Thursday, February 21, 2013

Our Fascinating Moon. Who Knew?

Our Moon. Something that has captured our imaginations and fascinated the minds of mankind for millennia. The moon and its regular cycle of phases have made it a vital cultural influence on language, calendars, art and mythology since ancient times. The moon has inspired stories of werewolves have frightened us and poems of love. Books, movies, and songs have centered around the moon. I Googled the list and it is far too long for me to elaborate here.

Our moon, which does not have a name like other moons, is Earth's only known natural satellite. It is the fifth largest satellite in our solar system. It has a diameter one fourth that of Earth’s, making it the largest satellite relative to its host size. Our moon is in a syncrhonized rotation with Earth. That is why we only see one side of it. Hence, the term The Dark Side of the Moon. Its gravitational pull produces the ocean tides and the minute lengthening of the day.

The Soviets actually reached the moon before us with an unmanned spacecraft in 1959. Since then, NASA’s Apollo program has sent an orbiting mission in 1968, followed by six actual manned landings from 1969-1972. Twelve men have walked on its surface. We brought back lots of rock that helped scientists determine its age: 4.5 billion years old.

The prevailing hypothesis is that the Earth–Moon system formed as a result of a giant impact: a Mars-sized body hit the nearly formed proto-Earth, blasting material into orbit around the proto-Earth, which accreted to form the Moon. It is believed most of the Moon came from the impactor, not from the proto-Earth. Like the earth, the moon has a crust, mantle, and core.

Water cannot exist on the moon as exposure to solar radiation causes water to decompose, a process known as photodissociation. However, comets and hydrogen from solar winds combined with oxygen in lunar rocks could have deposited water ice in permanently shadowed craters. This is of vital importance if we want to set up a permanent base on the moon, a possible stepping stone for reaching Mars.

Although we have recently found proof of frozen ice on the polar regions, the moon does not have wind or erosion. That is why we see crater impacts large and small that pocket its surface over its life. Volcanoes in the past have spewed out basaltic lava. With a decent set of binoculars or a small telescope, you can see fascinating features on its surface on a clear night.

There is no legal ownership of the moon, although the U.S. has planted flags there. There is an Outer Space Treaty (1967) that defines the Moon and all outer space as the "province of all mankind. The moon cannot be used for military purposes and bans weapons of mass destruction.

You can view the moon using Google Earth.

Grail Moon Mission September11, 2011 (Very Cool Stuff Here)On NASA's third attempt, the dual-spacecraft mission finally lifts off from Cape Canaveral. The twin craft separate and begin their journey to the moon, where they will study its gravitational field. Scientists predict that the mission will provide a map of the lunar gravitational field, data that will allow for the first comprehensive assessment of the moon's crust, mantle and core.

Some scientists say GRAIL is the beginning of a revolution in planetary science. Precision formation flying could allow for numerous spacecraft to create singular technology "platforms" that could see deeper into space and in far greater detail than ever before. Scientists envision a day when they will send swarms of iPod-sized spacecraft into space, a technology that could replace satellites and offer other advances in communications.

Well, how about it? How has our most awesome neighbor inspired you?
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Stephen Tremp, author of the BREAKTHROUGH series, has a B.A. in information systems and an MBA degree in global management. Stephen has a background in information systems, management, and finance and draws from this varied and complex experiential knowledge to write one-of-a-kind thrillers. 

His novels are enhanced by current events at the European Organization for Nuclear Research (CERN) and other scientific research facilities around the world. These potential advances have the ability to change the way we perceive our universe and our place in it! You can visit Stephen Tremp at Breakthrough Blogs. BREAKTHROUGH and OPENING can be downloaded: Kindle for $2.99


Al Diaz said...

There is no legal ownership over the moon? And here I have heard of people who are selling parts of it. Then again I've heard of people who has sold the Eiffel Tower too. :)

Jo said...

Interesting as usual Stephen. Sorry, never been particularly inspired by the moon although I think I once wrote a poem about it. Funnily enough I was thinking about so many people using the word 'gibbous' last night.

JoJo said...

I love the moon, esp. crescents. I do a lot of crafts and art using crescents.

D.G. Hudson said...

The moon always inspires me. I've wanted to view Earth from the moon, but that may have to be in another life. (Advances in space travel are taking way too long)

Very nice summary post, Stephen.

Shaharizan Perez said...

This post was really interesting and informative. I suppose because the moon is our closest neighbor, I don't really think of it often (unless there is a full moon).

What I found especially interesting about this post is the Space Treaty and ban on military operations/ weapons on the moon. I wonder if this applies to any planet or celestial being we explore in the universe.

Great post!

Jean Katherine Baldridge said...

Liked it and facebooked it!
I love the moon.


Alex J. Cavanaugh said...

I guess it started with naming it the 'moon,' and when others were discovered, people started calling those the 'moon,' and someone said "Well, they can't all be the moon!"

Arlee Bird said...

I think it's time we start sending people back to the Moon. Maybe we could start a list of who we'll send first and make them stay there.

Wrote By Rote
An A to Z Co-host blog

Rob Z Tobor said...

I think mankind assuming we own space might upset some of the aliens. I just wish to tell the aliens it has nothing to do with me, I lost interest after finding out the moon is not made of cheese. . . . .

Liz A. said...

I thought the moon did have a name: Luna. We just all call it "the moon".

Optimistic Existentialist said...

The moon is one of my favorite things :)

Laura S. said...

I love the moon and stars and space! I used to want to be an astronaut...until I discovered I'm definitely not smart enough for NASA. Sigh. Oh well! I'm happy looking up at the night sky and imagining what it'd be like to travel to space!

Chuck said...

Very interesting Stephen. Some little know facts that I either never knew or knew and forgot. I am about to start your second book soon.

Anonymous said...

Thanks everyone for stopping by. Sheeeeesh! I just now have a chance to check in and say hello. Been a crazy busy day. Glad you all enjoyed the post about our most fascinating satellite!

Shannon Lawrence said...

Fascinating stuff! I'm glad we have the treaty that makes the moon and all space "for all mankind." Like we need more property to fight over.

Shannon at The Warrior Muse

Morgan Mandel said...

Amazing how we can now view the moon not just from afar, but with details.

Morgan Mandel

Morgan Mandel said...

Amazing how we can now view the moon not just from afar, but with details.

Morgan Mandel

Tina said...

Great stuff as always! I have some videos to show puking child between rounds now...thanks! Tweeted successfully! My first tweet to recommend a post. I'm very proud of my accomplishment. People - please don't laugh. I'm a slow learner of new technology. Good thing I have teen boys. I guess I need to make them have Twitter accounts and then I'd be all set on learning...

Tina @ Life is Good
Co-host, April 2013 A-Z Challenge Blog
@TinaLifeisGood, #atozchallenge

Anonymous said...

The moon is truly amazing, incredible and awe-inspiring. Glad no one can own it. Love the story, "Happy Birthday Moon."

I'm more inclined to go along with the Genesis version of how the earth-moon system was created. Still, the science of it all is real and positively amazing.

Thanks again, Stephen, for sharing such a thoughtful and educational post.

Michelle Wallace said...

Great post!
Towards the end of 2010 (or somewhere thereabouts...) a Spanish woman claimed ownership of the sun... she even registered the star at a local notary and had documents to prove it. So the story goes.

Annalisa Crawford said...

I've always wondered why the moon has no name, when astrologers tend to name anything that looks remotely bigger than an egg!