A History of Modern Planetary Physics: Fruitful Encounters

Front Cover
The early 20th century saw the replacement of the nebular hypothesis with the Chamberlin-Moulton theory that the Solar System resulted from the encounter of the Sun with a passing star. Fruitful Encounters follows the eventual refutation of the encounter theory in the 1930s and the subsequent revival of a modernized nebular hypothesis, which was reconstructed with the help of nuclear physics. The "giant-impact" theory of the Moon's origin imagines an actual collision between the young Earth and a Mars-size planet, with the Moon being formed from a mixture of material from the impacting planet and the Earth's mantle. Professor Brush discusses the role of findings from the Apollo space program, especially the analysis of lunar samples, culminating in the establishment of this theory in the 1980s.

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