10/19/2012

Scientists in the Dark Over Birth of the Moon

Image courtesy Shutterstock, moon
Image courtesy Shutterstock, moon

Most scientists agree that the Moon was born when a planet-sized object smashed into the young Earth. But the details are foggy—two papers in Science this week present very different scenarios for that collision. Planetary scientist Erik Asphaug says he wonders if the riddle of the Moon’s formation may ever be solved.

Earth and Planetary scientist Erik Asphaug shares a secret recipe for a delicious space pastry: Take one small planet named Theia and one Earth. Collide at the perfect angle and speed, and allow to spin for—well, we’re still not sure about that part. Listen here.

Segment Guests

Erik Asphaug

Erik Asphaug is the Ronald Greeley Chair of Planetary Geology at the School of Earth and Space Exploration at Arizona State University in Tempe, Arizona.

Meet the Producer

About Christopher Intagliata

Christopher Intagliata is Science Friday’s senior producer. He once served as a prop in an optical illusion and speaks passable Ira Flatowese.