Dating lunar rocks

This decay, or loss of energy, results in an atom (element) of one type, called the parent nuclide transforming to an atom of a different type (another element or another isotope of the same element), named the daughter nuclide.For example: a carbon-14 atom (the "parent") emits radiation and transforms to a nitrogen-14 atom (the "daughter").We have an activity in one of the PSI workshops "Exploring the Terrestrial Planets," that deals with this topic.So, you can use the radioactive elements to measure the age of rocks and minerals. Their useful range is from about 1/10 their half-life (the time it takes for half of the radioactive element/isotope-- the parent, to convert into a non-radioactive element/isotope-- the daughter) to 10 times their half-life. You can use this to measure the age of a rock from about 128 million years to more than 10 billion years (the Solar System is 4.56 billion years old).On the other hand, the number of neutrons that can be contained in the nucleus can vary.

The effects of impacts and how they might affect us here on Earth, global climate change (Venus vs.

When the number of neutrons is not in balance with the protons then the atom of that particular element is said to be unstable.

In nature, all elements have atoms with varying numbers of neutrons in their nucleus.

These differing atoms are called isotopes and they are represented by the sum of protons and neutrons in the nucleus. Carbon has 6 protons in its nucleus, but the number of neutrons its nucleus can host range from 6 to 8.

We thus have three different isotopes of carbon: Carbon-12 with 6 protons and 6 neutrons in the nucleus, Carbon-13 with 6 protons and 7 neutrons in the nucleus, Carbon-14 with 6 protons and 8 neutrons in the nucleus.

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We have rocks from the Moon (brought back), meteorites, and rocks that we know came from Mars.

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