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The Earth casts its shadow across the moon's surface during the lunar eclipse as seen from Portland, Ore., Saturday, Dec. 10, 2011. (AP Photo/Rick Bowmer)

Scientists discovered that the moon is actually older than they originally thought


Thanks to sediment collected by the Apollo 14 moonwalkers in 1971, scientists arrived at a new consensus: The moon clocks in at 4.51 billion years old.

On Wednesday, a research team reported that the moon formed within 60 million years of the solar system's creation. Previous estimates said the moon surfaced within 100 to 200 million years of the solar system's birth.

The moon's age may seem unimportant, but, according to one scientist, it sheds light on how the Earth evolved. 

This is the second time this week the moon has made headlines. Earlier this week, Israeli scientists suggested the moon formed after a series of smaller collisions created multiple moonlets. The moonlets then merged to eventually create one planet. 

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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