Moon is proto-Earth’s mantle, relocated

Measurements of an element in Earth and moon rocks have just disproved the leading hypotheses for the origin of the moon.

Tiny differences in the segregation of the isotopes of potassium between the moon and Earth were hidden below the detection limits of analytical techniques until recently. But in 2015, Washington University in St. Louis geochemist Kun Wang, then the Harvard Origins of Life Initiative Prize postdoctoral fellow, and Stein Jacobsen, professor of geochemistry at Harvard University, developed a technique for analyzing these isotopes that can hit precisions 10 times better than the best previous method. Read more.

Tags: Radioisotopes Geology Astronomy potassium-39 potassium potassium-41