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Apollo 14 astronauts found the oldest stone on earth – on the moon

The "moonstone" was likely to collide with the moon after an impact threw it 4 billion years ago, according to a study published Thursday in Earth and Planetary Science Letters.

The researchers believe that a large comet is the case or an asteroid hit the earth and sent the rock through the atmosphere into space. The stone could make this accidental collision with the Moon because it was three times closer to Earth at that time.

The rock contains quartz, feldspar and zirconium, which are very common on Earth, but less so on the moon.

An analysis of the rock revealed that it formed with oxygen at temperatures associated with the Earth and in an Earth-like environment. It crystallized between 4 and 4.1

billion years ago, when the earth was young, about 12.4 miles below the surface.

If it had formed on the moon, it would have reflected different temperature conditions. It is also unusual for a moon sample, the researchers said. It would have formed deep in the moon in the mantle, where scientists believe that different rock compositions can be found.

  This collision enabled life on Earth, the study said.

. But if the rock has formed so far below The surface of the earth, how was it thrown off? The researchers believe that one or more impact events on the surface of the planet revealed the stone before its launch. At that time, the Earth would have experienced asteroid impacts capable of producing craters hundreds of miles wide.

On the lunar surface, the rock mixed with other materials. The new analysis revealed that it could have been impacted and even partially melted 3.9 billion years ago, burying it beneath the surface and forming a "new" stone – essentially a time capsule from the dawn of the solar system.

Then, 26 million years ago, an asteroid hit the moon and created the cone crater, which is 0.2 miles wide. This helped throw the stone back onto the lunar surface.

  Asteroid impacts on the earth and the moon have increased since the dinosaurs have lived

The astronauts They collected from Apollo 14 nearly exactly 48 years ago – between January 31 and February 6, 1971 – they thought it was an organic sample that would provide information about the moon and its composition.

The international rock exploration research team developed techniques to find impact fragments in the lunar soil. David Kring, chief investigator at the Center for Lunar Science and Exploration, asked his team to find some ground on the moon. And he believes that more can be found.

The center is part of the NASA Research Institute for Solar System Research.

Kring expects that some geologists in the scientific community will not accept the finding because it appears controversial. Considering that the Earth was impacted during the Hadean era when the planet formed 4.6 billion years ago, Moonborne lands seem to be no surprise to Kring and his team.

"It's an extraordinary find that helps draw a better picture of the early Earth and the bombardments that changed our planet at dawn of life," Kring said in a statement.

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