The article described the work of a multi-disciplinary team of specialists from NASA, the University of Arizona and the Institute for the Science of Exploration Targets, or INET.

Scientists have long known that the Moon was formed as a result of a collision between a large proto-planet and the nascent Earth.

But the timing of that event remains a topic for debate, as scientists continue to argue over the age of lunar rocks and soil samples brought back to Earth by the Apollo astronauts.

The team behind the latest research determined that following the collision, kilometre-sized meteorites struck asteroids in the main asteroid belt -- between the orbits of Mars and Jupiter -- at higher than normal speeds.

Subsequent collisions brought fragments of those meteorites to Earth and those fragments have been dated to 4.47 billion years ago.

"This research is helping to refine our time scales for 'what happened when' on other worlds in the Solar System," INET principal investigator Bill Bottke said.

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