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Space.com: Scientists finally know how old Moon is

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File:GRAIL's gravity map of the moon.jpg
gravity map of Moon/NASA

From Mike Wall at Space.com:

A new analysis of lunar rocks brought to Earth by Apollo astronauts suggests that the moon formed 4.51 billion years ago — just 60 million years after the solar system itself took shape.

Astronomers think the Moon took shape from a collision between Earth and a Mars-size body but just when is unclear, from the jumbled rock samples available to be gathered by astronauts:

“You don’t have pristine, old rock preserved on the moon,” Barboni said. “That’s one of the biggest problems — the whole-rock record on the moon is not there.”

But zircon samples collected by Apollo 14 appear to provide reasonably clear information.

The moon’s advanced age also makes sense from a dynamics point of view, especially if the giant-impact(s) theory is correct, Barboni said. That’s because more impactors were flying around in the solar system’s very early days than 100 million years or so later, she said. More.

Apollo 14 on Moon’s surface, 1971

What’s surprising, really, is how little we know about the moon in general. For example,

Another moon origin theory: Epic crash

How the Moon Formed: 5 Wild Lunar Theories (Mike Wall at Space.com, 2014)

Our moon formed in collision with embryo planet?


Origin of the moon still shrouded in mystery

We probably knew more when we knew less, actually, because it is easier and safer to be dogmatic when there are no new discoveries and new insights are suppressed.

