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Earth's oldest known rock found on the moon – scientists explain how it got there



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One of the lunar rock samples collected by the crew of Apollo 14 decades ago seems to originate from Earth.

It is believed that the rock is the oldest known rock that was formed at the same time our planet was formed. This resulted in an analysis in Earth and Planetary Science Letters. Until this discovery, the oldest known rocks were about 2 billion years old. This rock was formed 4 to 4.1

billion years ago, about 12.4 miles below the Earth's crust, but the strangest thing that was found far above the surface of our planet – on the Moon.

The rock was one of the samples discovered by the crew of Apollo 14. The Apollo missions brought with them a number of rock samples that have since been systematically analyzed by scientists. This skirt was at the bottom of the list, but seemed to be the most interesting.

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The NASA Center for Lunar Science and Exploration (CLSE) has identified this small specimen as terrestrial because it contains various minerals, such as quartz and feldspar, which are abundant on Earth but rare on the Moon. With the help of molecular analysis it was possible to determine how deep the stone was underground.

There is a possibility that this stone has formed on the moon, but it is very low. Unlike other lunar rock samples, the rock consists of an extremely high amount of earth minerals and an extremely small amount of minerals commonly found on our planet's natural satellite. Besides, it would have had to be formed in the core of the moon and then somehow appear on the surface.

Of course, there is still a question of how this stone could have landed on the moon. For starters, the moon itself was a piece of earth that was severed at the beginning of our planet's history by a collision with a very large asteroid. The scientists even found that pieces of Mars on Earth fell to the ground after being impacted into space. So it is possible that in the early years of our solar system, when large asteroids were everywhere, one of them hit the earth, sending debris into space and landing one of those rocks on the surface of our satellite.

Before the discovery, there were only assumptions about what the rocks of the early Earth looked like, but now scientists have something to do. And there is a good chance that this is not the only part of our earth on the surface of the moon.

David Kring, CLSE chief investigator and senior author of the recently published journal article, said the next step would be to seek similar mineral signatures in lunar samples to find more relics of the younger Earth.

"This is an exceptional find that helps draw a better picture of the early Earth and the bombardments that changed our planet during the beginning of life," Kring said, quoting Vice.


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