The Moon may be slightly younger than we thought, suggests new research carried out by scientists at a German institute.
The new research, recently published in the journal Science Advances, changes the age of Earth’s natural satellite from 4.51 billion years to 4.425 billion years – a difference of 85 million years.
The change is not very significant, considering the amount of time that has passed since the Moon was formed.
The same research also clarifies some previously unknown things about the origin of the Moon.
The forming Earth may have been covered by an ocean of magma and the new research argues that the Moon also had an ocean of magma more than a thousand kilometers deep.
What is still uncertain is the amount of time the alleged lunar ocean needed to cool and solidify. Existing models claim that the Moon solidified after 35 million years, but the new investigation points to something different.
“The results from the model show that the moon’s magma ocean was long-lived and took almost 200 million years to completely solidify into mantle rock,” said the study’s lead author, Maxime Maurice, a planetary geophysicist at the German Aerospace Center.