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Moon: NASA's Lunar Portal
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Moon Facts
Moon Fact
Original Rocks

The rocks of the terrae (the light colored, rugged highlands of the moon) are nearly 4.6 billion years old.

EYES on LADEE: Explore the Moon in 3D
Moon Facts
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).

Orange Rocks on the Moon

How did orange soil appear on the moon? This mystery began when astronaut Harrison Schmidt noticed the off-color patch near Apollo 17's Taurus-Littrow landing site in 1972. Astronauts scooped up some of the unusual orange soil for inspection back on Earth. Lunar geologists now think that the orange soil was created during an ancient fire-fountain.

Weightless? Not Quite

Gravity on the moon is only 1/6 of that found on Earth.

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.

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.

Tiny Temblors

"Moonquakes" are millions of times less powerful than earthquakes.

Deep Impact

The moon's deepest craters are 4,500 m (15,000 feet). The South Pole-Aitken basin on the moon is an abyss that could engulf the United States from the East Coast through Texas.

Genesis Rock

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

The Moon Festival

Did you know the Chinese and Vietnamese have a festival each year to celebrate the moon?

Long Gone

There are no active volcanoes on the moon now. The moon's volcanoes have been extinct for billions of years.

First Step

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

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.

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.

Shaping the Moon

Between 4.5 and 4.3 billion years ago, a giant object hit the moon near its south pole and formed the South Pole-Aitken Basin, one of the two largest proven impact basins in the solar system.

Two NASA LRO Videos: "Evolution of the Moon" and "A Tour of the Moon."

Earthrise

Seeing the Earth rise from the moon never gets old.

Super Harvest Moon

September's full moon is referred to as the "Harvest Moon" because it occurs during harvest-time. The next "super" harvest moon will not occur until 2029.

One Small Step ...

In 2009, a NASA team restored the first grainy video of Neil Armstrong's first step on the moon.

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.

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.

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