Our Moon

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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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  • How much did the Apollo program cost?

    Q: How much did the Apollo program cost?

    A: Space travel requires a lot of research and preparation, and by the time the Apollo program wrapped up in the 1970s, its total cost was about $30 billion, which would be well more than $100 billion dollars in 2015 money. This total cost reflects work that took place over several years.
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  • Why do we always see the same face of the moon?

    Q: Why do we always see the same face of the moon?

    A: The moon is tidally locked with Earth, which has the effect of synchronizing its rotation period with the period of its orbit. Completing one "day" per orbit of the Earth, the moon has shown the same face to the Earth for billions of years.
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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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  • 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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  • 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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  • 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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  • What causes a red moon?

    Q: What causes a red moon?

    A: A red moon occurs when the Earth eclipses the moon from sunlight. The moon looks red due to dispersed light from Earth's sunrises and sunsets that is refracted back onto the moon's surface.
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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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  • Does the moon have quakes?

    Q: Does the moon have quakes?

    A: There is evidence that the moon is seismically active, which means it can experience the moon version of an earthquake. During the 1969 and 1972 moon landings, astronauts placed seismometers on the moon in order to allow scientists to learn more about earth's biggest natural satellite.
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  • How much would you weigh on the moon?

    Q: How much would you weigh on the moon?

    A: According to the Argonne National Laboratory, a human being weighs approximately one-sixth as much on the moon as he does on Earth. If an individual weighs 180 pounds on Earth, that weight is converted to 30 pounds on the moon.
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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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  • 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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  • What is bigger: the Earth or the Moon?

    Q: What is bigger: the Earth or the Moon?

    A: The Earth is much bigger than the moon. While the Earth is measured at 8,000 miles in diameter, the Moon only measures 2,160 miles in diameter. This means that if the Earth was hollowed out, the Moon could fit inside it 50 times.
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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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  • 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 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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  • Can humans live on the moon?

    Q: Can humans live on the moon?

    A: Despite the close relationship between the Earth and its moon as well as successful human visits to the moon, life there is not currently sustainable. The moon doesn't provide enough oxygen for humans to survive. Solar radiation is also a problem, since the moon is outside Earth's protective atmosphere.
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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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  • How long does it take to get to the moon?

    Q: How long does it take to get to the moon?

    A: The Apollo 11 astronauts on the famed 1969 mission took 3 days, 3 hours and 49 minutes to go from launch to close lunar orbit, typical of manned missions. Unmanned spacecraft employ a much wider range of travel times.
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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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  • 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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