Where Did The Moon Come From? A New Theory

from TED

The Earth and Moon are like identical twins, made up of the exact same materials — which is really strange, since no other celestial bodies we know of share this kind of chemical relationship. What’s responsible for this special connection? Looking for an answer, planetary scientist and MacArthur “Genius” Sarah T. Stewart discovered a new kind of astronomical object — a synestia — and a new way to solve the mystery of the Moon’s origin.

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11 Comments

  1. Ted Talks are a fantastic way to learn new things and entertain yourself by giving your attention to wonderful speakers. A professor from The University of Carolina and a graduate of Harvard University, has spoken what she believes to be the correct theory regarding the formation of our moon and earth. The Ted Talk, “Where did the Moon come from? A new theory”, gave me great insight into a new recent discovery about the actual formation of the moon. It really is shocking that as far as we are in modern technology and discoveries, there still continues to be new findings even until this day. Sarah T. Stewart, the master mind behind this new theory, claims that the moon did not form the original way we have been knowing it has. She completely denies the old method of the moon formation and states that after 2 years she has discovered a new type of an astronomical object. This object is a senestia, when heat and spin push it over the limit of a spherical shape. I think this is a very confusing concept to fully grasp as with anything that involves chemistry, physics or any other subject that a STEM major would have to learn. The main takeaway from this TED talk is how the moon formed when the earth was once a senestia. I think that it is very interesting how the planet that we have known for so many years, was once a senestia. The way the earth was formed and how it reached its appearance as we see it today is because it has cooled in temperature over the course of hundreds of years. Although not related to business or the economics of the world, this topic interests me because of how uninformed I am of this subject. To this date, this is the newest theory regarding the formation of the moon and planet earth. It may just occur that in a few years, a new discovery regarding the formation of the moon and earth will be something completely different. Only time will tell as we progress through new findings and discoveries in the world of science.

  2. Sarah T. Stewart explains how she went about finding a new astronomical object – the synestia. In trying to explore the moon’s origins and its peculiar in having an identical makeup to the Earth, she made a mistake in her tests. Using this mistake and the path it laid out, she continued on to find a new idea in the moon’s origin, and coined the aforementioned astronomical object. She explores the idea of preconceived notions and concepts, and their restrictive tendencies. It’s something similar to an essay prompt. Yes, an essay prompt is helpful and oftentimes necessary in guiding writers to reach a certain conclusion, but the prompt itself has an ability to hold back the writer’s creativity. Without an essay prompt, a writer has all the freedom in the world to write whatever they please, but the sheer amount of topics and ideas could overwhelm them, leading to a writer’s block. What Stewart had on her hands was the equivalent of slipping up somewhere in her essay, and, in the process of correcting, found an opportunity to rewrite the previous work into a new, possibly more complete, answer. My takeaway is that one shouldn’t be afraid to make mistakes. Mistakes are opportunities to go back and check progress, and that can lead to new, exciting, and fulfilling results if handled responsibly and with maturity.

  3. It is amazing how a mistake can lead to a discovery; how a mishap or incident can lead to realization or an “eye-opening” experience. Sarah T. Stewart, a planetary scientist, spent over two years researching answers to her eye-opening discovery about the moon. I myself have always been interested in the moon and stars–the mystery of the universe outside of our planet, and astronomy as a whole. Sometimes I too wonder and question how much we as a society really know and how accurate our theories are about the universe and everything that floats inside of it.

    Stewart wanted to understand how the Earth and Moon were different from the other planetary bodies. She says the theories the most common theories we have are flawed. The questions the popular belief that the Moon and Earth are made from different materials but says “they are twins.” They are actually made from the same materials. Stewart says that no other “planetary bodies have the same genetic relationship. Only the Earth and Moon are twins.”

    In her lab working with a student for the past few years Stewart has worked to discover and create a new theory for the Moon. In doing so she had come across ways to prove the Giant Blast theory true and false. But she comes to the conclusion that maybe the moon was just an accident. This is where she realizes that there may be a new truth undiscovered about the moon. During her research she realized that she was thinking the same as she always thought and working with what she thought was true. When she began to question what she knew it was then she realized more questions and theories were surfacing.

