It’s a wonder to see in the night sky, whether it’s a full Moon, a crescent or just a sliver of it is seen, the Moon is a marvel to gaze upon. With the 50th anniversary of the Apollo 11 Lunar Landing this month, let’s take a look at some interesting facts about our neighbor and discover what we can learn about our planet as well. Let the facts about the moon countdown begin…
Amazing Facts About the Moon #5 – Anaxagoras’ Theories
Understanding of the celestial bodies in the night sky began in the ancient times but one man in particular, Anaxagoras from the 5th century proposed some interesting theories that would be proven correct today. He was not a religious man and not only studied the Moon, but also the Sun, the Stars, rainbows, eclipses and even Meteors. He lived in Athens and was well-known for his theories such as…
- The Moon has mountains and was inhabited. He was also the first to correctly explain the reasoning of eclipses due to light reflecting from the Sun which was also the reason of why the Moon shines at night.
- He believed the Earth was flat and floating, supported by strong air and if there were any disturbances in the air, this was the reason for earthquakes.
- He described the Sun as a mass of red-hot metal that was larger than Peloponnese, a peninsula in the southern region of Greece. In reality, about 1.3 million Earth sized-planets can fit in the Sun!
- He believed that the celestial bodies came from masses of stone than were torn from the Earth and were formed by rapid rotation.
Although some of his theories are incorrect by today’s scientific proof, his knowledge and hypothesis made him famous. Because of what he said he was charged with impiety, or going against the word of God, and was banished from Athens. Anaxagoras was sent to Lampsacus, or present-day northwestern Turkey. After his death in 428 B.C. an altar was erected in his memory and many observed the anniversary of his death for many years.
Amazing Facts About the Moon #4 – Giant Impact Hypothesis
No one really knows how the Moon came to existence but one commonly accepted theory is something that has been called, “Theia”. This theory speculates that a Mars sized object collided with Gaia (the early Earth name) in a head-on collision. The impact threw debris in the reaches of space and that the gravity from Gaia captured the remaining debris and caused a rotation which would later form the Moon as we see it today.
Based on rock evidence collected from Apollo 12 ,15 and 17, this is a theory accepted by the scientific community. This could also explain why the size of the Earth’s core is considerably larger than most planets of its size. It’s 760 miles in diameter and is about 70% of the Moon radius! Although the theory itself is unproven, it’s still a fascinating proposal nonetheless.
#3 – Features Of The Moon
With the discovery of water on the Moon, there are plenty of surprises that can be found on our neighbor. Here are just a facts about the moon few to tell.
- There are mountains on the Lunar surface most likely caused by the effects of asteroid strikes. The highest point of the Moon was located in 2010 and is named the Selenean Summit which peaks at an astonishing 35,387 feet! Nearly 20% taller than Earth’s highest point, Mount Everest!
- The Moon is notably larger than most satellites in our solar system in terms of size when compared to other planets. Jupiter and Saturn have smaller satellites when compared to their monumental size. The only exception is Charon, Pluto’s moon, which is actually a little bit bigger but not by much. To give you a better perspective, the entire Lunar surface is slightly smaller than the combined area of North and South America! That’s a pretty big area when compared to other satellites of other planets in our neighborhood.
- Impact craters are a big thing on the Moon. This is because nothing grows there and the lack of an atmosphere allows the craters to remain preserved. The largest and most recognized is the South Pole- Aitken Basin crater. This crater measures at nearly 1600 miles in diameter and is 8 miles deep! That’s roughly the distance from New York City to Puerto Rico!
- Your weight on the moon is very different due to the difference in gravity when compared to Earth. It’s about 16.5%, so if you weighed 160 pounds on Earth, you’d only weight a startling 26.5 pounds on the Moon!
- The cost of the Apollo 11 mission that brought humans to another world costed $28 Billion Dollars! Adjusted for inflation that’s almost $300 Billion Dollars!
#2 – Neil Armstrong’s Rumored Gift
Neil Armstrong made history when he was first man to take those fateful steps on the moon while uttering that infamous line. Although regarded as the most popular man of his time and an American hero, Armstrong was a very private person. Armstrong’s daughter Karen died in 1962 from brain cancer and it’s been a long-standing rumor that while walking on the Moon, Armstrong deviated for a moment during the mission.
No one knows what happened during this time but according the to the film First Man, Armstrong placed a bracelet with his daughter’s name into the Little West Crater. This is based on research conducted by the screenwriter and family friends of Armstrong. Although the bracelet has never been found, the idea that he did such a thing makes even more of a better person than he already was.
#1 – The Future Lies With Artemis
NASA plans to return to the Moon by 2024, although that exact date will most likely change. Artemis is the twin sister of the Greek God Apollo, which was the name for the missions that brought humans to the Lunar surface. Artemis is now the name for this mission which will begin the plans to colonize the Moon and will also see the first woman walk the Lunar surface.
Humans haven’t been to the Moon since the Apollo 17 mission back in 1972. Although the budget is needing to be approved by Congress, this mission does show promise in the future of space exploration. It will be quite a show when Artemis finally takes her flight!