The vast number of lunar studies indicates that we as humans are “mad about the moon.” Lunar exploration dates back more than 50 years, and is still going strong. We have engaged in lunar exploration to answer several questions: What is our Moon? What is it made of? Is there lunar life? Do water and air exist there?
While lunar exploration has provided answers, many more questions exist. That means further exploration is paramount. Hence, the current Google Lunar X PRIZE competition focuses on returning to the lunar surface to gather more data. Until the new data come in, let’s focus on some of the interesting knowledge that has been obtained about Earth's largest satellite.
Moon General Information
According to Paul D. Spudis’s “Moon,” our Moon is approximately 4.6 billion years old. Amazingly, this brilliant light in our night sky gives off no Moon-made light, but reflects light from the sun. Much like the sun, Earth's Moon rises in the east and sets in the west.(1) As Earth’s only satellite, the Moon revolves around the Earth. These orbits cause our Moon to appear in varied shapes (e.g., half Moon, quarter Moon, full Moon). These different Moon shapes are more commonly known as phases. Additionally, there are Moon phase calendars, which indicate how it will appear on any given day according to location (time zone). Humans also have taken the time to name each of the full Moons.
Evidence of humans’ fascination with Earth's largest satellite was solidified in 1959, when a major step in lunar exploration took place – the first Moon trip. Then in 1969, “man on the Moon” became more than a thought when the United States sent humans to walk on the lunar surface. Throughout lunar exploration, lunar surface pictures have been taken, and samples have been sent back to Earth for further study.(2) Space pioneering has also detected proof of frozen water at the lunar poles.
Moon and Beyond (Popular Culture)
Humans continue to be enthralled with all things Moon, extending their ideas to food (e.g., moon pies); music (e.g., “Moonlight Sonata” by Ludwig Van Beethoven); popular sayings (e.g., once in a Blue Moon); kids’ activities (e.g., Moonbounce); dance craves (e.g., Michael Jackson’s Moonwalk); and interestingly enough, diets (i.e., Moon Diet).
We can use etymology to describe the human-to-Moon relationship. The Latin word for Moon is “luna.” Furthermore, the suffix, “-atic,” means “pertaining to” or “of the nature of.” Therefore, when all is considered, a great way to describe humans and our quest for lunar knowledge is to simply say, “We are Lunatics who are mad about the Moon.” Our "Moon madness" will continue until all has been explored. According to Frank Borman, Commander of Apollo 8 (the first of the U.S. Apollo Series to fly around our Moon), “exploration is really the essence of the human spirit.”(3)
Kristil Battle, Dynetics
1. Spudis, Paul D. “Moon.” World Book Online Reference Center. 2004. World Book, Inc. (http://www.worldbookonline.com/wb/Article?id=ar370060).
2. Williams, David R. (n.d. - last updated 2010). Lunar Exploration Timeline (and associated Web pages). National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA). Retrieved October 29, 2010, from http://nssdc.gsfc.nasa.gov/planetary/lunar/lunartimeline.html.
3. Think Exist Quotes. Retrieved November 18, 2010, from http://thinkexist.com/quotes/frank_borman/.
OTHER PAGES ABOUT THE MOON
What does the Moon have that is rare on the Earth? Helium 3(He-3). He-3 is produced as a byproduct of nuclear weapons development through the decay of tritium. The Moon's surface contains Helium 3 at concentrations on the order of 0.01 ppm in sunlit areas and concentrations as much as five times higher in permanently shadowed regions. A case is made that lunar He-3 can be commercially viable in the coming decades.
Are you up for a little full moon names "lunar trivia?" Native Americans named the full Moons to keep track of the seasons. Match each month to its corresponding full Moon name; Sturgeon Moon, Hunter’s Moon, Strawberry Moon, Buck Moon, Snow Moon, Cold Moon, Flower Moon, Beaver Moon, Worm Moon, Wolf Moon, Pink Moon, Harvest Moon
What does "Bad Moon Rising" really mean? Creedence Clearwater Revival's John Fogerty himself has been known to occasionally substitute the "bathroom" version. Some say "…it was a song about the Vietnam War. Some say it denotes the end of the world. Some interpret the song to be about "a depressed man standing on train tracks at night watching the approaching train come to take his life."
