New tests by researchers suggest that both the moon as well as planet Earth may be millions of years younger than scientists had previously thought.
Most scientists project based on earlier studies that the moon was about 4.5 billion years old, but new tests on rocks from the lunar crust suggest otherwise. Scientists at the Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory in California say that measurements of the isotopes of lead and neodymium in the rocks gathered by Apollo missions indicate that the moon may be more than 1.4 million years younger than many had thought.
Since scientists believe that the moon was formed after the impact of an object with the Earth that then solidified from an ocean of molten rock, they say that by that logic, the Earth must also be younger, too. Researchers say that the measurements of isotopes were made from ferroan anorthosite, rock samples the represent the oldest lunar crustal rock type.
“If our analysis represents the age of the moon, then the Earth must be fairly young as well,” Lars Borg, a lab researcher, said. “This is in stark contrast to a planet like Mars, which is argued to have formed around 4.53 billion years ago. If the age we report is from one of the first formed lunar rocks, then the moon is about 165 million years younger than Mars and about 200 million years younger than large asteroids”