Our Moon

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According to NASA, there have been six lunar landings, all under the Apollo program. The first moon landing was by Apollo 11 on July 16, 1969. The last was Apollo 17, which landed on the moon on December 7, 1972.

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  • How Did NASA Know It Was Safe to Land on the Moon?

    Q: How Did NASA Know It Was Safe to Land on the Moon?

    A: There was a lot of build-up to the first manned moon landing, including several unmanned missions to the moon flown by the space programs from both the U.S. and the U.S.S.R. Based on the data gathered during these missions, NASA scientists were able to develop procedures and equipment that would be most likely to lead to a safe manned mission to the moon.
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  • How Close Does the Moon Get to the Earth?

    Q: How Close Does the Moon Get to the Earth?

    A: The moon travels in an elliptical orbit, and at perigee, the closest it gets to Earth, it stands about 225,623 miles, or 363,104 kilometers away.
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  • What Is the Temperature on the Dark Side of the Moon?

    Q: What Is the Temperature on the Dark Side of the Moon?

    A: Temperatures on the dark side of the moon average around negative 280 degrees Fahrenheit. This is do in part to the moon's lack of an atmosphere; there is no insulation to hold heat (on the far side) or soften the sun's rays (on the sun facing side).
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  • How Long Is a Moon Day?

    Q: How Long Is a Moon Day?

    A: According to NASA, one moon day is equal to 27 Earth days, which is the time the moon takes to complete its spin. The moon is tidally locked, so it always shows the same face to the Earth.
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  • How Did the Moon Get Its Craters?

    Q: How Did the Moon Get Its Craters?

    A: The moon's circular craters are the result of flying objects such as meteorites crashing into the moon's surface. This contact is known as an impact, and the resulting crater is officially known as an impact crater.
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  • Is the Moon Bigger Than the Earth?

    Q: Is the Moon Bigger Than the Earth?

    A: The moon is not bigger than the Earth as it has a diameter of approximately 2,159 square miles, which is about one-quarter of the size of Earth. In addition to being smaller than the Earth, the moon is much lighter. It weighs approximately 80 times less than Earth, but what it lacks in density, the moon makes up for in luminosity.
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  • Was Neil Armstrong Misquoted?

    Q: Was Neil Armstrong Misquoted?

    A: Whether Neil Armstrong's famous saying "one small step for man, one giant leap for mankind" is a misquote or not seems to be a matter of some debate. NASA authorities at the time claimed he said "one small step for a man" and Armstrong himself has occupied both sides of the debate at different times.
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  • Is the Moon Moving Farther Away From Earth?

    Q: Is the Moon Moving Farther Away From Earth?

    A: The moon is in fact gradually drifting away from the earth. Each year, the moon spins almost 4 centimeters farther from the earth, which makes the earth's day just a bit longer. While this 1.48-inch movement will eventually add up to a big change, it will take billions of years to make a significant difference to life on earth.
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  • How Many People Watched the First Moon Landing?

    Q: How Many People Watched the First Moon Landing?

    A: Reports indicate that some 600 million people watched as Neil Armstrong took the first step on the moon on July 20, 1969. That televised event set a world record that went unbroken until Prince Charles and Lady Diana married in 1981, which drew 750 million viewers.
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  • Why Did We Go to the Moon?

    Q: Why Did We Go to the Moon?

    A: One of the main reasons the United States sponsored a mission to the moon was because of the space race with Russia. Russia was the first country to put an artificial satellite in space, which caused a lot of embarrassment for the U.S.
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  • Can the Moon Really Affect Your Sleep Patterns?

    Q: Can the Moon Really Affect Your Sleep Patterns?

    A: Though scientists find the phenomenon hard to explain, it may be true that people tend to get a little bit less sleep during a full moon, and the sleep they do get is not as deep as it is at other times of the month. While increased nighttime light could be an issue, research showed that the moon impacted subjects' sleep even if they were in a windowless room. However, the European scientists who conducted this study, which was reported in 2013, seem to doubt their own findings.
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  • What Are the Phases of the Moon?

    Q: What Are the Phases of the Moon?

    A: The phases of the moon are: new moon, waxing crescent, first quarter, waxing gibbous, full, waning gibbous, third quarter and waning crescent. After the waning-crescent phase the moon returns to the new-moon phase and the cycle starts again. The complete cycle takes a little over 29 days.
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  • How Long Does It Take the Moon to Rotate on Its Axis?

    Q: How Long Does It Take the Moon to Rotate on Its Axis?

    A: One lunar day, the length of time it takes the moon to complete a full rotation on its axis, is equivalent to 28 days on Earth. This is also the amount of time it takes for the moon to complete its orbit around the Earth.
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  • Are Blue Moons Actually Blue?

    Q: Are Blue Moons Actually Blue?

    A: While the name "blue moon" conjures up a vivid, colorful image, the term actually refers to those times when there are two full moons in a single month; that second full moon is referred to as the blue moon, though its color is likely to be the same as it ever is. It is possible for the moon to have a bluish appearance, but this is usually due to atmospheric changes on earth, such as smoke or ash in the upper atmosphere as the result of fires or volcanic activity.
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  • Why Does the Moon Look Orange?

    Q: Why Does the Moon Look Orange?

    A: Any time the moon appears orange in the sky, it's because of light diffusion and refraction in the atmosphere. When the moon is low in the sky, the blue light reflected from its surface is scattered in the dense atmosphere, giving the moon a reddish-orange cast.
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  • What Went Wrong With Apollo 13?

    Q: What Went Wrong With Apollo 13?

    A: As the source of the iconic phrase, "Houston, we've had a problem," the Apollo 13 mission went from an intended moon landing to a narrowly averted disaster when one of the oxygen tank exploded as the shuttle was en route to the moon. This event occurred on April 14, 1970, three days after the shuttle's launch. After the explosion, the shuttle's crew, consisting of commander Jim Lovell, Jack Swigert and Fred Haise, worked with NASA mission control in Houston, Texas to successfully get themselves back to earth without major injury.
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  • How Long Does It Take the Moon to Orbit the Earth?

    Q: How Long Does It Take the Moon to Orbit the Earth?

    A: The Earth's moon takes 27 Earth days to completely orbit the Earth. A day on the moon is also equal to a little over 27 days on Earth.
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  • What Is the Weight of the Moon?

    Q: What Is the Weight of the Moon?

    A: The moon has a mass of 7.35 x 10²² kilograms. It is only about 60 percent as dense as Earth, and as such, the moon's mass is only 1.2 percent of Earth's. Thus, it would take the mass of 81 moons to equal the mass of Earth.
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  • What Happens During a Lunar Eclipse?

    Q: What Happens During a Lunar Eclipse?

    A: A lunar eclipse happens when the Earth passes between the moon and the sun. Lunar eclipses cast a shadow on the moon due to the Earth's location. From the perspective of the moon, the Earth completely blocks the sun.
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  • What Is the Difference Between a New Moon and a Full Moon?

    Q: What Is the Difference Between a New Moon and a Full Moon?

    A: When the moon is full, the moon is at its brightest, and the entire disk is visible. New moons occur when the Earth comes between the moon and the sun, resulting in a moon that is completely obscured by the Earth's shadow and is barely visible in the night sky.
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  • How Many Apollo Missions Landed on the Moon?

    Q: How Many Apollo Missions Landed on the Moon?

    A: Six Apollo missions, specifically Apollo 11, 12, 14, 15, 16 and 17, landed on the moon between 1969 and 1972. Apollo 13 was also supposed to land on the moon but failed to do so due to a spacecraft malfunction.
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