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April 09, 2011

A Moon so Rare and Lucky

As we have learned earlier in the semester, our moon was formed after another huge object collided with our own Earth some 30 to 50 million years after our Sun was born. While many of us may overlook this outside nightlight, we should really take the time to recognize how lucky we this moon. The type of collision that formed our moon is more rare than we might suspect.

According to the article, "Unlocking The Mystery Of The Moon Astrophysicists Search Skies For A Moon Like Earth's" (Science Daily), the Spitzer Space Telescope has helped us to see that our moon is the only one that was formed due to a collision like this, in our Solar System. The telescope looks for dust that would have been left over from other collisions. It has found that no dust surrounds any of the other stars in our Solar System.

Because this type of event is so rare, astrophysicists predict that only 5-10% of all moons in the universe may have been formed this way. As we learn more about the moon and our dependence on it, it is important that we appreciate how rare and lucky we really are!

Here's the link;
http://www.sciencedaily.com/videos/2008/0512-unlocking_the_mystery_of_the_moon.htm

Posted by alymro at April 9, 2011 11:41 AM

Comments

It is kind of interesting how much of a fluke we are. We are the only ones with life (as we know) in this solar system, and a very large moon. Also, with the universe as large as it is it makes me kind of hopeful that there is a fluke somewhere else out there.

Posted by: emmatula at April 9, 2011 01:28 PM

This actually reminds me of the lab we did in section this past week. The chances of finding life elsewhere in the universe are so slim, simply because there are so many variables to consider. Even our moon was somewhat of a fluke, yet it helps life thrive on Earth. The drake equation that we used in class is only for our Milky Way Galaxy, so this widens the chances of life found, because the universe is so large. I just hope one day we will find life on another world intelligent for us to communicate with.

Posted by: skritt at April 9, 2011 05:40 PM

It's interesting to think about how lucky we are to have a moon like ours. Our moon definitely plays a huge part in making life possible on our planet and without it, life may never have arose and we would not be here today. It's incredible how such a big impact occurred with the Earth but yet it did not destroy the planet and it was just big enough for all the debris to collect around our planet and form the moon.

Posted by: schultka at April 10, 2011 04:58 PM

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