A Younger Moon Turned Inside Out

At the ELS session on Disintegrative Capture Theory for the Origin of the Moon, Forum Adlershof, Berlin, Germany on April 20, 2012.

On April 19-20, 2012 the German Aerospace Center Institute of Planetary Research hosted the 2012 European Lunar Symposium in Berlin. The symposium, which was also sponsored by NASA’s Lunar Science Institute, was breathtaking in its inclusiveness, providing a forum for discussion on the over 50 papers presented  by lunar scholars from Europe, the United States, Japan, and Russia.

Among the most remarkably bold papers presented was that of Peter Noerdlinger   – “A New Disintegrative Capture Theory of the Origin of the Moon.”

In vigorously challenging the currently accepted Giant Impact theory, Noerdlinger pointed out the many problems of this GI theory, including the following:

  • The violent collision between Theia (the GI object about the size of Mars) and the Earth melts the entire Earth, contrary to geological evidence.
  • The Moon condenses out of the vapor cloud generated by the collision, despite evidence that the moon was NOT condensed out of vapor.

Noerdlinger’s version of how the Moon was formed which was based on his years of independent study features the following points:

  • The Proto Moon or the object that resulted in the creation of the Moon started in the same orbital path as the Earth around the Sun, but at Earth’s Lagrange Point 4 (L4). This Proto Moon, which was captured into Earth orbit, was 4 times less massive than the Giant Impact’s  object, Thea.
  • The Proto Moon had a 32% Iron-Nickel-Sulfur core supporting a dynamo, accounting for the magnetized lunar rocks. After being captured into the Earth’s orbit, the Proto Moon, tidal forces tore it apart, with its iron core and some of its rock mantle plastering onto the Earth’s surface, producing a “Late Veneer”.

    Magnetized Troctolite 76535 collected by Apollo 17

  • The remaining Proto Moon rock formed into what is now the Moon following a tidal stripping that drove the Proto Moon rock away from the Earth at a distance of about 3.8 times the Earth’s radius.
  • The Moon may be 3.8 to 3.9 billion years old, much younger than the commonly assumed age of 4.56 billion years.
  • The minerals in the Moon would be about as old as the Earth, with some rearranging during the capture and temporary disintegration process. Essentially, the Moon was turned inside out.
  • If the Moon is as young as suggested, its origin would coincide with the beginning of life on Earth – an aspect unexplained by the Giant Impact theory.

There is expectation that much of what is now a rather lopsided debate on the Moon’s formation will be decided by data that NASA’s  twin  GRAIL spacecraft started collecting since March 2012. (http://www.nasa.gov/mission_pages/grail/news/grail20120307.html)

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