Scientists reveal that A NUCLEAR explosion-like process may have given birth to the MOON.
US and French scientists discovered similarities between the first atomic bomb and the formation of the moon. The study offers new evidence in favor of the ‘giant impact theory’ and how our moon came into existence. According to scientists, the first nuclear weapon detonated by man—operation codenamed trinity—and the formation of our moon have something in common.
As operation trinity kicked off, the first atomic bomb exploded with an energy equivalent to a mindbending 20 KILOTONS of TNT, causing the sand underneath to melt producing a thin sheet of mostly green glass dubbed trinitite.
This staggering explosion created an area around the bomb with temperatures exceeding 8,000 degrees celsius and nearing pressures of around 80,000 atmospheres.
As it turns out, these extreme conditions are believed to have been similar to those that created as the moon formed during a massive collision with a Mars-sized celestial body.
“It is as close as we can probably get to conditions that you might envisage on a planetary body in the early solar system,” says James Day at the Scripps Institution of Oceanography in California.
As reported by the UC San Diego, decades-old radioactive glass found blanketing the ground after the first nuclear test bomb explosion is being used by scientists to examine theories about the Moon’s formation some 4.5 billion years ago.
The team of scientists formed by Professor James Day and his colleagues at the Scripps Institute of Oceanography at the University of California examined the chemical composition of zinc and other volatile elements containing trinitite. Tests samples were gathered between 10 and 250 meters from ground zero at the trinity test site in New Mexico.
Interestingly, as scientists compared the samples with others collected farther away, they discovered that trinitite closes to the detonation site was depleted in volatile elements as zinc.
2The zinc that was present was enriched in the heavier and less-reactive isotopes, which are forms of these elements with different atomic mass but the same chemical properties,” indicates the report at ucsdnews.ucsd.edu.
Zinc and other volatile elements, which vaporize under high temperature, were “dried out” close to the explosion than those further away from the blast. The findings were published in the Feb. 8 issue of the journal Science Advances.
“The results show that evaporation at high temperatures, similar to those at the beginning of planet formation, leads to the loss of volatile elements and to enrichment in heavy isotopes in the left over materials from the event,” said Day, a Scripps geoscientist and lead author of the study. “This has been conventional wisdom, but now we have experimental evidence to show it.”
The newly gathered evidence backs up what scientists have long suggested: similar chemical reactions took place when a collision between the early Earth and a Mars-sized object collided, producing debris that eventually formed the moon.
The analysis by Day and colleagues found similarities between the trinitite and lunar rocks in that they are both highly depleted in volatile elements and contain little to no water.
Reference: Science Advances, February 2017 DOI: 10.1126/sciadv.1602668