The Sound Of Settled Science

Hold the cheeses.

The most popular theory of the moon’s origins contends the satellite was formed when a Mars-sized object collided with Earth, vaporizing large portions of Earth’s upper crust.
While Earth’s upper crust is poor in metals, new research — published Wednesday in the journal Earth and Planetary Science Letters — suggests the moon’s subsurface is surprisingly metal-rich, undermining the satellite’s proposed origin story.

44 Replies to “The Sound Of Settled Science”

  1. Makes sense to me, but if they talk about the (dark side) of the moon. Does that make it racist?

    Just asking

    1. No but it might be racist if you read a scientific article about celestial body formation and the first thing that comes to mind is… That.

      But for real though there’s a decent chance you’re clinically obsessed.

      1. Your name is racist, because a person named Andrew had slaves. If you can’t understand a joke about liberals saying everything is racist, you’re also quite stupid, or at least lacking in humour, but mostly stupid

    2. Just call it “Farside”. In 2069, according to MOON ZERO TWO, there’ll be a Base there called Farside 5, and a murder in Spectacle Crater!!!

      1. That’s a movie I haven’t seen in decades! To solve that murder, authorities will have to bring in Commander Nathan Spring’s Star Cops (from the late 1980s BBC SF series).

  2. The Geographical History of the Earth has suffered by the probability factor of the unknown….

    In the Eastern USA the small bodies of Water are called “Ponds” because they are said to have been caused by Meteorites that pocked the surface… In Saskatchewan they are called Sloughs because they are said to have been caused by glacier melting ponds…..I have a POND in my back yard that has direct evidence IMHO that it was created by a meteorite (skipping) “before” the Glacier was formed… The Clay layer is found @ a normal ~ 18″ on the east side & 9 FEET down on the west Side (50 yards across)…NO trees grow on gaps of the entrance & exit area, which is at an ~38 Degree North/ West to South/East Angle…..The unusual Moose Mountain area has ridges & depressions that suggest it missed most of the Glacier movement…

    Prove me wrong!

    1. One clue as to what happened could be provided by aerial observation.

      When flying from Prince George to Fort St. John, I’ve often noted something on the ground as the plane is making its landing approach. There’s an area of farm land near the Peace River on which many of the surface features are oriented in the same direction, with stands of trees distributed in a similar way. Not being a geologist, I couldn’t say for sure what might have caused that, but it certainly has the appearance that the land underwent a massive scouring some time in the past. The size and distribution of those surface features definitely don’t appear to be random and would have required a great deal of time and effort to be man-made.

      Often, meteor craters have been found that way as those features can be seen in a larger geological and geographical context.

      1. Well, there are no known (defined) craters in that area of BC, closest one is Whitecourt, then Steen River AB. If the features you describe are oriented NW-SE, then they are probably glacial derived = direction of ice flow. Drumlins come to mind. Flying across Canada you can see glacial scour features, mostly in the prairies. Late evening summer/fall flights bring them out close to sunset.
        Even after decades of plowing and working the soil, these features still show through. I are a gerologist, rock pounder, stone kicker of ill repute.

        1. The features I described are NE-SW, almost parallel to the Peace River a few km west of Taylor, well past both the railway and highway bridges.

          The land itself is flat, but the other forms are largely pointing in the same direction. Because they’re almost uniformly straight, I thought that the glacier might have been the cause. If they were due to the river, I would have expected some randomness in their orientation.

          I know about the drumlins as I’ve seen them coming into FSJ during the winter near sunrise. They’re quite distinct as their shadows appear on the snow cover.

          A meteor crater near Whitecourt? That’s interesting as I lived in the area for a few months after I got my B. Sc. Whereabouts would it be?

          1. Discovered in 2007? That was about 30 years after I lived there. No wonder I never knew about it.

            Looking at the satellite picture, nothing stands out for me, either. It’s probably hidden under the forest cover, which was probably why it was found relatively recently.

    2. . Moose Mountain is located in southeast Saskatchewan on Highway 9, about 15 km north of Carlyle. It forms a plateau covering approximately 13,000 km2. Its maximum elevation is 830 metres, roughly 200 metres higher than the surrounding plains. Before the last continental GLACIATION, the upland was capped by Tertiary-age gravels. The advancing ice covered Moose Mountain, but once melting began the plateau was exposed as a drift-covered nunatak rising above the surrounding ice sheet. A short-lived PRO-GLACIAL LAKE (Lake Arcola) was formed along its southern edge by meltwaters trapped between the plateau and the encircling ice.
      So not missed “by the glacial movement” but a Nunatak (like Cypress Hills) but only for a shorter period at the end of the last glacial period. Re the meteorite I’m not going there.
      I did a lot of drilling in the Handsworth, Whitebear & Moose Mtn provincial park area …. one of my favourites to get to the field and visit but unfortunately almost always winter time & – 20 C when I was there.

  3. While many scientists believe that a collision happened during the formation of the solar system, there still seems to be some debate as to how that impact occurred and what the aftermath was.

    One suggestion I heard was that the two planetary bodies merged with material created by the impact coalescing and forming the moon. Another was that moon was formed by the collision which removed only a portion of at least one of them.

    So far, it’s only speculation. If astronomers are able to observe in detail the formation of planets around other stars, which doesn’t appear to be possible with current instruments and analytical techniques, some of the questions about the lunar surface chemistry might be answered. But, in science, answering a question usually leads to new ones being asked.

