MARK GARLICK / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY MARK GARLICK / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY
Moon's origin. Artwork of the formation of the Moon according to the impact theory. A giant object might have collided with the Earth around 4.6 billion years ago (top left). A mixture of terrestrial material and debris from the colliding body would have been thrown into orbit around the Earth (centre) and later coalesced to form the Moon (bottom centre). Because this material would have been predominantly vaporised when entering space, the impact theory explains why the Moon has a higher proportion of refractory (high-boiling point) material compared to Earth.
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