    “I made the mistake of thinking a planet can only look like a planet.” By this she meant that what we think a planet looks like is not the only way a planet can be shaped or formed. During her researching and computer simulations she came across a new type of astronomical object. “It’s not a planet, it’s made from planets. Planet is a body who’s self gravity is strong enough to give it its round shape.” Through her research she simulated different versions of the The Gigantic Impact Theory” and finally came across some answers. By doing this she discovered what she had named a “Synestia” and says this is how the Moon and Earth are related. From her theory she believes the moon formed inside the Earth when the Earth was a Synestia. When the Earth was forming it was a disc shape and the moon began to form and orbit inside until it later broke off and attached to the Earth’s gravitational pull. “…The gigantic impact makes the Synestia and the Synestia divides into two new bodies creating our isotopically identical Earth and Moon.”

    From this she concludes by saying “the Earth and Moon are twins.” She asks everyone to question what is hidden from your view by your own assumptions. Things you think you know may be the opportunity to discover something truly amazing. I found this TED talk so interesting because it not only touches a popular theory of the moon but expands across life in general. There is so much to understand and discover truly in the world and beyond. Her conclusion challenged those to discover for themselves and search the truth behind their own theories and one might just come across amazing discoveries.At this point in my life I begin to look at things for my own. Up until you are a young adult you are told what to think and fed possible lies of just about everything. Your parents and adults practically think for you. Social media nowadays heavily impacts young teenagers with how they think. There are many sources out there that write the narrative for you. But maybe we should start writing the narrative for ourselves. What is the worst that can happen? We discover what we thought was true is true or we discover new information from our own perspectives. There are many theories and such to question of the world. This TED talk reached beyond science and astronomy. Anyone can relate to discovering for your own good and maybe someday you’ll come across a breakthrough of the world.

  4. I think Ted Talks are really great when it comes to learning about new topics. Listening to Ted Talks gives you a better understanding of what is really going on as well. This Ted Talk is about a professor who speaks out about what she believes is true about the formation of the Earth and Moon. Sarah T. Stewart spent over two years doing research and finally discovered something very interesting about the moon. She wanted to know how the Earth and Moon were different from the other planets. She states that only the Earth and Moon are twins and no other planetary bodies have the same relationship as the Moon and Earth. I actually thought this was very interesting and I am not really big on learning about planets and the theories that are said about them. This ted talk actually opened my mind up a little more and pointed out that not all the theories that are out there are true and if people keep doing more and more research, new things will definitely show up.

  5. I found this video fascinating. Humans always have an affinity for the space and the unknown and we seek to discover what everything is naturally out of curiosity. The moon I was always under the impression that the leftovers of the earth formed the moon but to hear her theory was amazing. I think the biggest point of this entire TED talk doesn’t only lie in her discovery but at how resilient she was at finding out how the moon was created. She stuck at her project for years and through numerous failures and mistakes. This resilience is something that everyone should take inspiration from and implement into their lives. Not many people can fail and make mistakes and continue for years to finally get to doing what they want to achieve. This experience was fascinating to listen to and inspired me at this point in my life because im facing the setback of my ACL tear and that has taken a huge tole on my mental so to see someone like her go through all that and come out the back end successful is really a sight to see.
    In general, though I believe TED talks can be very good for everyone to listen to regardless of the subject. I have listened to many of them and even though to write this comment I was only required to view that one TED talk I viewed a couple of the other ones I found interesting. This kind of information can just broaden the scope of everyone’s mind and in general just make people more aware of their surroundings.

