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Moon: NASA's Lunar Portal
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Moon Facts
Moon Fact
Lunar Mascons

Mass is not distributed uniformly inside the moon. Large mass concentrations ("mascons") lie beneath the surface of many large lunar basins and probably represent thick accumulations of dense lava. Relative to its geometric center, the moon's center of mass is displaced toward Earth by several kilometers.

EYES on LADEE: Explore the Moon in 3D
Moon Facts
Moon Dust

The moon's surface is covered by a pile of rock fragments and dust called lunar regolith. The thickness of the regolith varies from about 5 m on mare surfaces to about 10 m on highland surfaces.

Familiar Face

Only about 59 percent of the moon's surface is visible to us here on Earth.

Friendly Face

Many of us see a man in the moon -- a human face smiling down at us from the lunar surface. Scientists say the fact that we see a face may be the result of the rate at which the moon slowed down before becoming locked into its current orientation.

Moon Phase Simulator

Interested in learning more about the phases of the moon?

Try the University of Nebraska's Lunar Phases Simulator.

Moon Water

In 2009, orbiting spacecraft discovered water molecules on the moon.

Genesis Rock

The age of the oldest rock collected by the Apollo astronauts is 4.5 billion years old.

Moon Phases

Full moons occur every 29.5 days. The moon keeps the same side to us, but not always the same face. Because of the tilt and shape of its orbit, observers see the moon from slightly different angles over the course of a month.

The Wolf Moon

When the snows were deep in January, wolf packs would often howl near Native American villages, prompting the title "full wolf moon" for the first full moon in January (according to climatologist Brent McRoberts of Texas A&M University).

How the Moon Was Formed

The moon was formed ~4.5 billion years ago (about 30-50 million years after the origin of our solar system) out of debris thrown into orbit by a massive collision between a smaller proto-Earth and another planetoid, about the size of Mars.

Moon Day

A lunar day (or the time it takes from sunrise to sunrise) on the moon is approximately 708 hours.

Perfect Crater

Linné crater is extremely young, and to a scientist's eye pretty close to perfect. Linné is a beautifully preserved young mare crater.

NASA's Planetary CSI: Crater Science Investigations: Linné Crater

Snow Moon

Native Americans referred to February's full moon as "Snow Moon." This is due to the cold and snowy weather typically found during the month of February.

Communication with LADEE

Unlike past missions, LADEE will be using lasers instead of radio waves to communicate with mission control.

Mighty Minotaur

LADEE will be launched on an five-stage Minotaur V rocket. The first three stages of the Minotaur V are former Peacekeeper ballistic solid rocket motors. The fourth and fifth stages are commercial motors.

First Step

The first human being walked on the moon on 20 July 1969.

Stuffed Crust

The crust on the far side of the moon is thicker than the crust on the near side.

The far side highlands appear to have formed early in the moon's history, when a magma ocean (shaped by tides caused by Earth's gravity) heated the moon's floating crust non-uniformly. Since then, the magma ocean has solidified.

Moon Gods

Most ancient religions had a moon god or goddess. One Roman moon goddess was named Luna, and this is why many modern words associated with the moon have "Luna" as their root.

Long Road

It would take 135 days to drive by car to the moon at 70 mph.

Inverted Moon

As the astronomical telescope with its inverted image came into use, astronomers adopted the habit of representing the way they saw the moon -- upside down. This practice was followed until very recently. Lunar images are now constructed and stored digitally and can be displayed at any orientation. The moon is now typically shown right side up.

Ancient Rocks

Moon-rock ages range from about 3.2 billion years in the maria (dark, low basins) to nearly 4.6 billion years in the terrae (light, rugged highlands). Active geologic forces, including plate tectonics and erosion, continuously repave the oldest surfaces on Earth whereas old surfaces persist with little disturbance on the moon.

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Last Updated: 11 Jul 2013