4 billion years ago, a clandestine collision may have put Earth on track for habitability.
These particles eventually came together to form our only satellite, the Moon.
Now researchers have found evidence that the Moon’s ancient (and now extinct) magnetic field may have protected Earth from losing its own atmosphere, ushering in an era of habitability.
When the Moon formed about 4 billion years ago, it was about 3 times closer to Earth than it is today (80,000 miles away, versus today’s 238,000 miles).
Because of their proximity, the two magnetospheres connected.
This extra magnetic shield was able to deflect the Sun’s powerful radiation, which may have otherwise stripped Earth’s atmosphere away.
The research was conducted using simulations of the young Earth and Moon, and scientists want to further validate these findings with lunar samples from the upcoming Artemis missions.
With new lunar samples, scientists will be able to pinpoint just how strong the Moon’s magnetic field was long ago and further understand how our little satellite set us on a path to life.
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