  6. Space itself is one of the world’s biggest mysteries and fascinations. For years nations have competed with one another over making discoveries about space. The whole concept of space is extremely fascinating. The mystery of how earth and other planets were formed, along with the things we have yet to discover about space is what drives scientists worldwide in continuing their research. To think that earth was created merely from matter colliding is shocking, let alone knowing that the earth and moon are the only two planets with the same genetic code. So different yet still so similar, the earth and moon were created from the same materials colliding in space, given why they have the same genetic code. Personally, I am interested to know as to what exactly occurred that made the moon and earth so different if they were created from the same materials. Why was it that life occurred on the earth, but not the moon? These questions are likely in the works of some scientist’s current research being done. The ideas shared about the moon and earths creation in Sarah H. Stewarts ted talk truly surprised me. Never before did I think that the moon was created inside of earth. In her theory, Stewart claims the moon was formed from magma rain that condensed from rock vapor. This caused the moon to develop inside the earth when earth itself was in a process of synestia. Synestia is essentially when a donut shape of mass of vaporized rock orbit in space when a planet is being created. This Stewart explains is the reason why the earth and moon are so related and contain the same genetic code. Personally, my knowledge of space and the things about it is not the greatest, but yet it always draws my interest when a new discovery about space is made. For the scientist who continue to make these discoveries, I will always be open to hearing them no matter how complex or difficult to understand they may be.

  7. It’s amazing how we seem to have an understanding of something that we take for granted. The moon, what we understand to be it’s own planet, separate from the Earth, but it is a lot more closely related to the Earth than we originally thought. Planetary scientist, Sarah Stewart, talks about how one simple mistake lead to a new discovery- the Synestia. She talks about her experience in her lab, constantly testing new theories trying to discover how the Earth and the moon share identical isotopes. Unlike all other planets in the solar system, no two have the same exact isotopes, highlighting the importance of the relationship between the Earth and the moon. What was long understood to explain this was the Giant Impact Theory, which says that the moon was formed from the debris of the collision of Earth with a celestial body; however, there were certain holes in this theory. What she didn’t catch until looking through the data with one of her students, was that she was looking at the moon as a planet. One mistake we make all the time is assume that a planet will always look like a planet, but this isn’t the case for the moon. From this discovery, she began to question everything she has known, and the rest of science has known. The Synestia is a term used to describe the moon, something that happens when a planet becomes too overheated and spins that it pushes it over the limit of its own spheroidal shape. She discovered that the moon grew from inside the Earth, explaining why these two share identical isotopes.

    But this discovery was not only due to Stewart’s critical thinking. Her discovery was also in part due to computer simulations that helped discover this new phenomenon. It is important to note how these compute simulations allowed her to discover this. Stewart talks about using these simulations in order to show how planets would collide and form Synestias. Technology such as this has helped discover something as significant as this, so what does this mean for the rest of science? Innovations like this will help propel things like Synestias and find more answers to unknown questions that still linger. Not only will technology like this help with scientific discovers, but it will continue to push into other fields such as business and within the medical field. Stewart’s discovery not only opens the door to new discoveries in her field, but it also calls onto other fields to follow the type of technology she used to order to make this discovery.

  8. I think its wonderful that scientists aren’t sitting back on previously determined thoughts and concepts. We all have been lead to believe that whatever ‘evidence’ is brought to the public is always correct, but in most cases we’re finding thats not true. In any experiment or hypothesis we are taught at a young age to continue to test our believed outcomes over and over again. When it comes to theories about past events it is extremely difficult to try to replicate the exact outcome which make me believe that many don’t challenge what is though to be correct. Even the greatest minds in the world make mistakes, and I think it is fascinating when we test ourselves and others thoughts. In this TED Talk, Sarah T. Stewart is describing just my thoughts. She’s directly challenging every pre conceived belief about the Earth and the Moon. Her discovery of Synestia’s will propel our thoughts on how the universe was created as well as how most of the planets around us were born. Stewart and her team showed everyone a valuable lesson in always challenge your beliefs and never reside to others. It is fascinating that our technology is becoming so advanced we can create replicas of events that happened billions of years ago, before the Earth became our home. Hopefully this technology will be implemented in many more fields besides astronomy. If we can develop a device to experiment with the birth of planets, there is no limit as what we can do in the medical field and beyond.

