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Our Natural Satellite: The Moon

Updated on April 11, 2012

Object the Size of Mars

Origin of the moon
Origin of the moon

Tremendous Impact

The moon is the only cellestial body where human beings have imprinted their footprints. It was on July 20, 1969, when Neil Armstrong step on the surface of the moon for the first time in the history of space race. The moon is characterized by two distinct landscapes: the cratered highlands and maria which is the latin word for sea. The two landscapes are covered by a thin layer of regolith.

It is beleived that the moon might have originated from the impact of a pristine solar system object the size of Mars which impacted with the earth 4.5 billion years ago. The tremendous impact of these two objects liberated the fragments which gave form to what we know as the moon.

Surface of the Moon

Because the moon lacks an atmosphere, it has been continuosly bombarded by asteroids and meteoroids which have covered the surface of the moon with their fragments. Almost the entire surface of the moon is covered by a mantle of powder known as regolith. Beneath the regolith mantle lies another mantle of fractured bedrock referred to as the megaregolith.

For a long time, explorations of the moon were set aside, and it was not until the 1990s that lunar explorations resumed with two robotic missions: Lunar prospector and Clementine. Both misions gave proofs of the presence of ice in the lunar poles; however, a controlled impact of robot Prospector into a crater near the south pole produced negative results of the presence of water ice.

First Images of the Apollo Mission Landing Site

Apollo Mission
Apollo Mission

Exploring the Moon

New international missions to the moon began in the beginning of this century with the SMART-1 from the European Space Agency in 2003. Kaguya spacecraft from Japan launched on September 14, 2007. Chang´e 1 from Chine launched on March 8, 2007, and Chandrayaan-1 launched on October 22, 2008. NASA resume a series of lunar explorations with Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter and LCROSS which were launched in 2009. On July 17 2009, Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter high technology instruments sent over 192 images and maps of the surface of the moon, including the apollo mission landing site. LCROSS mission is spected to excavate the dark floor of a crater in search of water, hydrocarbons, and hydrated particles.


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  • unvrso profile image

    Jose Juan Gutierrez 5 years ago from Mexico City

    Since the Moon has no atmosphere, there are no molecules with which exhausted fuel can interact with, therefore, the disturbance normally produced by exhausted gas molecules on Earth is not produced on the surface of the Moon; moreover, the lunar module used a mixture of nitrogen tetroxide and Aerozine 50 which produces exhaust gases which are hard to see with the naked eye.

    I don´t have any information to support an opinion related to the subject.

  • somethgblue profile image

    somethgblue 5 years ago from Shelbyville, Tennessee

    Can you explain why the regolith ( a fine powder as you described ) didn't obscure the view of the Lunar Module blasting off from the surface as shown on TV in 1969?

    Could you offer your opinion on why manned missions haven't returned to the surface of the Moon?

    After reading some of your articles you seem to have a very logical way of thinking and would be interested in hearing any logical reasons, thank you!

  • unvrso profile image

    Jose Juan Gutierrez 5 years ago from Mexico City

    Thanks! Your positive commentaries encourages me to write more stories on the topic.

  • zzron profile image

    zzron 5 years ago from Houston, TX.

    This was very interesting. I have always enjoyed looking at the stars and the moon. Thanks for the history lesson. I have always loved history and science and this was a very cool topic.

  • unvrso profile image

    Jose Juan Gutierrez 5 years ago from Mexico City

    I´m a believer that life could exists in other planets, and wouldlike to witness the discovery of that fact. Fortunatelly, there are projects with this aim in mind, for instance, SETI project.

  • Iintertrans profile image

    Iintertrans 5 years ago from New Delhi

    some of the information like the sands name and other things are really very nice to have learned from you thanks for sharing this information. but i am waiting for the day where an authenticated outer space living being is confronted directly