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One of the Moon rock samples collected decades ago by the Apollo 14 crew seems to be native to the Earth.
It is considered that rock is the oldest known rock, around the same time that our planet was formed, according to an analysis on Earth and the Letters of Planetary Sciences. Until this discovery, the oldest known rocks were around 2 billion years old. This rock formed between 4 and 4.1 billion years ago, about 12.4 kilometers below the Earth's crust, but the most curious thing was that it was far beyond the surface of the our planet: on the moon.
The rock was among the samples discovered by the Apollo 14 crew. Apollo missions carried a whole host of rock samples, and scientists have analyzed them methodically at that time. This particular rock was at the bottom of the list, but it seemed to be the most interesting.
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The Center for Science and the Lunar Exploration (CLSE) of NASA has identified this small terrestrial specimen, as it contains various minerals such as quartz and feldspar, which are common to Earth, but are scarce in the Moon It was possible to determine what depth of the earth had been the rock with the use of molecular analysis.
There is the possibility that this rock has formed on the Moon, but it is very low. Rock, unlike other rock samples of the Moon, is formed by an extremely high amount of terrestrial minerals and an extremely low amount of minerals commonly found in the natural satellite of our planet. On the other hand, it should have been formed in the core of the Moon and then somehow appear on the surface.
Of course, there is still a question about how this rock could have ended up on the Moon? To begin with, the Moon itself was a piece of Earth, separated by a collision with a particularly large asteroid at the beginning of the history of our planet. Scientists even found pieces of Mars that fell to Earth here on Earth after being expelled to the space for an impact. So, it is possible that in the early years of our Solar System when large asteroids were everywhere, they hit the Earth and sent remnants to the space, and one of the # 39 ; these rocks landed on the surface of our satellite.
Before the discovery, there were only conjectures about how the Earth's first rocks looked like, but now scientists have something to work on. And there are many possibilities that this is not the only part of our Earth on the surface of the moon.
David Kring, principal investigator of the CLSE and principal author of the recently published article, said that the next step is to look for similar mineral signatures in lunar samples to find more relics of the youngest Earth.
"It is an extraordinary finding that helps to paint a better image of the old Earth and the bombing that changed our planet during the beginnings of life," said Kring in a statement, quoted by Vice.