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

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.

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."

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.

Moon Water

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

Original Rocks

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

Tiny Temblors

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

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.

Genesis Rock

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

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).

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.

Moon Phase Simulator

Interested in learning more about the phases of the moon?

Try the University of Nebraska's Lunar Phases Simulator.

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.

The Moon Festival

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

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).

Moon Rocks

Rocks from the moon are similar to three kinds of igneous rocks that are found here on Earth: basalt, anorthosites and breccias.

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.

Massive Impact Basin

Did you know the largest impact basin in the Earth-moon system is the South-Pole-Aitken basin on the moon measuring 2,500 km in diameter?

Once in a Blue Moon

About every 2.5 years an extra full moon, called a "Blue Moon" occurs.

The term Blue Moon is believed to have originated in 1883 after the eruption of Krakatoa. The volcano put so much dust in the atmosphere that the moon actually looked blue in color. This was so unusual that the term "once in a Blue Moon" was coined.

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.

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.

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