A rock taken by Apollo 14 astronauts in 1971 from the moon’s surface was determined to be simply a tourist, not a resident, of our closest cosmic neighbor.
Analysis of the conditions that were part of this 20-pound stone suggests that instead of being a new type of moon rock, it actually came from Earth, thrown into outer space by an asteroid impact more than 4,000 years ago. millions of years.
If the dating that placed its birth around 4.011 million years ago is correct, it would actually be the oldest piece of intact terrestrial rock ever found, replacing some erroneously dated mineral sand from Australia.
Many of us are familiar with the idea of fragments of planets and comets landing and falling to Earth, but Jeremy Bellucci of the Swedish Museum of Natural History may have found the first “terrestrial meteorite”, showing that, as a boxer, Earth can Take them and give them back.
According to the article by Bellucci, published in the magazine Earth and Planetary Science Charts, the rock “represents unknown pressure, temperature and oxidation conditions [on] the Moon ”, or much more likely, represents the case of material formed by the Earth that was catapulted to our Moon during an impact event.
The rock, charismatically designated “14321”, is a type of rock called breccia, characterized by a collage of different types of minerals created during an older period, grouped into small sections called “clasts” and stamped together on a single stone.
It was one of these clasts that led Bellucci and the other researchers to their strange conclusion. There was a small piece of bright mineral that contained zircon, a very hard and long-lasting mineral, and analyzing it and the surrounding quartz drew strange conclusions about conditions that are never known to be present on the moon, related to pressures, the oxygen. levels and heat.
Bellucci, according to National Geographic, compared zircon in 14321 to zircon on Earth and the similarities became clear.
“I was dead in the middle of the ground field, and then I thought, Wow … that’s amazing!” Bellucci told National Geographic in an email correspondence. “From there, it turned into a snowball.”
The authors, who will not be able to expand on this breakthrough due to the COVID-19 pandemic, suggest that it will cause many people in museums and laboratories to re-examine their moon rock samples.
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