New Scientific Study Says Earth is Two Planets
A new study by scientists at the University of California Los Angeles suggests that Earth may actually be two planets. Confused? Us, too.
Their research, recently published in the journal Science, suggests that 4.5 billion years ago, a crazy collision shaped the planet we all know and live on today. It is an established fact that the collision between Earth and a small “planetary embryo” called Theia, formed our current moon. But the UCLA scientists believe that Theia split in two, with Earth absorbing and then fusing with one half of Theia, while the other half became Earth’s moon.
This new research suggests that the collision between Earth and Theia was more violent than the glancing blow scientists originally believed to have occurred. The scientists came to this conclusion after analyzing the oxygen isotopes from both volcanic rocks and lunar rocks that were brought to Earth as part of the Apollo space missions. They didn’t see any difference.
“We don’t see any difference between the Earth’s and the moon’s oxygen isotopes; they’re indistinguishable,” Edward Young, UCLA professor of geochemistry and cosmochemistry, and lead author of the study, explained in a news release. “Theia was thoroughly mixed into both the Earth and the moon, and evenly dispersed between them,” Young added. “This explains why we don’t see a different signature of Theia in the moon versus the Earth.”
Guess we’re two big happy planets now.