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Moon: NASA's Lunar Portal
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Moon Facts
Moon Fact
Space Face

Can you spot the face of the man on the moon?

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

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

Seeing Seas

The face of the moon is marked by regions, called mare (Latin for "sea"). Galileo, who thought the dark featureless areas were bodies of water, named these regions. We now know them to be basalt (a type of lava) filled impact basins.

Prince of Tides

There are two high tides and two low tides every day on every beach on Earth. This is due to the moon's pull.

Surface Boundary Exosphere

The atmosphere of the moon, called a surface boundary exosphere, is likely the same type of atmosphere found on many other planets.

Hot Rocks

All moon rocks originated through high-temperature processes with little or no involvement with water.

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.

Even Dozen

Only 12 people have ever walked on the surface of the moon.

Lunar Celebration

The ancient Chinese greeted solar eclipses by using noisemakers and by shooting arrows toward the heavens.

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.

Moon Phase Simulator

Interested in learning more about the phases of the moon?

Try the University of Nebraska's Lunar Phases Simulator.

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.

Constant Companion

It takes about a month for the moon to orbit Earth (27.3 days to complete a revolution, but 29.5 days to change phases from new moon to new moon).

Mercury to Apollo

Although three of the original Mercury 7 astronauts flew in the Apollo program, only one, Alan Shepard, walked on the moon. Shepard was the first American in space.

Don't Forget Your Space Suit

The moon is 239,000 miles away from the Earth. It would take almost nine years to walk there.

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).

Earth Lashing

Every month when the moon gets a lashing from Earth's magnetic tail. This has consequences ranging from lunar "dust storms" to electrostatic discharges.

Communication with LADEE

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

The Moon's Earth-like Core

Research suggests the moon possesses a solid, iron-rich inner core with a radius of nearly 150 miles and a fluid, primarily liquid-iron outer core with a radius of roughly 205 miles. Where it differs from Earth is a partially molten boundary layer around the core estimated to have a radius of nearly 300 miles.

Moon Rocks

Between 1969 and 1972 six Apollo missions brought back 382 kg (842 pounds) of lunar rocks, core samples, pebbles, sand and dust from the lunar surface. In addition, three automated Soviet spacecraft returned important samples totaling 300 g (approximately 3/4 pound).

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Last Updated: 11 Jul 2013