I am highly interested in how the moon originated. Theories suggest that the moon is a chunk of the earth, or rather, both were at one point one celestial body. Is there any literature out there with regard to this topic? I mean papers and simulation applets and algorithms.

up vote 4 down vote accepted

I'd recommend taking a look at this review paper. The author is well known for doing SPH simulations of lunar formation models, so it should provide a good starting point.

On a side note, the most popular moon formation theory is probably the giant impact hypothesis which suggests that the moon formed after a large body collided with the proto-earth.

However, you should be aware that there are severe problems with this model as it cannot properly explain the moon composition and/or the the angular momentum in the earth-moon system.

This paper gives a rather critical (and technical) discussion of the giant impact model and might also provide an interesting read.

  • Can the codes of the simulations performed in the review paper be found online? Or does anyone have it? – Artemisia Jan 18 '14 at 17:24
  • 1
    @Artemisia - I don't know. It is not common practice to make such codes openly available, so odds are against it. – Michael B. Jan 18 '14 at 19:05
  • Oh... but how must I begin the code? Is there any reference out there that I can use to build code exactly like the simulation? – Artemisia Jan 19 '14 at 1:28
  • 1
    @Artemisia - Maybe this paper. – Michael B. Jan 19 '14 at 10:58
  • 1
    @Artemisia - These types of code are difficult to set up and can take months to years of research to design and test. Frankly this is well beyond my expertise. I'd suggest posting a new question specifically on how to set up a physically accurate SPH simulation, or contact someone that does this type of work. – Michael B. Jan 19 '14 at 19:01

Your Answer


By clicking "Post Your Answer", you acknowledge that you have read our updated terms of service, privacy policy and cookie policy, and that your continued use of the website is subject to these policies.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.