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Capture Hypothesis Research Papers

Research papers on the capture hypothesis look at the theory of the moon and other aspects of astronomy. Be sure your research paper discusses the elements below concerning the capture hypothesis.

The capture hypothesis is another of the older models explaining the origin of the Moon.  It contends that the Earth seized a fully formed Moon, which came close enough to our planet to be captured by gravitational forces. This theory was part of a general theory on the formation of planets, and was largely qualitative in nature. It saw the Moon as a “frozen relic” , a surviving example of bodies that used to populate the solar system.

Flaws in the Capture Hypothesis

Capture Hypothesis


Like the fission model, the capture theory requires that the bulk chemistry of the Moon differs substantially from that of the Earth.  The hypothesis is severely undermined by the following:

  1. The geo-chemical data gathered by recent lunar research that shows both the Earth and the Moon have similar quantities of the oxygen isotopes 16O, 17O and 18O in their basalts.  Most meteorites, on the other hand, contain distinctly different proportions of oxygen isotopes from those commonly found on Earth. 
  2. The similarity of isotope proportion suggests a close kinship in origin of the Earth and the Moon.
  3. The capture model is also flawed in its supposition of the likelihood that the correct dynamic and gravitational circumstances could readily occur. 

Formation and Capture Hypothesis

Although in the period of early formation of the solar system, objects up to the mass of Mars were being excreted and captured by the more massive proto-planets, computer simulations have shown that such a capture scenario is unlikely for a body with the relatively small mass that Earth had at the time. The main mechanical difficulties with the capture proposal are the high encounter velocity and the required rapid dissipation of the captured satellite’s kinetic energy.

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