(ORDO NEWS) — More than 60 years ago, during the Apollo mission, special reflective panels were installed on the surface of the moon.
As a result, scientists were able to establish that the satellite is gradually moving away from our planet. Every year, it gets further by 4 cm.
In addition, experts were able to calculate how close the Moon was to the Earth 2.5 billion years ago and how this affects the daylight hours.
Scientists from the Universities of Utrecht and Geneva used several different methods to obtain new information about the state of the solar system in the distant past.
They managed to learn an incredible secret – the Moon is gradually moving away from the Earth . To do this, they studied the signals present in samples of ancient rock layers that were taken on our planet.
Samples from Karijini National Park in Western Australia were studied. Their age reaches 2.5 billion years. Sediments are striated formations of iron that were at the very bottom of the ancient ocean a long time ago.
Experts were able to establish that iron layers alternate with thinner and darker layers at equal intervals.
The dark layers turned out to be a softer rock that was prone to erosion. Very thin white, reddish and bluish-gray layers were also found.
They suggested that such formations may indicate that the climate changed very much in the past. The layers could have arisen as a result of the so-called “Milankovich cycles”.
These cycles represent a change in the shape of the orbit that occurs from time to time. The orientation of the Earth’s axis also changes.
This, in turn, affects how exactly the sunlight that our planet can receive over several years is distributed.
Scientists are sure that these cycles can have a very strong influence on the climate and it is they that provoke an extreme increase or decrease in temperature on Earth.
This in turn leads to the periodic appearance of greenery in the Sahara desert.
Analysis of samples from Australia has shown that the rocks bear traces of several major cyclical changes. The thickness of deposits was compared with the speed of their formation.
As a result, they found out that cyclical changes occurred every 11 and 100 thousand years. Then scientists additionally calculated the distance from the Earth to the moon for that period.
The results showed that the satellite was 60 thousand kilometers closer to our planet 2.5 billion years ago. This affected the daylight hours – it lasted 17 hours.
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