Feel free to click on any image for a bigger version you can use as wallpaper. The information listed below and these images come from the documentary Direct From The Moon by the discovery channel.
Kaguya, Japan’s lunar explorer, launched on September 2007. Since then it has sent back information and pictures in high definition quality. Previous photographs could only identify craters that were 1,500 feet in diameter. Kaguya can identify ones that are 30 feet in diameter and render them in 3D. This spacecraft is helping to unlock secrets that have eluded scientists since the early days of humanity.
Whenever man looks at the night skies, he only sees one side of the moon. The near side, as it has come to be called, contains soil with a higher density as indicated by the Kaguya and it’s shifting orbit. The far side of the moon contains soil with low density. The answer to why there exists a difference between the two sides is no longer elusive now that the Kaguya can analyze underneath the surface of the moon. It has allowed them to come up with a theory of how the moon was formed:
4.5 billion years ago a rogue planet the size of Mars smashed into our planet.
It superheated the Earth and created debris that collected around the orbit of the earth. This debris connected at one point and the moon was born.
In the early days of it’s formation, the moon had a closer orbit than it does today. As a result, Earth’s gravity pulled on the moon so that it became an egg shape.
As the moon moved further away in orbit, Earth’s gravitational force dragged softened rock to one side which contained uranium and other radioactive deposits and the moon became more cylindrical.
The patterns on the face of the moon are craters that were long ago filled with dark lava which was pulled toward the near side. There is hardly any trace of dark lava on the dark side(or far side) but there are many craters. The gravitational force is greater on the near side and weaker on the far side.
On July 20, 1969 Apollo 11 landed on the Sea of Tranquility on the surface of the moon.
Never before in the history of mankind have two men ever been further from home. The astronauts could only stay for about two hours. The moon’s mass contains high deposits of uranium (very radioactive) and reaches temperatures of negative 280 degrees Fahrenheit.
On November 1969, the Apollo 12 mission reached the Ocean of Storms region on the moon and spent eight hours on the surface.
Apollo 13 launched in April of 1970 and planned to visit the Fra Mauro region, but turned back when an oxygen tank exploded.
Afterwards, the Soviet Union sent two lunar rovers to the moon to gather information, calculate the exact distance between the Earth and the moon, and measure continental drift.
On December 1972, Apollo 17 visited The Valley of Taurus Littrow.
This expedition marked the end of the Apollo program and no human has set foot on the moon since. However, a curious discovery was made on the Apollo 17 mission by Jack Schmidt, a geologist. He discovered an orange colored soil. The secret contained in this soil would not be unlocked for more than 40 years. Collectively, the Apollo missions brought about half a ton of moon rocks back to the Earth for study. Man is going back to the moon to stay in the year 2020 the date set by NASA.
Since it’s launch, the Kaguya has discovered 40 more pockets of the orange soil. Fortunately, the mystery of this soil was unlocked by Dr. Alberto Saal. He used his mass spectrometer to analyze the soil and found an unknown chemical substance and water. This sparked a theory:
The impact of the mars like planet vaporized Earth’s water. Most of the vaporized water settled back on earth because of the strength of earth’s gravity. The water contained in the fragments of the explosion that eventually formed the moon releases out into space except for some of it that was trapped in the volcanic rock which eventually form craters. Scientists calculating the age of the craters on the moon by using the depth and width of neighboring craters as a reference point believe that the moon’s craters are four billion years old. However, the number of craters cannot be explained by dating methods alone. So, scientists came up with another theory:
Many of the craters were formed mostly by asteroids from the asteroid belt on Jupiter. Jupiter’s orbit apparently shifted slightly and sent asteroids hurdling towards the moon and the Earth.
The asteroids hitting Earth create enough pressure to form amino acids; the building blocks of life. Asteroids contain mostly iron. Tests have been conducted by smashing certain elements together at speeds of 2000 miles per hour. These tests showed that if iron, carbon, water, and nitrogen (the elements found on Earth) collide under pressure, an amino acid is formed. This may have been the catalyst that started evolution on its journey.
An alternative viewpoint:
This whole story seems very one sided. This evidence fits only partly into the theories propagated by these scientists. I don’t see scientists trying to fit these pieces into other explanations. Certainly, there are many more religious people than there are scientists. We should honor those theories and see how the evidence fits into them as well.
Also, there is another word for theories that support theories – fiction. We need to recognize these are theories and not facts that support beliefs or conclusions. Again, how you handle truth effects your knowledge of the beginning of life.
Interestingly enough, scientific theories of how life begins always start with a great violent act. Maybe we’re employing the wrong scientists. Since when does order come out of chaos?