By Tim Binnall
An examination of a rock brought back to Earth by Apollo 14 astronauts revealed that part of it may have actually come from here! The curious object in question is a basketball-sized piece of material which was picked up during the 1971 moon mission and ferried back to Earth as part of a large cache of lunar rocks to be studied. During a recent research project looking at these samples, scientists reportedly found a curious element to this particular rock which suggests that it boasts a rather fantastic origin story.
The item, given the unimaginative name '14321' when it was cataloged, actually consists of several smaller rocks fused together. Among that grouping, scientists spotted one particular portion that stood out among the other rocks and focused in on it in an attempt to determine its geological composition. Their study ultimately indicated that the rock was formed from minerals that are abundant here on Earth, but rare on the moon. They also found that the piece probably materialized in environmental conditions more in keeping with our planet than those found on the lunar surface.
In light of these insights, researchers have offered an amazing theory for how this piece of the rock wound up on the moon. Since there does not seem to be any scenario in which it could have formed there, they argue that it was created here on Earth and then launched to the moon four billion years ago by way of a meteor strike or similar event. By itself, that would make it the oldest piece of the Earth ever to be discovered. It might also make 14321 one of the most unique rocks in history simply by virtue of its incredible journey from Earth to the moon in the distant past and then back to our planet in modern times by way of the Apollo astronauts.