The Moon, our planet’s constant companion for some 4.5 billion years, may have been forged by a rash of smaller bodies smashing into an embryonic Earth, researchers said Monday.

Such a bombardment birth would explain a major inconsistency in the prevailing hypothesis that the Moon splintered off in a single, giant impact between Earth and a Mars-sized celestial body.

In such a scenario, scientists expect that about a fifth of the Moon’s material would have come from Earth and the rest from the impacting body.

Yet, the makeup of the Earth and the Moon are near identical — an improbability that has long perplexed backers of the single-impact hypothesis.

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