Impact origin of the moon?

Erik Asphaug

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

26 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

Earth formed in a series of giant impacts, and the last one made the Moon. This idea, an edifice of post-Apollo science, can explain the Moon's globally melted silicate composition, its lack of water and iron, and its anomalously large mass and angular momentum. But the theory is seriously called to question by increasingly detailed geochemical analysis of lunar rocks. Lunar samples should be easily distinguishable from Earth, because the Moon derives mostly from the impacting planet, in standard models of the theory. But lunar rocks are the same as Earth in O, Ti, Cr, W, K, and other species, to measurement precision. Some regard this as a repudiation of the theory; others say it wants a reformation. Ideas put forward to salvage or revise it are evaluated, alongside their relationships to past models and their implications for planet formation and Earth.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)551-578
Number of pages28
JournalAnnual Review of Earth and Planetary Sciences
Volume42
DOIs
StatePublished - 2014

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natural satellites
Moon
moon
lunar rocks
planets
planet
angular momentum
rock
silicates
silicate
momentum
iron
water

Keywords

  • Accretion
  • Collisions
  • Moon formation
  • Planets

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Earth and Planetary Sciences (miscellaneous)
  • Astronomy and Astrophysics
  • Space and Planetary Science

Cite this

Impact origin of the moon? / Asphaug, Erik.

In: Annual Review of Earth and Planetary Sciences, Vol. 42, 2014, p. 551-578.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Asphaug, Erik. / Impact origin of the moon?. In: Annual Review of Earth and Planetary Sciences. 2014 ; Vol. 42. pp. 551-578.
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