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

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

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.

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.

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).

Moon Phase Simulator

Interested in learning more about the phases of the moon?

Try the University of Nebraska's Lunar Phases Simulator.

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.

Even Dozen

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

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

Is There an Atmosphere on the Moon?

Relative to Earth, the moon is highly depleted in iron and in volatile elements that are needed to form atmospheric gases and water. However, there is an atmosphere.

Out of Shape

The moon is not round, but is in fact egg-shaped with the large end pointed towards Earth.

Moonquakes

There are two types of earthquakes that happen on the moon: deep moonquakes and shallow moonquakes.

Earthrise

Seeing the Earth rise from the moon never gets old.

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.

Weightless? Not Quite

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

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.

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Last Updated: 11 Jul 2013