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No. 42: Nov-Dec 1985

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Origin Of The Moon Debated

In October of 1984, the Conference on the Origin of the Moon convenved in Kona, HI. The clear favorite among the four contending hypotheses was the earth-impact scenario, which may be stated as follows:

"Near the end of the Earth's accretion, after its core had formed and while the growing planet was still molten, an object at least the size of Mars smashed into it at an oblique angle. The cataclysm put large quantities of vaporized or partially vaporized impactor and Earth into orbit. The primitive Moon formed from that material."

Conferees turned thumbs down on the theory that the moon was captured by the earth. Still not ruled out are the double-planet hypothesis (earth and moon accreted in their present configuration) and the fission-from-earth theory.

(Taylor, G. Jeffrey; "Lunar Origin Meeting Favors Impact Theory," Geotimes, 30:16, April 1985.)

Reference. See SF#37 for more details on all four theories mentioned above.

From Science Frontiers #42, NOV-DEC 1985. 1985-2000 William R. Corliss