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Ask Astro: What happened after the giant impact that created the Moon? – Astronomy Magazine is for anyone who wants to learn more about astronomy events, cosmology, planets, galaxies, asteroids, astrophotography, the Big Bang, black holes,…



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Q: If the Giant Impact Hypothesis is correct and the Moon is made from Earth and Theia (the Mars-sized object that collided with Earth), what happened to the rest of Theia after the collision?
A: In the 1970s, Donald R. Davis and I suggested that the Moon was formed when a Mars-sized planetesimal, later called Theia, struck a newly formed Earth about 4.5 billion years ago. At the time, the Giant Impact Hypothesis had very little to say about what happened to the impactor itself.
In the years since,…

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