The U.S. has not made a manned trip to the moon since December 1972. During the more than 40 years since that mission, scientists have continued to study rocks brought back from its surface. Their studies have recently uncovered the possible true age of the moon.
Knowing its age might prove to be particularly important because it could in turn reveal the true age of the earth itself. It also tells the story of how it was formed and why its relation to the Earth is important to the survival of mankind.
The Possible True Age of the Moon Revealed
Scientists have continued to study the moon rocks brought back from the most recent such manned mission in 1972. The rocks contain minerals called zircons that contain organic material which tell the story of the moon’s creation and also how long it has hung in the skies of the Universe.
Scientists initially thought the little planet was anywhere from 40 to 140 billion years younger than it actually might be. The study of these rocks, however, indicate that it could be much older than scientists originally theorized and that it may have been created after a collision with the newly formed Earth.
In fact, scientists believe that the moon formed after it collided as a fledgling planet with the Earth itself. The scientists have dubbed the original infant form of it as being Theia. The collision initially led to the moon being formed as a liquid embryo planet.
However, over time, the liquid surface solidified and became the orbit that we now know as belonging to the Earth. However, none of these theories are set in stone and could change as scientists continue to study the moon rocks.
As technology advances, it could reveal new facts about the moon and its relationship to the Earth. It also could reveal its true age, which may be younger or much older than scientists believe, in the near future.
Plans to Return to the Moon’s Surface
So why has not the U.S. returned to the moon’s surface since 1971? In reality, scientists argue that no need existed to return to the moon. The scientific community had plenty of material to study, and no new material could be found that would further the work of scientists to map out and identify the true age of the moon.
However, NASA recently announced that it was making plans to launch another manned mission to the moon, this time in conjunction with Russia. The Russian space program has agreed to partner with the U.S. to return to the moon in the hopes of discovering new facts about its surface.
Interestingly enough, both countries also plan to use the manned moon mission as a platform in their individual plans to launch manned missions to the surface of Mars. The technology that they utilize in this newest manned moon mission could also be used in the trip to Mars.
The mission to the moon could very well be a test run in what could eventually lay out plans for both countries to embark on a voyage to Mars. Nonetheless, the moon mission is planned for sometime in the 2020s.
This time frame allows scientists in both countries to formulate technologies that could become useful for future missions to Mars and maybe other planets.
The moon is undoubtedly billions of years old. How many billions of years remains a bit of a mystery that continues to be unraveled by scientists in NASA and other countries like Russia. The plans to travel together to the surface of the moon are in the early stages for both NASA and the Russian space program, for now.
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