A new simulation of the supercomputer from NASAThe US space agency, in partnership with Durham University in England, sheds light on the possible origin of the moon and its development process. According to the video, which was released this week, the star had formed a few hours after a land And a celestial body the size of Mars They collide, releasing the material that the moon is made of. It is one of the most detailed and best accurate simulations ever made for studies of the origin of the Moon.
The simulation begins with a collision between an object called Theia and the Earth. Debris from the collision forms two smaller bodies of different sizes, then the gravity of the larger body pushes the smaller body – the moon – forward, launching it into a wide, stable orbit around the Earth. This could have happened billions of years ago, in the period when the solar system was still forming. The video is available on NASA’s YouTube channel.
Although the theory about a collision between the Earth and another body that gave rise to the moon is not new, most previous assumptions said that the star would have formed over a period of months or years. In this new simulation, this process may have occurred within hours.
Jacob Kegres, a postdoctoral researcher at NASA’s Ames Research Center and lead author of the paper on these findings, which was published in Astrophysical Journal Letters.
Moreover, the new simulations showed that the Moon may not be the only body formed as a result of the collision between Earth and Theia, which is unprecedented. “We got into this project without knowing exactly what the results of these high-resolution simulations would be. So, in addition to discovering that the standard accuracy might be wrong, it was all the more exciting to see that the new results indicated the inclusion of a potentially moon-like satellite in the orbit,” Kegerreis said.
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The new results were only possible with technological advances for supercomputers doing this kind of simulation. According to a note from NASA, this extra computational power showed that low-resolution simulations can miss important aspects of these types of collisions. Now, researchers will be able to find new behaviors and get closer to understanding the true origin of events.
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