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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  • What Causes a Crescent Moon?

    Q: What Causes a Crescent Moon?

    A: Crescent moons happen when Earth, the sun and moon are positioned in a way that only shows a portion of the reflected light on the moon. The result is a crescent-shaped light pattern.
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  • Why Is the Moon Not a Planet?

    Q: Why Is the Moon Not a Planet?

    A: The moon is not a planet because, by definition, a planet is a "spherical ball of rock or gas that orbits a star," according to About.com. While the moon is a spherical ball of rock, it orbits the Earth and not the sun.
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  • Why Does the Same Side of the Moon Always Face Earth?

    Q: Why Does the Same Side of the Moon Always Face Earth?

    A: Though the moon does rotate around its axis, the speed with which it completes these revolutions match the amount of time it takes to orbit around the Earth, leading the same side to be faced toward Earth at all times. This process takes a about month, meaning the moon's days are as long as an Earth month.
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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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  • What Objects Did Astronauts Leave on the Moon?

    Q: What Objects Did Astronauts Leave on the Moon?

    A: Thanks to six moon landings, hundreds of objects are still scattered across the surface of the moon: golf balls, boots, cameras, javelins, sculptures, photographs, and a golden olive branch. Because the moon doesn't have an atmosphere, most of these objects will remain preserved until something impacts that area of the moon.
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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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  • 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 Can I Tell What Phase the Moon Is In?

    Q: How Can I Tell What Phase the Moon Is In?

    A: The way to identify which of the phases the moon is in is based on which section of the moon's face is lit by the sun. The moon has eight phases, which happen in the same cycle over the course of a 29-day period.
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  • How Was the Moon Formed?

    Q: How Was the Moon Formed?

    A: The most popular theory regarding lunar formation is that a Mars-sized planetoid slammed into the Earth and flung molten debris into orbit around 40 million years after the solar system was created, according to scientists at the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA). This is called the giant impact theory.
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  • What Color Is the Moon?

    Q: What Color Is the Moon?

    A: The surface of the moon is generally a light gray color, although there are parts of the moon that are made up of dark gray rocks. The moon has a different appearance from the surface, from space and from the Earth.
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  • Where Does the Moon Rise?

    Q: Where Does the Moon Rise?

    A: The moon rises in the eastern sky and sets in the western sky because of Earth's rotation. Its rising and setting positions vary throughout the year from northeast/northwest to due east/west to southeast/southwest.
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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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  • 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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  • 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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  • How Many Phases Does the Moon Have?

    Q: How Many Phases Does the Moon Have?

    A: The moon has a total of eight individual phases. Four of these phases are considered to be the moon's main phases. The remaining four phases are considered to be the moon's transitional phases.
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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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  • How Many Times Did We Land on the Moon?

    Q: How Many Times Did We Land on the Moon?

    A: 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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  • 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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  • How Old Is the Moon?

    Q: How Old Is the Moon?

    A: The scientific consensus is that the Earth's moon formed four and half billion years ago. About 100 million years after the formation of the solar system, another small planet is likely to have collided with the Earth, resulting in the formation of the Moon.
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  • Why Is the Moon Important?

    Q: Why Is the Moon Important?

    A: Most people know that the moon's gravitational influence has an effect on the tides on Earth, but some scientists also believe that the presence of the moon played an important role in making Earth habitable to begin with. The interplay between the Earth and the moon mirrors events that occurred throughout the early solar system, as a Mars-sized object may have hit the Earth, sending some of the mantle into orbit that soon cooled into the moon. Over time, the relationship between the Earth and the moon may well have assisted the advent of life.
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  • Do Full Moons Really Make Us Crazy?

    Q: Do Full Moons Really Make Us Crazy?

    A: Humans have long believed that there is a connection between a full moon and erratic behavior, but there is no scientific proof that this is the case. Even though no real evidence exists of the moon's crazy-making powers, many continue to believe that the two things are connected. This is known as "illusory correlation," in which people imagine that they see a logical connection where there isn't one.
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