Tuesday, May 06, 2008

Earth may once have had multiple moons!

Now here is an article that has science fiction written all over it. In a recent NewScientist - scientists postulate that the ancient catastrophe that gave birth to the Moon may have produced additional satellites that lingered in Earth's skies for tens of millions of years. These "moonlets" may have once occupied the regions just ahead and just behind Earth's orbit where Luna's gravity and Earth's are canceled out. These areas are called Lagrangian points. Scientists think the Moon was created when Earth was struck by a Mars-sized object some 4.5 billion years ago. The giant impact that likely led to the formation of the Moon launched a lot of material into Earth orbit, and some could well have been caught in the Lagrangian points. Once captured, the smaller moonlets likely remained in their orbits for up to 100 million years, gradually drifting away as they were pulled by gravity from the other planets.

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