  9. The Ted Talk, “Where did the Moon come from? A new theory”, Sarah T. Stewart examines a recent discovery about the actual formation of the moon. Sarah T. Stewart claims that the moon did not form the original way we have been knowing it has. She discovered a new type of an astronomical object. She states “It’s not a planet, it’s made from planets. Planet is a body whose self-gravity is strong enough to give it its round shape.” This object she speaks of is a “synestia”, when heat and spin push it over the limit of a spherical shape. For this reason, she claims why the earth and moon are so related. She states, “the Earth and Moon are twins…no other planetary bodies have the same genetic relationship”. It is important to recognize that a synestia is a different object than a planet plus a disc. In this hot vaporized state, the hot gas in the disc can’t fall onto the planet, because the planet has an atmosphere that’s pushing that gas out. What ends up happening is that the rock vapor that forms a synestia cools by radiating to space, forms magma rain in the outer parts of the synestia, and that magma rain accretes to form the moon within the rock vapor that later cools to become the Earth. Isn’t this fascinating!

    For decades, astronomers and scientists have relied on a theory of how the Earth-moon system formed known as the giant-impact hypothesis: A large chunk of rock nicknamed Theia slammed into the Earth not long after it formed. I learned about this theory back in high school as well. We all know that moons are common in our solar system. Of the eight planets that revolve around our sun, only two (Mercury and Venus) do not have at least one moon. We know that the Moon significantly affects conditions on Earth as well. The Moon’s gravity causes the oceans’ tides, reduces the Earth’s wobble (which helps stabilize climate), and slows the spin of the Earth. However, after watching this TED talk, I now view the relationship between, and formation of the Earth and Moon differently.

    Overall, I found Sarah T. Stewart discovery very interesting. For her to say that Earth and the moon are very close to being identical, she is making an assumption that she actually knows what the Earth is, and she actually knows what the moon is. It is clear that the Earth and the Moon, despite their obvious cosmetic differences, share the same isotopic signature, suggesting they are essentially the same object. Unfortunately, for many the challenge of the formation of the moon remains unresolved. The details of just how our moon came to be are still shrouded in mystery. However, in my opinion Stewarts new theory seems to be more realistic than others.

  10. Amazing! I have found planetary scientist Sarah Stewart’s TED Talk to be one of the most eye-opening revelations to me since I began to understand the fundamentals of gravity and other forces we presume obvious to the human experience. The giant impact theory was the viewpoint I took up since my first lessons on planetary motion. Our understanding of what collision looks like for large bodies naturally assumes the model of collision for smaller objects like a tennis ball on a racket or a car accident. Our historic understanding of how the Moon and the Sun came to be have been from the plethora of folklore or mere coincidence. Watching this talk, I was brought into the play space of a child questioning the things I was taught and had come to know as fact. The idea that the earth was a planetary disk shrouded in enormous bouts of gas before it collided with another synestia to become the incubation chamber of the moon was far beyond anything I could have imagined. The stretch of our imagination in scientific reasoning is one of the ironic challenges that many scientists face: How can we reconstruct the mysterious origins of our natural environments with the capacity to think out of the “comfort zone” of predefined knowledge? This will forever shape the way I view the rudimentary principles that surround me.

  11. I think this TED talk does a really good job at emphasizing one of the most important things that we as people and as seekers of knowledge should always remember but sometimes forget; that just because we think we know something and understand something doesn’t mean that it is unchangeably true. This is so important for us to internalize as we go through our lives, that not everything we’ve always known and believed to be true will always stay that way, and that in order to evolve with new discoveries and theories, we need to be open to changing our beliefs and preconceptions as well. This talk showcases that in a really easy to understand way while also presenting the process this scientist went through to arrive at her new (and really cool) theory about the moon formation. And this doesn’t just apply to science and scientific discoveries. All the time we see new research come out that something we have all been doing for years is actually bad for our health or bad for our safety, challenging notions held for years about the subject. People work every day to try and discover new things about the world and how we can best live it and TED talks are a wonderful platform to share those discoveries on. I feel like I always learn so much when I watch a new TED talk, and even though it usually is about something completely random (like why the earth and the moon are isotopic twins), it’s fun to learn more about it.

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