Photographing the Moon: You’ll need a camera, of course - the bigger, the better. But you can get images that you can enjoy even with modest equipment. Craters and mountains are more distinct when illuminated at a highly oblique angle as occurs when the moon is between a thin crescent and half-moon phase. Also, use a remote shutter release to prevent shake due to your finger pressing the button.
Was the Moon landing real? Did we land on the Moon? Were the Moon landings faked? You have probably heard the rumors. Astronauts never walked on the Moon. That it was all faked on a soundstage in Hollywood. And that the Government has been lying to us for 40 years now.
The Earth and Moon: A Love Story. Perhaps, after the Earth was formed, she caught the eye of a large passing asteroid and pulled him onto the galactic dance floor. Why, hello there, Moon. I haven't seen you 'round these parts before. Care to dance? No matter how it happened, the end result is a love story for the ages.
Possibly the most exclusive club in the world has only 12 members and all can say they have been a man on the moon. The race for the moon began on May 25, 1961 with a speech by President John F. Kennedy. How did the United States of America put man on the moon? It required the dedication and perseverance of 400,000 people, in several government agencies, industrial firms, and universities.
What does the sun and Moon Tattoo symbolize? It combines two central astrological themes to create a beautiful image that has a number of different symbolical meanings. Sun tattoos and moon tattoos range from being light hearted and simple, to being deeply meaningful and highly elaborate. However you so choose to depict these ancient and extraordinary symbols you will certainly be making a bold and beautiful statement.
Great Lunar Exploration accomplishments of the past past 50 years which have led to extreme progress in the world of space missions. We shine the 'Moon'light on lunar discoveries in 10-year intervals. Where did it all begin, and what is next?
Calendar Full Moon Calendar - A Full Moon occurs when the Moon is on the side of the earth opposite the sun. Full Moon Cycles differ from the standard Gregorian Calendar Months. A Full Moon Table for 2001 through 2025 Shows the Full Moon Schedule dates.
Is There a Secret German Moon Base? Did Germany develop saucer-shaped spacecraft during the 1940’s that were capable of reaching both the moon and Mars using technology obtained from crashed alien UFOs or actual contact with alien beings?
NASA Moon Bomb - would it set off a chain reaction that could destroy Earth? That was probably the strangest reaction to the “bombing” of the Moon that NASA did in October 2009. The task of LCROSS was to look for evidence of water on the Moon.
Buy an Acre on the Moon! And what do you get when you buy the moon? Try spectacular moonscapes, amazing views of Earth, and full rights to all the water, helium 3 and minerals you can mine. It almost sounds too good to be true, doesn’t it? Well, it is. And no government in the world will recognize your claim. Sorry, but you just can’t go buy the moon today.
The discovery of water on the moon is a fascinating detective story. It was a stunning discovery that overturned a decades-old scientific consensus about our nearest celestial neighbor. In late 2008, India launched its first lunar orbiter, Chandrayaan-1, with the NASA supplied Moon Mineralogy Mapper (M3) aboard. M3 detected tell-tale wavelengths indicating water on the surface. The data were collaborated by measurements taken by NASA's Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter (LRO), which entered orbit in 2009.
How the moon was formed is one of science's great unsolved mysteries. Over the years, scientists have put forth several theories.... All these theories sound good, but each one has serious flaws.
As Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin flew their Lunar Module Eagle down to the surface, they found that the automated landing program was steering the craft toward a crater with large jagged boulders.
Who invented Google Moon? Google Moon was a spin-off of the immensely popular Google Earth program, which the company had released a month earlier. It was developed in collaboration with NASA Ames Research Center in California and the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA).
Mining the Moon: A series of fuel and water depots, similar to gas stations on Earth, could be established in space to supply spacecraft heading for the moon, Mars, asteroids, and space colonies.
There is one fuel source that could save the world from a dark future. A fusion nuclear reactor powered by helium-3 (He3) could provide enormous amounts of power without any harmful carbon emissions or the radioactive byproducts created by today's nuclear fission reactors.