Earth’s two moons? It’s not lunacy, but new theory

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:Occulting_Enceladus_PIA10500.jpg

Saturn's moon via Wikipedia and NASA

This is not poetry, but a scientific theory, astronomers says. The info, which I got from Sunstar via AP says that:

The smaller one smashed into the other in what is being called the “big splat.”

The result: Our planet was left with a single bulked-up and ever-so-slightly lopsided moon.

The astronomers came up with the scenario to explain why the moon’s far side is so much more hilly than the one that is always facing Earth.

Outside experts said the idea makes sense, but they aren’t completely sold yet.

This all supposedly happened about 4.4 billion years ago, long before there was any life on Earth to gaze up and see the strange sight of dual moons. The moons themselves were young, formed about 100 million years earlier when a giant planet smashed into Earth. They both orbited Earth and sort of rose in the sky together, the smaller one trailing a few steps behind like a little sister in tow.

The smaller one was a planetary lightweight. The other was three times wider and 25 times heavier, its gravity so strong that the smaller one just couldn’t resist, even though it was parked a good bit away.

The theory was the buzz this week in Massachusetts, at a conference of scientists working on NASA’s next robotic mission to the moon, said H. Jay Melosh of Purdue University.

“We can’t find anything wrong with it,” Melosh said. “It may or may not be right.”

Planetary scientist Alan Stern, former NASA associate administrator for science, said it is a “very clever new idea,” but one that is not easily tested to learn whether it is right.

And poet Todd Davis, a professor of literature at Penn State University, said this idea of two moons — one essentially swallowing the other — will capture the literary imagination.

“I’ll probably be dreaming about it and trying to work on a poem,” he said.

Good suggestion! I’ll try to make a poem out of it.

You can read it here: Earth’s two moons? It’s not lunacy, but new theory and Earth Had Two Moons That Crashed to Form One, Study Suggests

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