Most astronomers believe the young Earth was attacked by a Mars-sized object called
Screenshot of one of the simulators showing how the Moon would have formed from the collision of the young Earth with Theia, a body the size of Mars. Image Credit: Sergio Ruiz-Bonilla
Teia speed, impact angle and rotation speedbodies influenced the collision with the Earth and the formation of the Moon. The research team examined a wide range of possible conditions, from no spin to fast spin and from gliding to more direct hits in their new study. The data made it possible to simulate the collision of Theia with the Earth and the formation of the Moon.
When the simulation tested the impact effectnon-rotating Theia, the collision resulted in a satellite with a mass of about 80% of the Moon. And the addition of a small rotation led to the fact that the second moon was in orbit around the Earth. In doing so, some of the collisions studied led to the merger of the early Earth and Theia, while others showed a simple sliding impact between bodies.
In the video above, you can watch a simulation showing details of an ancient collision between early Earth and a Mars-sized body.
Researchers will continue to refine the models by looking at how mass, speed, rotation, and other factors can affect the impact that formed the moon.
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