Now, about 50 years after the Apollo 14 mission astronauts sampled some rock from the Moon, a team of scientists believe that one of those rocks originated on Earth. Even more, that would be the oldest Earth rock to date, and it was found on the Moon.
Beginning with the Apollo 11 mission and ending up with the Apollo 17, all the astronauts that went on the Moon had to take samples of lunar dust and rocks. Apollo 14 astronauts collected several samples and brought them back to Earth, back in 1971. Nothing unusual was uncovered until recently when a team of scientists analyzed one of the rocks Apollo 14 mission retrieved.
According to the new study, the lunar rock is, in reality, the oldest Earth rock ever found. And the scientists believe that they have the irrefutable evidence to sustain their finding.
The Oldest Earth Rock To Date Was Found On The Moon
The rock is made of feldspar, quartz, and zircon, being similar to granite, the foundation that makes the continents. However, quartz is prevalent on Earth and not very common on the Moon, so the rock should’ve formed here and reached the Moon due to multiple impacts between space rocks and our world.
“It was confirmation that we had something granitic and that we had large enough impact events to launch things from the Earth. It’s amazing that the rock survived,” explained David A. Kring, the principal investigator at the Center for Lunar Science and Exploration at the Lunar and Planetary Institute, and the leading author of the new study.
“Hopefully, this will spur interest in people looking at other similar samples in the Apollo collection,” added Gordon Osinski of the Canadian Lunar Research Network.
“The larger number of samples that we find, the better picture we’ll paint of the early Earth. And I think all of us are interested in the origin and early evolution of our planet. And there’s no doubt the best record of those processes are on the moon,” concluded David Kring.
Jasmine holds a Master’s in Journalism from Ryerson University in Toronto and writes professionally in a broad variety of genres. She has worked as a senior manager in public relations and communications for major telecommunication companies, and is the former Deputy Director for Media Relations with the Modern Coalition. Jasmine writes primarily in our LGBTTQQIAAP and Science section.