PerspectivePlanetary Science

The Giant Impact Formation of the Moon

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Science  14 May 2004:
Vol. 304, Issue 5673, pp. 977-979
DOI: 10.1126/science.1097059

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Over the past 30 years, planetary scientists have come to accept that the Moon was formed by the impact of a large body with Earth. In his Perspective, Palme discusses work reported recently by Canup in which sophisticated numerical simulations of this type of collision were performed. Earlier simulations used a small number of particles to model the collision, whereas Canup's work uses up to 120,000 particles. The results provide the most detailed predictions to date of where the material that makes up the Moon might have originated.