Scientists at the Institute of Computing Cosmology of the University of Darham used supercomputer simulations to investigate the formation of the Moon, and the results showed that a giant collision had immediately brought the progeny of the satellite into orbit.
Planetologists modeled hundreds of different collisions, changing the angle, velocity, mass and rotation of the two bodies, looking for a scenario that would most accurately describe the existing system from the Earth and the Moon.
Depending on how this molten mass later hardens, modelling suggests that the Moon may have an internal structure different from that of the most common models, and the new model also explains the similarities of the isotope composition between the moon rock returned by Apollo astronauts and the mantle of the Earth.
Today, the most common theory of the Moon's origin is that it formed about 4.5 billion years ago, shortly after the Earth, from the wreckage of a giant collision between the planet and a supposed body the size of Mars, called Thea.
Scientists believe that future moon missions will be able to gather more data that will help to better understand the evolution of the Earth's satellite.