Mineral transfer from asteroids to the Moon sparks conversation of Earth’s origins
Rare minerals like spinel and olivine in lunar craters could have arrived by way of asteroid collisions, according to a study by Chinese and American scientists, giving rise to speculation that early Earth materials may also be stored on the moon.
Asteroids were previously believed to vaporise upon impact with large celestial bodies.
Study co-author Jay Melosh of Purdue University says that “the finding answers the conundrum exposed by earlier studies which said craters the size of Copernicus were not big enough to have dredged up the contents of the Moon’s deep, interior mantle.”
In an interview with AFP Melosh also warned planetary scientists “not to use the composition of the central peaks of craters as a guide to the interior of the Moon, whose dominant mineral might not be olivine.”
Planet Earth’s protobiological materials, “no longer available on our geologically active and repeatedly recycled planet,” may be awaiting us up in our “lunar attic.”
To read the study in full, click here.
Sources: Nature Geoscience; Phys.org