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a few notes:
“You might also think that these disparate bodies are scattered across the solar system without rhyme or reason. But move any piece of the solar system today, or try to add anything more, and the whole construction would be thrown fatally out of kilter. So how exactly did this delicate architecture come to be?” R. Webb - Unknown solar system 1: How was the solar system built? - New Scientist – 2009 Is the Solar System Stable? By Scott Tremaine - 2011 Excerpt: So what are the results? Most of the calculations agree that eight billion years from now, just before the Sun swallows the inner planets and incinerates the outer ones, all of the planets will still be in orbits very similar to their present ones. In this limited sense, the solar system is stable. However, a closer look at the orbit histories reveals that the story is more nuanced. After a few tens of millions of years, calculations using slightly different parameters (e.g., different planetary masses or initial positions within the small ranges allowed by current observations) or different numerical algorithms begin to diverge at an alarming rate. More precisely, the growth of small differences changes from linear to exponential:,,, As an example, shifting your pencil from one side of your desk to the other today could change the gravitational forces on Jupiter enough to shift its position from one side of the Sun to the other a billion years from now. The unpredictability of the solar system over very long times is of course ironic since this was the prototypical system that inspired Laplacian determinism. Fortunately, most of this unpredictability is in the orbital phases of the planets, not the shapes and sizes of their orbits, so the chaotic nature of the solar system does not normally lead to collisions between planets. However, the presence of chaos implies that we can only study the long-term fate of the solar system in a statistical sense, by launching in our computers an armada of solar systems with slightly different parameters at the present time—typically, each planet is shifted by a random amount of about a millimeter—and following their evolution. When this is done, it turns out that in about 1 percent of these systems, Mercury’s orbit becomes sufficiently eccentric so that it collides with Venus before the death of the Sun. Thus, the answer to the question of the stability of the solar system—more precisely, will all the planets survive until the death of the Sun—is neither “yes” nor “no” but “yes, with 99 percent probability.” https://www.ias.edu/about/publications/ias-letter/articles/2011-summer/solar-system-tremaine Moon Strike - Lunar Origin Causes "Philosophical Disquiet" - Hugh Ross Excerpt: Dynamical models dating back to my graduate school days all predicted that the moon's existence was impossible. The moon was too large, it was too close to the earth, and the earth was too close to the sun for the moon to have formed out of the sun's protoplanetary disk. All collision scenarios either resulted in the destruction of the earth, the failure to form the moon, or the formation of an earth-moon system with orbital features radically different from what astronomers actually observe. At the time, some astronomers commented that the moon's presence had to be some kind of miracle. Today, astronomers understand that the existence of the moon does not violate any physical laws. Nevertheless, the earth had to have sustained a just-right impactor at the just-right time under the just-right conditions and circumstances for the moon to have formed as it did.,,, ,,, earth scientist Tim Elliott observes that the degree and kinds of complexity and fine-tuning required by lunar origin models appear to be increasing at an exponential rate. Among lunar origin researchers, he notes, "the sequence of conditions that currently seems necessary in these revised versions of lunar formation have led to philosophical disquiet."9 What is this philosophical disquiet? The moon-forming impact event presents astronomers and all humanity with one of the most dramatic sets of evidence for supernatural, super-intelligent design for the specific benefit of humanity.,,, http://www.salvomag.com/new/articles/salvo29/moon-strike.php THE EARTH-MOON SYSTEM AND THE DYNAMICAL STABILITY OF THE INNER SOLAR SYSTEM - 1998 Excerpt: Evidence from self-consistent solar system n-body simulations is presented to argue that the Earth- Moon system (EM) plays an important dynamical role in the inner solar system, stabilizing the orbits of Venus and Mercury by suppressing a strong secular resonance of period 8.1 Myr near Venus’s heliocentric distance. The EM thus appears to play a kind of “gravitational keystone” role in the terrestrial precinct, for without it, the orbits of Venus and Mercury become immediately destabilized. … First, we find that EM is performing an essential dynamical role by suppressing or “damping out” a secular resonance driven by the giant planets near the Venusian heliocentric distance. The source of the resonance is a libration of the Jovian longitude of perihelion with the Venusian perihelion longitude. http://iopscience.iop.org/1538-3881/116/4/2055/pdf/1538-3881_116_4_2055.pdf Milankovitch Cycle Design - Hugh Ross - August 2011 Excerpt: In all three cases, Waltham proved that the actual Earth/Moon/solar system manifests unusually low Milankovitch levels and frequencies compared to similar alternative systems. ,,, Waltham concluded, “It therefore appears that there has been anthropic selection for slow Milankovitch cycles.” That is, it appears Earth was purposely designed with slow, low-level Milankovitch cycles so as to allow humans to exist and thrive. http://www.reasons.org/milankovitch-cycle-design No Moon, no magnetic field, no life on Earth: study - April 2016 Excerpt: Without the Moon, there would be no life on Earth, French scientists claim. The gravitational push-pull of the Moon on iron deep inside Earth keeps it hot and molten. And a liquid core is needed to generate a magnetic field, which forms a protective shield against blasts of particles from the Sun. Denis Andrault from Blaise Pascal University in Clermont-Ferrand, France, and colleagues propose the Earth's heated interior should have dropped by about 3,000 ºC over the past four billion years or so, but has instead remained almost constant – all because of the Moon. https://cosmosmagazine.com/geoscience/no-moon-no-magnetic-field-no-life-earth-study What would happen to Earth if the moon didn’t exist? - 2013 Without the moon, Earth would spin faster, the day would be shorter, and the Coriolis force (which causes moving objects to be deflected to the right in the Northern Hemisphere and to the left in the Southern Hemisphere, due to Earth’s spin) would be much stronger. This would lead to air circulations in the atmosphere that might look more like Jupiter than what we see on Earth today – multiple east-west jet streams and likely more than one big gyre in the oceans.,,, Second, the moon is responsible for most – but not all – of the tides through its gravitational attraction of Earth’s oceans. To take an example from a tide table for Morehead City, it appears that the typical lunar tidal range, high to low, is about 2.5 feet, while the solar contribution is about 1 foot. I just did a quick calculation and found that the tidal force on the Earth from the moon is 2.2 times stronger than that from the sun. Without the moon, tides would be weaker, affecting the tidal ecosystems for which tidal mixing and flow are important sources of energy. http://www.newsobserver.com/news/technology/article23721079.html Eclipses and scientific discoveries Excerpt: From 1842, the use of spectroscopes allowed the recognition of helium emission as well as a new, unknown emission line measured by Janssen at the 1868 eclipse from India. This was shown later by Ramsey (in 1900) to come from an element then unknown on Earth and therefore given the name 'helium' - now measured as the second most abundant element in the Universe. Coronal eclipse spectra taken in 1869 also showed mysterious green and yellow spectral lines first attributed to another unknown element given the name 'coronium'. It was only much later, after the development of quantum mechanics and the measurement of spark discharge spectra by Bowen Edlen (1939), that the physicist Grotrian was able to solve the mystery of the coronium. Grotrian showed that these mysterious transitions in fact show iron in a very high state of ionisation due to the extreme temperature (iron having lost nine electrons for the red coronal line and 13 electrons for the green coronal line) of the corona. This can only occur at temperatures exceeding a million degrees. This discovery has led to another puzzle still unsolved today, but to which SOHO has unveiled fundamental clues: what heats the corona? Another famous eclipse in 1919 allowed Arthur Eddington to confirm Einstein's prediction of general relativity space-time distortion in a gravity field. http://www.esa.int/Our_Activities/Space_Science/The_science_of_eclipses The Privileged Planet - The Correlation Of Habitability and Observability “The same narrow circumstances that allow us to exist also provide us with the best over all conditions for making scientific discoveries.” “The one place that has observers is the one place that also has perfect solar eclipses.” “There is a final, even more bizarre twist. Because of Moon-induced tides, the Moon is gradually receding from Earth at 3.82 centimeters per year. In ten million years will seem noticeably smaller. At the same time, the Sun’s apparent girth has been swelling by six centimeters per year for ages, as is normal in stellar evolution. These two processes, working together, should end total solar eclipses in about 250 million years, a mere 5 percent of the age of the Earth. This relatively small window of opportunity also happens to coincide with the existence of intelligent life. Put another way, the most habitable place in the Solar System yields the best view of solar eclipses just when observers can best appreciate them.” - Guillermo Gonzalez - Astronomer http://books.google.com/books?id=lMdwFWZ00GQC&pg=PT28#v=onepage&q&f=false pictures - eclipses https://www.google.com/search?q=eclipse&source=lnms&tbm=isch&sa=X&ved=0ahUKEwju46r91sHRAhUi_IMKHe_VAEkQ_AUICCgB&biw=1600&bih=718

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