match that of Earth so well).
After reading about this hypothesis, I'm unsure why the giant impactor idea is still the prevailing hypothesis, since the nuclear explosion idea
seems to have a better fit with the composition of the moon.
What does ATS think about this idea about a nuclear explosion forming the moon? Does it seem like it explains the moons composition better than the
prevailing theory about the giant impactor?
Moon May Have Formed in Natural Nuclear
The Moon may have formed in a nuclear explosion
If you prefer more technical information, here's a link to the paper on arXiv:
An Alternative Hypothesis For The Origin Of The Moon