Ever since humans first looked towards the night sky, the moon has being a source of wonder and amazement. It is that very wonder which led to one of mankind’s greatest achievements of putting a man on the moon.
As technologically has advanced over the years the many mysteries of the moon have started to surrender themselves and replace themselves with facts, some of them true and some of them false. It may come as a surprise but as recently as 1988 a survey discovered that 13%% of American’s believed that the moon was made out of cheese. In case you hadn’t guessed the moon is actually not made out of cheese but there are plenty of other things you know about the moon which are actually true. Here are 7 out of this world facts about the moon.
1 – The Moon is Actually a Bit of the Earth That Broke Off
There has being a variety of theories as to how the earth acquired it’s moon but most scientists believe that the moon is actually a massive chunk of the Earth which broke off and got trapped in orbit.
It is estimated that around 4.5 billion years ago the Earth was hit by a ridiculously large asteroid. When most of us think about a really big asteroid we usually think about the one that wiped out the dinosaurs but the asteroid in this case was actually the same size as the planet Mars. The force of the impact from this Mars size asteroid was so great that it managed to dislodge a huge chunk of the Earth which ended up stuck in its orbit and condensing itself over many millions of years.
Scientists have named this possible event as the Giant Impact or the Big Whack and strongly believe it to be true because the Moon is nowhere near as dense as the Earth. This is an indication that the Moon is actually made up of the upper crust material of our planet which consists of much less iron than towards the Earth’s core.
2 – The Moon is Not Perfectly Round and Has No Atmosphere
You can be forgiven for thinking that the moon is a perfect sphere. After all when we look at it in the sky it does appear to be a perfect sphere but this is only because the Earth is facing one of the Moons priority ends. If you were able to look closely at the moon from its side then you would see that the it is actually the same shape as an everyday egg.
Unlike the Earth, the Moon has no atmosphere at all which means that it is very much at the unforgiving mercy of the sun, meteorites and asteroids. The footprints that were left by astronaut’s way back in 1969 will actually remain there for billions of years unless humans or aliens mess them up.
Because of the lack of an atmosphere the Moon’s temperature varies dramatically across its surface. At any one time you can find temperatures from +260 degrees fahrenheit all the way down to -400 degrees fahrenheit. No atmosphere also means the sky will always appear to be black and no sound can be heard at all.
3 – The Moon’s Gravity is Only 17% the Strength of the Earths
The moon may have no atmosphere but it does have a little gravity – 17% the strength of the gravity felt here on Earth. This is because the moon is somewhat smaller than the Earth so the force of gravity it exerts when spinning is six times less than that of Earth.
If you happen to be struggling to lose weight the answer to your problem may be a trip to the moon where you would be six times lighter than your weight on Earth. You would also be able to jump six times higher than you can on Earth.
4 – The Moon Does Not Have a Dark Side
We often hear about the dark side of the moon but there is actually no dark side of the moon. When we look at the moon from Earth we can only see around 59% of its surface since it rotates on its own axis at the same pace it rotates around the Earth.
Yes, it is true that we only ever see one side of the moon but even the side we cannot see gets its fair share of sunlight. In fact the entire surface of the moon is subjected to the same amount of sunlight overall.
5 – There is a Man Buried in the Moon
When we are children we all learn about the man in the moon but there is actually a certain degree of truth in the story. A famous geologist by the name of Dr, Eugene Shoemaker who worked very closely with NASA helping them train astronauts always had a dream of visiting the moon himself. At one point his dream was very nearly recognised when NASA considered him for an Apollo mission but due to a lifelong medical condition his feet remained firmly planted to the surface of the Earth.
Well, that was until he died in 1997 and NASA flew and deposited his ashes on the moon by a space probe in accordance with his wishes.
6 – Our Moon is Not The Only Moon In The Solar System
It is hardly surprising that the Earth is not the only planet in our solar system that has a moon. Other moons in our solar system have being given name but our moon is simply called Moon with a capital M.
Our moon is actually the fifth largest satellite in our solar system with Ganymede (a moon of Jupiter) being the largest with a diameter of 5263km. Saturn’s moon, Titan comes in second closely followed by another moon of Jupiter named Calisto and then Io another moon of Jupiter.
Moons such as Jupiter’s Ganymede are so big they are even bigger than planets such as Mercury and Pluto. In fact if this moon was not glued to Jupiter it could be considered a planet in its own right.
7 – The Moon is Falling Away From Earth
With every single second that passes by our moon drifts a little further away from the Earth. Sure, it is moving away from us at a very slow pace but it is indeed getting further and further away and one day it could, however unlikely, completely break free from the Earth’s gravitational hold.
It is calculated that the Moon manages to fall around 4cm away from the Earth each and every year and in around 50 billion years it will finally settle into a stable maintainable orbit around the Earth. At this point in time it will take the Moon 47 days to fully orbit the Earth while today it only takes 27 days.
If you are worried about the effects this may have the Earth I would urge you not to worry too much since the Sun is expected to consume the Earth at some point in the future.