Harvard scientists suggest Moon made from Earth

Wed Oct 17, 2012 11:26pm EDT

The moon passes between the sun and the earth as viewed through coastal fog rolling in from the ocean in Encinitas, California May 20, 2012. REUTERS/Mike Blake

The moon passes between the sun and the earth as viewed through coastal fog rolling in from the ocean in Encinitas, California May 20, 2012.

Credit: Reuters/Mike Blake

Related Topics

(Reuters) - A new theory put forward by Harvard scientists suggests the Moon was once part of the Earth that spun off after a giant collision with another body.

In a paper published on Wednesday in the journal Science, Sarah Stewart and Matija Ćuk said their theory would explain why the Earth and Moon have similar composition and chemistry.

The Earth was spinning much faster at the time the Moon was formed, and a day lasted only two to three hours, they said.

With the Earth spinning so quickly, a giant impact could have launched enough of the Earth's material to form a moon, the scientists said in an explanation published on a Harvard website. www.fas.harvard.edu/~planets/sstewart/Moon.html

According to the new theory, the Earth later reached its current rate of spinning through gravitational interaction between its orbit around the Sun and the Moon's orbit around Earth.

The scientists noted that their proposition differed from the current leading theory, which holds that the Moon was created from material from a giant body that struck the Earth.

Stewart is a professor of earth and planetary sciences at Harvard, and Ćuk, an astronomer and an investigator at the SETI Institute, which supports research into the search for extraterrestrial life. The latter was conducting post-doctoral research at Harvard.

(Writing by Ellen Wulfhorst; Editing by David Brunnstrom)

We welcome comments that advance the story through relevant opinion, anecdotes, links and data. If you see a comment that you believe is irrelevant or inappropriate, you can flag it to our editors by using the report abuse links. Views expressed in the comments do not represent those of Reuters. For more information on our comment policy, see http://blogs.reuters.com/fulldisclosure/2010/09/27/toward-a-more-thoughtful-conversation-on-stories/
Comments (7)
BRTX2012 wrote:
These scientists are guilty of PLAGIARISM. This theory was proposed by Mrs. John J. Dailey of Houston Texas in the 1980′s…. I have a signed copy of this BOOK! This article is wrong in the first three words..”A New Theory’. WRONG.

Oct 17, 2012 10:54pm EDT  --  Report as abuse
Soulphysics wrote:
Please be more specific about what is new about this theory.

Oct 17, 2012 11:48pm EDT  --  Report as abuse
Ralphooo wrote:
Moon made from Earth? I thought it was made from cheese!

Oct 18, 2012 2:05am EDT  --  Report as abuse
This discussion is now closed. We welcome comments on our articles for a limited period after their publication.