The Origin of the Moon is Explained by the Big Splat Theory

The Big Splat theory of how the moon was formed is based on evidence that 4.5 billion years ago a natural object the size of Mars collided with the Earth. Exactly what this object was has not been clearly defined. It could have been a small planet. It was certainly much larger than any meteorite that has since hit the Earth.

The impact on our planet was huge and created a vast amount of space debris. A huge amount of rock particles were blasted into orbit as a result of the collision and became temporary satellites of the Earth.

Scientists William Hartmann, Donald Davis, Alastair Cameron and William Ward, who came up with the Big Splat theory, have concluded that the moon was formed from all the debris orbiting the Earth. A single satellite, the moon, was formed when all the debris coalesced. 

This explanation of how our moon was formed, became known as The Big Splat theory after a scientific conference, held in 1998, which featured academic papers on the origins of the Earth and the moon. The theory was named “Big Splat” by a science reporter, Dana Mackenzie, who was covering the conference  for “Science” magazine. In 2003 Dana Mackenzie published a book called “The Big Splat, or How Our Moon Came to Be.”

Prior to publication of this book on the Big Splat, the theory of how the moon was formed had not been known about outside of scientific circles, where it was taken seriously. The author Dana Mackenzie felt compelled to write this book in order to bring the story of the moon’s origin to the attention of the general public.

An article published by “Sky and Telescope” magazine in 2011 offers an explanation of how “Moon Big Splat Could Have Reshaped the Moon.” In this article, Sweta Kishnaners refers to a theory formed by researchers in 2009 that suggests that after the moon was formed it may have continued to share its orbit with lingering fragments. At least one of these fragments, which scientists call “Trojans,” may have been in orbit for millions of years before finally becoming integrated with the moon.

This speculative Trojan Splat theory might be proved when samples from the dark side of the moon have been obtained and studied back on Earth. If rock samples taken from the far side of the moon appear to be older than moon rock samples from the near side, this would confirm that the moon was reshaped tens of millions of years after it was first formed.

NASA Lunar Quest has identified suitable moon landing sites for sample collecting. One of the most significant is an area known as the South Pole-Aitken basin. Because this huge impact crater goes down so deep, studies of samples collected should reveal more about the interior of the Moon and of how it was formed.

The Big Splat theory is now widely accepted as an explanation of how the moon was formed. Previous theories had also suggested that the moon was once a part of the Earth, but exactly what caused it to break away from the Earth was never fully explained. The Big Splat theory is based on scientific research that uncovered evidence of the major collision that almost destroyed the Earth. The moon became a satellite after the impact of the collision forced a large amount of rock to splinter away from the Earth and into its orbit.