The leading theory for the moon’s formation got in trouble recently when it was revealed that the moon and Earth are isotopic twins. Now highly precise measurements of the isotopes of an element that was still condensed at the “cut off” temperature when material started to fall back to Earth suggest a dramatic solution to the problem.
The McDonnell Distinguished Lecture this year will describe current understanding of the formation of the solar system, particularly its mix of rocky planets, gas giants and icy planets. The part of the story we have not nailed down, says speaker Alex N. Halliday, PhD, of Oxford University, is the origin of Earth’s moon. The lecture, which takes place at 7 p.m. Wednesday, March 5, in Whitaker Hall, Room 100, is free and open to the public.