The re-analysis of the lunar materials collected during the mission of Apollo 14 led to a rather astounding conclusion: one of the returned rocks appeared. to contain a small piece of land dating back to about 4 billion years. It is unbelievable that it is now among the oldest earth rocks that are known to exist.
New research published this week in Earth and Planetary Scientific Letters claim that a fragment of stones embedded in the 14321 – two pound lunar sample, known as Big Bertha, is terrestrial. The fragment has probably reached the surface of the moon after an asteroid or a comet hit the Earth, throwing debris into space. Leading authors of the new study, Jeremy Belluci of the Swedish Museum of Natural History and Alexander Nemcine of the University of Curtin in Australia, say this happened about 4 billion years ago during Haden Eon – a time when the fallen land was regularly hit by large objects. Big Bertha was gathered by NASA astronauts Alan Shepherd and Edgar Mitchell in 1971 during Apollo's 14 million for the formation of Fra Mauro. This rock, along with other lunar samples, is stored in the moon courage facility at the Johnson Space Center in Houston, Texas. Sample 14321 is special in that it is rich in clusters, crystalline matrix broccoli.
"In terms of ordinary people, this means that it is a rock made of a mixture of previously existing rocks and fragments of rocks, as well as melt material and the impact element formed during a major impact or series of shocks Moon "professor at the Scripps Institute of Oceanography, who did not participate in the new study, told Gizmodo. "The sample is described as a" treasure chest "containing many rocks."
Moon sample 14321 with an arrow indicating the location of the visible fragment of the Earth. Katie Robinson, a postdoctoral candidate at the Center for Research and Research of LPI AD and co-author of the new study, sample 14321 has been recognized as unusual for a long time – and we are now only assessing how unusual it is in reality. Packed in this lunar breccia is a 2-gram Felsit cluster – a fine volcanic rock containing fragments of phallitis, including quartz, feldspar and zircon. These materials are usually found on Earth, but they are very unusual on the Moon. Indeed, chemical analysis of the sample suggests that it is formed in terrestrial rather than lunar conditions.
"What we did was to use the composition of the minerals in the fragment to show that it was formed under conditions that only met on Earth," said Robinson to Gizmodo. For example, the composition of some minerals is sensitive to temperature and pressure; they contain more or less different elements if they crystallize in hot or cold and / or deep or shallow environments. Other minerals can indicate whether the scale is formed in the presence of too much oxygen or in a very oxygen environment. Our data suggests that this fragment is formed at a higher pressure, higher in oxygen and lower than in the Moon. Essentially, it had to come from a similar Earth environment.
Obviously, the moon just had a Earth-like environment adjacent to Earth. The fact that the old asteroid impact can throw pieces of earth debris into space and on the surface of the Moon is not a ridiculous idea. Already during the Hades, asteroids regularly produced thousands of kilometers of diameters. The effects of this magnitude were able to extract material from depth into the earth's surface. The apparent terrestrial fragment found in Big Bertha was formed about 20 kilometers below the Earth's surface – a depth that is not inaccessible to these ancient asteroids.
An artist's description of an atheroid killed by the earth during Hadane. Another possibility, according to the new study, is that the fragment crystallizes on the Moon. But to do this, the material had to have formed deep in the moon near its moon and there was no good reason to get it to the surface. The simplest explanation, the researchers say, is that it has come from Earth.
Speaking of the lunar surface, it seems surprising that the Apollo astronauts were able to find this breakthrough so easily. In fact, billions of years of continuous accumulation of lunar dust, known as regolith, should obscure the traces of this rock. But as Robinson explains, Big Bertha
was covered with reggolite, but not enough to bury it completely. To explain her presence on the moon's surface, she said the breccia was once buried but returned to the surface after a cone crater, a 300-meter crater near the landing site of Apollo 14 – a very common process of the moon, "she added. A fascinating aspect of this discovery is that this lunar sample of apparently earthly origin is truly ancient. At approximately 4 billion to 4.1 billion years, the terrestrial zirconium mineral present in the sample is now among the oldest known to exist. The press release of the USRA has gone so far as to declare it the "oldest" rock on Earth, but that is not quite right, as Matthew Dodd, a geologist at University College, London. the zircon mineral in the lunar sample is quoted at about 4.01 billion years, making it a very old part of the Earth (if this study is correct), but that is not the oldest, "said Dod Gizmodo. "There are zircons on Earth from 4.4 to 4.3 billion years that come from Western Australia."