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The Big Splat, or How Our Moon Came to Be by…

The Big Splat, or How Our Moon Came to Be

by Dana Mackenzie

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I'm not a humongous fan of reading Non-Fiction for pleasure. Non-Fic is to be studied and used in my own creations via notes etc. (or in the past, studied and tests taken on the subjects). That said, when I saw the author, Dana Mackenzie on the TV Show "The Universe" talking about this 'new' theory (hey, it was new to me) that the moon, our moon, was created by a 'great impact', it intrigued me. I realized that I had never really thought about how the moon came to be. I have no doubt that at some point in school we learned something about it, but for the life of me I can't remember when, or which theory we learned.

The Big Splat is basically split into four sections. One for each theory. Coaccretion, i.e. the Moon and Earth were formed together from one big mess of primordial gas and dust; capture, i.e. the Moon was minding its own business through our solar system and Earth pulled her in; fission, i.e. the proto-Earth started rotating so fast that it flung off some mass and that eventually became the Moon (wicked big sneeze much?); and Great Impact, where two proto-planets (one bigger than the other) whacked together and the two resulting bodies became Earth and our tidally locked moon. As I read through each theory (by the by, Dana Mackenzie is a fairly good and engaging writer who makes what could be deathly boring info lively and interesting), it only emphasized how little I know about the Moon. After all our parents generation has been there and back and for some reason that, for most of my generation's lives, has been enough for the majority of us.

It is slowly changing though, and it's nice to see a book like this that has a pull (really, who could pass by a book called The Big Splat in a book store without taking a look at it). And it's good to know that there are still scientists out there who are still passionate about that thing that appears nearly every night in our sky. ( )
  DanieXJ | Jul 29, 2010 |
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Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 0471150576, Hardcover)

The first popular book to explain the dramatic theory behind the Moon's genesis

This lively science history relates one of the great recent breakthroughs in planetary astronomy-a successful theory of the birth of the Moon. Science journalist Dana Mackenzie traces the evolution of this theory, one little known outside the scientific community: a Mars-sized object collided with Earth some four billion years ago, and the remains of this colossal explosion-the Big Splat-came together to form the Moon. Beginning with notions of the Moon in ancient cosmologies, Mackenzie relates the fascinating history of lunar speculation, moving from Galileo and Kepler to George Darwin (son of Charles) and the Apollo astronauts, whose trips to the lunar surface helped solve one of the most enigmatic mysteries of the night sky: who hung the Moon?

Dana Mackenzie (Santa Cruz, CA) is a freelance science journalist. His articles have appeared in such magazines as Science, Discover, American Scientist, The Sciences, and New Scientist.

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:08:06 -0400)

"Where did the Moon come from? It's a question even a child can ask, but until recently scientists could not agree on an answer. For the first time, this book relates for a general audience how lunar scientists arrived at a theory of the Moon's birth that fits all the available facts. Travel backward in time with science journalist Dana Mackenzie, from the slopes where the astronauts collected their Moon rocks to the ocean of magma from which those rocks cystallized and finally all the way back to the world-shaking collision that created the Moon four-and-a-half billion years ago. This collision, the Big Splat, destroyed one planet and forever changed our own - perhaps even creating the conditions in which life could evolve." "Along the way, Mackenzie explains how, over the centuries, humans have changed their own views of the Moon. He relates the fascinating history of lunar speculation, moving from such titans of science as Galileo and Kepler to less-famous luminaries such as George Darwin (son of Charles) to rogue scientists such as turn-of-the-century Thomas Jefferson Jackson See. He explains how lunar studies eventually fell into disrepute, with scientists very nearly becoming indifferent to the Moon's origin - until the 1960s. Mackenzie rockets the reader through the urgency and controversy that surrounded the space program, and salutes the accomplishments of the Apollo astronauts. In spite of the belief among some Apollo-era scientists that unmanned missions could have done the job just as well, Mackenzie shows how it took an intuitive, human touch to solve one of the Moon's greatest mysteries. It also took a revolution in the way that scientists think about the universe, signaled by the emergence in the 1970s of chaos theory, and the notion that catastrophes can befall our nearest neighbors in the solar system."--BOOK JACKET.… (more)

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