Illustration by Casey Reed
Javier Barbuzano, Science Journalist
Sky & Telescope Magazine and El Pais
“The Moon Mess”
Abstract: In the most widely accepted theory of the formation of Earth's Moon, about 4½ billion years ago, a Mars-sized body and the proto-Earth — both with atmospheres, and, likely surface oceans — crashed into each other. Already scarred by earlier, smaller impacts, the two bodies largely vaporized. The Moon and Earth coalesced out of the debris. But in the decades since the last Apollo mission, evidence has mounted that the Earth and Moon are made of the exact same stuff. If a planet-scale smash created the Moon, how did it end up so like the Earth? We address this and other open questions about our satellite's formation.
Date: Thursday, February 21st, 2019
Location: Galileo 201
Link to Slide Deck: The Moon Mess (PDF, 3.4 MB)
About the Speaker: Javier Barbuzano's science journalism career began as a Public Information Officer for the Instituto de Astrofisica de Canarias (Canary Islands, Spain). From there he continued to the University of Florida Astronomy Department (Gainesville, Florida), and then to the European Southern Observatory Headquarters (Munich, Germany). In 2016, he returned to school at Boston University to get his Masters in Science Journalism. While getting his degree, he interned at the Harvard Stem Cell Institute and at Sky & Telescope magazine. His in-depth review of the unsettled theories on the formation of the Earth's Moon appeared in the August 2018 Sky & Telescope issue and forms the basis for his talk at Saint Mary's. In August 2018 he moved to Barcelona, Spain, where he continues his work as a freelance science journalist. In the April, 2019 Sky & Telescope issue, he will explore what is known about the Alpha Centauri system, Earth's nearest stellar neighbors.
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