    1. Imagine if the body colliding with Earth also ‘deposited’ a lot of H20 (perhaps even as ice) on Earth and, within that water, the seeds of life. (Start Twilight Zone theme music now…)

        1. The ALH 84001 meteor had some interesting features that, at first glance, appeared to look like bacteria. I read the paper about that which was published in Science and the authors made a compelling argument, even though the data was inconclusive.

          It would be quite intriguing if it was true.

          1. I delight in teasing a wonderful science educator friend, whenever she thrills over this find, with commenting, “It’s just contamination…”!

          2. I think that was even suggested. It was found in an Antarctic dry valley and who knows what that rock’s previous history was.

      1. Some planetary geologists have suggested that cometary impacts might have been a source of water. Some comets that have been observed had elements and even, as I recall, some simple molecules that are believed to be associated with the formation of life as we know it.

    2. The author of of the referenced article is scientifically ignorant. The very first sentence is incorrect. The correct sentence should read: “The most popular theory of the moon’s origins contends the satellite was formed when a Mars-sized object collided with Earth, vaporizing large portions of Earth’s mantle.” (Not upper crust). Analyses of lunar rocks collected during the Apollo missions confirmed they are chemically identical to the Earth’s mantle. And because the Earth’s mantle is rich in metals, so is the moon.

  4. A Metal Rich Moon?

    Maybe we will have one last Gold Rush?

    Even at 0.001% Gold and Precious Metals, that is millions of ounces.

    1. ha ha !!!
      kinda like the alaska gold rush when all that gold dust came down off the mountain and the price also went down
      gold back to 20 bucks a pop, tq luna.

      1. Actually, its price might still remain high because of the cost of transporting it. It’s quite likely that the gold will remain on the moon and be used there for manufacturing electronics or even currency.

    2. The problem would be how to extract commercially viable quantities to make such ventures worthwhile. On the other hand, if there is indeed a metal-rich surface, it could provide a source of building materials for any lunar settlements.

  5. There are still people who don t believe the Americans landed on the moon and who believe the earth is flat.

    They probably also believe Elvis is still alive and is a CIA agent.

    or that Epstein really killed himself…
    at the exact moment the surveillance cameras were broken and the guards were taking a nap.

  6. I suspect planets are made by ancient supernovae when they wre packed closer.
    iron core
    molten magma the rest of it except the thin crust.
    which cracks and shrinks when it cools.
    fcuk all radioactivity in the volcanic magma, so how does radioactive decay explain al that heat?
    besides which, fast decay means short haplf life so it all decayed 3 billion yrs ago.
    slow decay of present radiocative elements the heat is quickly disipated via the excellent rock conductor.
    proportion of elements is DIFFERENT for EVERY planet and moon in the solar system.
    which means the supernovae that created them had a different profile.


    just a hunch. add that to the schettled schiensh

    1. There have been numerous suggestions as to how the solar system was formed and, yes, shock waves produced by supernovae was one of them.

      In recent months, here have been astronomical observations that indicate that certain stars might have planets forming around them, though the evidence isn’t clear on that point. The instruments that are now available, along with the means by which the data can be processed and analyzed, don’t quite have the resolution and precision needed to answer that question. Keep in mind that we’ve only known about exo-planets for less than 30 years and none of the planetary systems that have been detected so far resemble ours.

      We still don’t know for sure why the inner planets are rocky, why there’s an asteroid belt, and why most of the outer planets are gaseous. I make an exception for Pluto (and, no, it’s not a “dwarf planet”!) as it might actually be a Kuiper Belt Object that came too close to Neptune. That might explain its unusual orbit. In addition, the New Horizons spacecraft showed that Pluto is quite unlike any other planetary body and that, in fact, it and its largest moon Charon might be a pair of KBOs.

      Finally, it’s been assumed that all planetary systems form in the same way. There’s not enough astronomical evidence to confirm that.

      1. I would think the change in composition from heavies inward to lights outward indicate something about the formation, with gravity and angular momentum. Centrifuge comes to mind.

    1. Probably the first material that would be mined would be water. There are indications that certain craters near the lunar poles might have ice, though as I suggested earlier, extracting it would be a major task as it could be trapped in rock or dust.

      With water, it’s possible to establish a permanent lunar settlement. Water can be separated into oxygen and hydrogen, which can be used to produce rocket fuel. The water might need to be treated to make it drinkable, but the oxygen could be used for breathing.

      After that, the mining would be for materials for buildings and for commercial operations. The settlements would have to eventually pay for themselves.

  7. Metal-rich? Practically all rock-forming minerals contain metals. Lithium, Sodium, Potassium, Calcium, Aluminum, Magnesium, Iron, and many more: all metals.

    1. I don’t recall the rocks the Apollo astronauts collected had an abundance of metals in them.

      1. One of my favourite labs had moon rocks and thin sections of moon rocks that NASA sent to us at the Univ of Ottawa. We had to do the lab in pairs in the profs office so the rocks and thin sections never got out of his view …. having a moon rock would be quite a novelty for a light fingered geologist.
        Not a lot of metal in the rocks / thin sections that I recall but it has been a while 😉

    1. If there are enough materials there, it could lead to a permanent lunar settlement, giving lefties another reason to complain. (“Decolonialize the moon!”)

  8. I hope President Donald J. Trump announces a plan to mine the moon of its gold, silver, palladium, platinum, copper, and iron ore (to build i-beams) for his buildings and the collective left all has a stroke in their apoplectic fit.

    Really I do.