A massive collision, or something stranger? An epic exploration of lunar origin theories
The tidiest theory of the Moon’s origin is known as the Giant Impact Hypothesis – the idea that, amid the volatile early era of the solar system’s formation, a Mars-sized protoplanet collided with the primordial Earth. From the massive ensuing explosion, much of the planetary debris coalesced into a new, Earth-orbiting body. But while the theory accounts for much of what we understand about the Moon, it leaves some critical question unanswered. Namely, if it was formed mostly from a foreign body, why do lunar samples show the chemical makeup of the Moon and Earth to be nearly identical? In this video, the US filmmaker John D Boswell synthesises animations and original music with the voice of the planetary scientist Sarah T Stewart to explore several theories for the Moon’s birth, as well as for how it might have helped to yield life on Earth. The result is a stylish, speculative lunar history that might inspire a renewed sense of awe for our closest celestial companion.
Video by John Boswell