Earth's Moon

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Information about Earth's Moon

Published on March 9, 2014

Author: AbbieMahinay


SMART-1 Small Missions for Advanced Research in Technology

The Moon A look at our nearest neighbor in Space!

What is the Moon? • A natural satellite • One of more than 96 moons in our Solar System • The only moon of the planet Earth

Moon’s Location from Earth • About 384,000 km (240,000 miles) from Earth • 3,468 km (2,155 miles) in diameter (about ¼ the size of Earth)

A Brief History of Lunar Exploration • 1959: Soviet Lunas 1, 2, 3 orbited around Moon • 1960’s: US Ranger - flyby mission - first space pictures - many TV cameras • 1966-67: Lunar Orbiter - 5 orbiting spacecraft - full coverage of pictures • 1966-68: Lunar Surveyor - surveying for landing sites - testing the “soil” (sink?)

Highlights from Apollo 11 mission launch: July 16th 1969 arrival at Moon: July 20th 1969 first humans to land on the Moon Command Module (CM): “Columbia”

On July 20, 1969, after a four day trip, the Apollo astronauts arrived at the Moon. This photo of Earthrise over the lunar horizon is one of the most famous images returned from the space program, although even the astronauts themselves cannot remember who actually took it. 13 Oct 2003 Solar System - Dr. C.C. Lang 7

First steps on the Moon • July 20th 1969 - Neil Armstrong - “Buzz” Aldrin 13 Oct 2003 Solar System - Dr. C.C. Lang 8

Touchdown of Moon astronauts near the coast of Hawaii on July 26th 1969

Earth Moon • Active wind/water erosion • NO Active wind/water erosion • Impacts • Impacts • Active volcanoes • NO active volcanoes • Earthquakes • Small moonquakes • Active magnetic field • NO active magnetic field • Few craters • Buckets of craters Geologically Active! Geologically Inactive!

Earth Plate tectonics! Moon NO plate tectonics

Earth Moon HOT! Not so hot! Why so different?

3 Layers of the Moon 1) Crust - average thickness of about 70 kilometers 2) Mantle 3) Core - radius is between 300 and 425 kilometers

The Moon’s Surface • No atmosphere • No liquid water • Extreme temperatures Daytime = 130C Nighttime = -190C • 1/6 Earth’s gravity

Lunar Features Highlands • Mountains up to 7500 m (25,000 ft) tall • Rilles (trenchlike valleys)

Lunar Features Craters • Up to 2500 km (1,553 miles) across • Most formed by meteorite impact on the Moon • Some formed by volcanic action inside the Moon

Lunar Features Maria • Originally thought to be “seas” by early astronomers • Darkest parts of lunar landscape • Filled by lava after crash of huge meteorites on lunar surface 3-4 billion years ago • Mostly basalt rock

Craters Can you see the rays? Maria

Movements of the Moon • Revolution – Moon orbits the Earth every 27 1/3 days • Rotation – Moon turns on its axis every 27 days

Movements of the Moon • The moon rises in the east and sets in the west • The moon rises and sets 50 minutes later each day • Same side of Moon always faces Earth

Far Side of the Moon • First seen by Luna 3 Russian space probe in 1959 • Surface features different from near side –More craters –Very few maria –Thicker crust

Lunar Formation Models The moon is a sister world that formed in orbit around Earth as the Earth formed. The moon formed somewhere else in the solar system then was captured into orbit around Earth. Early Earth spun so fast that it spun off the moon.

Impact by Mars-sized protoplanet 4.5 billion years ago

Copyrighted, LPI

Copyrighted, LPI

Copyrighted, LPI

Copyrighted, LPI

Copyrighted, LPI

Lunar Geologic History

Lunar Geologic History 4.5 billion years ago, our Moon forms (lunar rocks and meteorites) Copyrighted, LPI

Copyrighted, LPI

Magma Ocean Rocks 76535 Troctolite 4.2-4.3 Ga 60025 Anorthosite 4.44-4.51 Ga 95% Plag Feld (anorthite) Magma Ocean! No Water!

Lunar Geologic History Highlands - light, rough (Terrae) Mostly anorthosite (plagioclase feldspars lots of calcium and aluminum) “In place” rocks are 4.5 to 4.3 billion years old BIG Dark areas?

Lunar Impact Basins Imbrium Rim Big, frequent impacts until 3.8 billion years ago Impact events continue on all moons and planets today Orientale Basin

Rays Ejecta Floor Wall Tycho Crater Rim Central Peak Young – 100 MY 85 kilometers across Fresh (rays) = young

Impacts …“the most fundamental process on the terrestrial planets…” Eugene and Carolyn Shoemaker

Breccias and Impact Melts 15445 Impact melt + clasts 67016 Polymict Breccia

Lunar Geologic History Mare Volcanism Mare Imbrium Volcanism after impacts – most before 3 Ga (to 1 Ga) SW Mare Imbrium

Lunar Volcanism Aristarchus Plateau Marius Hills

Lava Tubes Apollo 17

Lunar Basalts 15555 3.3 Ga 15016

Lunar Geologic History Lowlands – dark, smooth Maria (16%) Basalt – fine grained dark igneous rock rich in iron and magnesium (stuff that sank in magma ocean) Few hundred meters thick Rocks are 4.3 to 3.1 billion years old … volcanic flows as recently as 1 billion years ago!!

And then …. All was quiet.

• Except for impacts... 7 November; ~30 lb TNT 3 m-wide crater (estimate)

• No Wind • No Flowing Water • No Erosion

• Except for impacts...

Return to the Moon! • 2012 – Develop and test technologies for resource utilization, communicati ons, power • 2014 – CEV, Ares launch vehicle

• 2018 – Humans for week-long stays • Next: 45-day stays at outposts

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