The Moon’s true age may be 4.46 billion years. This is 40 million years older than previously thought, writes Gizmodo.

These conclusions were reached by scientists who examined samples of zircon crystals from the lunar soil collected during the Apollo 17 mission in 1972.

As part of the study, the researchers used atomic probe tomography to analyze the distribution of lead atoms in zircon crystals. The relevant results were published in the journal Geochemical Perspectives Letters.

“It’s amazing being able to have proof that the rock you’re holding is the oldest bit of the Moon we’ve found so far. It’s an anchor point for so many questions about the Earth,” said Jennika Greer, a geophysicist at the Field Museum in Chicago and the study’s lead author, in a museum release. “When you know how old something is, you can better understand what has happened to it in its history.”

By the way, recently the Japanese space company Space presented the Apex 1.0 lander designed for short-range flights to the Moon. It is expected to deliver up to 300 kg of cargo to the lunar surface. The mission is scheduled for 2026.