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This method relies on the uptake of a naturally occurring radioactive isotope of carbon, carbon-14 by all living things.

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

These break down over time in a process scientists call radioactive decay.

Each original isotope, called the parent, gradually decays to form a new isotope, called the daughter.

Radiocarbon dating is one such type of radiometric dating.

Since the 1950s, geologists have used radioactive elements as natural "clocks" for determining numerical ages of certain types of rocks. "Forms" means the moment an igneous rock solidifies from magma, a sedimentary rock layer is deposited, or a rock heated by metamorphism cools off.This chain eventually ends with the formation of a stable, nonradioactive daughter nuclide.Each step in such a chain is characterized by a distinct half-life.Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition © William Collins Sons & Co. 1979, 1986 © Harper Collins Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012 Cite This Source (rā'dē-ō-mět'rĭk) A method for determining the age of an object based on the concentration of a particular radioactive isotope contained within it.For inorganic materials, such as rocks containing the radioactive isotope rubidium, the amount of the isotope in the object is compared to the amount of the isotope's decay products (in this case strontium).We can then use radioactive age dating in order to date the ages of the surfaces (when the rocks first formed, i.e. We also have meteorites from asteroids and can date them, too.