News of the WeekPlanetary Science

Moon-Forming Crash Is Likely in New Model

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Science  01 Jan 1999:
Vol. 283, Issue 5398, pp. 15-16
DOI: 10.1126/science.283.5398.15a

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Planetary scientists believe that sometime in the first 100 million years after the solar system took shape from gas and dust, a Mars-sized planet smashed into Earth. The impact liquefied Earth's surface and ejected a huge blob of material that coalesced into the moon. New computer simulations suggest that far from being a chance encounter that defied all the odds, an impact like this is expected to occur in the solar system's first 100 million years.