Scientists at UCLA-led research now think that the moon was created in a much more violent collision than they previously imagined. Recent research led by UCLA set about reconstructing the epic collision which took place nearly 4.5 billion years ago. And unfortunately it isn't made of cheese either.
The impact was between Earth, which was around 100 million years old at the time, and a "planetary embryo" called Theia. Previously they thought the two crashed at around a 45 degree angle but now think it was more likely a head-on crash, which would've made for a much more aggressive impact. The crash resulted in the formation of the moon.
Geochemists analysed the Earth and the moon's ratio of oxygen isotopes and found that where previously scientists had believed they differed, they now found they were very much the same.
This meant that the collision must had been head-on, because had it taken place at an angle the moon would have been made mainly of Theia. Head-on would mean a more even distribution of chemical composition in the earth and moon, which is what was found.
“Theia was thoroughly mixed into both the Earth and the moon, and evenly dispersed between them,” said Edward Young, lead author of the new study and a UCLA professor of geochemistry and cosmochemistry. “This explains why we don’t see a different signature of Theia in the moon versus the Earth.”
Theia, which scientists believe would've grown into a planet had it not crashed, didn't survive the impact at all. And without the moon and its effect on earth's oceans, life on our planet may never have evolved into the vast variety of complex life we see (and are destroying) today. Theia, we owe you bro.