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Tuesday, July 14, 2009

The Moon is a Homely Mistress

Dennis Overbye writes:

Denton S. Ebel, a rambling, friendly geologist, led me to a display in the hall of meteorites, where three Moon rocks were encased in cubes of plastic. They were about the size of walnuts. The first lesson you learn about Moon rocks is that nobody ever touches them.

The most amazing thing about these rocks was that they looked just like rocks. They weren’t green or twisted in weird shapes or glowing. Two of them were basalts. They looked like gray sponges, the rocks that form ocean basins and that you might pick up in Hawaii or Iceland without thinking twice.

But that’s the point: the Moon rocks look like home because they are home. The Moon, according to theory, was created when a Mars-size object collided with the primordial Earth some 4.5 billion years ago, throwing out a huge cloud of debris, a theory supported by isotopic analysis of the Moon rocks.

link: Essay - 40 Years on, Reflections in a Sliver of the Moon -


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