Scientists have discovered what may be the oldest rock from Earth, unearthed in a lunar sample collected by Apollo 14 astronauts almost 50 years ago – and its origin story is quite the bumpy ride.
So how did a rock from Earth possibly end up on the Moon? It’s likely a large impact event dislodged it from Earth and launched it into cis-lunar space, where it then landed on the Moon and mixed with other surface materials.
About 4 billion years later, creatures called humans rocketed to the Moon in a spacecraft, retrieved lunar samples, and returned to Earth. Research on these samples is now published in the journal Earth and Planetary Science Letters.
“It is an extraordinary find that helps paint a better picture of early Earth and the bombardment that modified our planet during the dawn of life,” said Dr David Kring, Center for Lunar Science and Exploration (CLSE) Principal Investigator, in a statement.