Review

Analysis of lunar samples: Implications for planet formation and evolution

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Science  19 Jul 2019:
Vol. 365, Issue 6450, pp. 240-243
DOI: 10.1126/science.aaw7580

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Abstract

The analysis of lunar samples returned to Earth by the Apollo and Luna missions changed our view of the processes involved in planet formation. The data obtained on lunar samples brought to light the importance during planet growth of highly energetic collisions that lead to global-scale melting. This violent birth determines the initial structure and long-term evolution of planets. Once past its formative era, the lunar surface has served as a recorder of more than 4 billion years of interaction with the space environment. The chronologic record of lunar cratering determined from the returned samples underpins age estimates for planetary surfaces throughout the inner Solar System and provides evidence of the dynamic nature of the Solar System during the planet-forming era.

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