In 1953, Clair Cameron Patterson measured ratios of lead isotopes in samples that put tight constraints on Earth's age.
The Canyon Diablo meteorite is important because it represents a class of meteorites with components that allow for more precise dating.
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By using not only the rocks on Earth but also information gathered about the system that surrounds it, scientists have been able to place the age of the Earth at approximately 4.54 billion years.
For comparison, the Milky Way galaxy that contains the solar system is approximately 13.2 billion years old, while the universe itself has been dated to 13.8 billion years.
Samples in Western Australia run 3.4 to 3.6 billion years old.
Gravitational interactions coalesced this material into the planets and moons at roughly the same time.
By studying other bodies in the solar system, scientists are able to find out more about the early history of the planet.
The nearest body to Earth, the moon, does not suffer from the resurfacing problems that cover Earth's landscape.
As such, rocks from early lunar history should be present on the moon.