By Eyo Nse,
The Moon is one of the most beautiful astronomical body found on planet Earth.
It is cool, calm and inviting to man, but no ones lives in it although it can sustain life.
Have you ever wondered how the Moon looks like?
Here is the 10 facts you need to know about the Moon;
1. The Moon is an astronomical body orbiting Earth and is the planet’s only natural satellite.
2. It is the fifth-largest satellite in the Solar System, and by far the largest among planetary satellites relative to the size of the planet that it orbits.
3. The Moon is, after Jupiter’s satellite Io, the second-densest satellite in the Solar System among those whose densities are known.
4. The Moon is thought to have formed about 4.51 billion years ago, not long after Earth and some 60 million years after the origin of the Solar System.
5. The Moon’s average orbital distance is 384,402 km (238,856 mi), or 1.28 light-seconds (about thirty times the diameter of Earth).
6. The Moon was first reached by a human-made object in September 1959, when the Soviet Union’s Luna 2, an uncrewed spacecraft, was intentionally crashed onto the lunar surface. This accomplishment was followed by the first successful soft landing on the Moon by Luna 9 in 1966. The United States’ NASA Apollo program achieved the only human lunar missions to date, beginning with the first human orbital mission by Apollo 8 in 1968, and six human landings between 1969 and 1972, with the first being Apollo 11 in July 1969. These missions returned lunar rocks which have been used to develop a geological understanding of the Moon’s origin, internal structure, and the Moon’s later history. Since the 1972 Apollo 17 mission, the Moon has been visited only by un-crewed spacecraft.
7. The usual English proper name for Earth’s natural satellite is simply the Moon, with a capital M.
8. The Moon is in synchronous rotation as it orbits Earth; it rotates about its axis in about the same time it takes to orbit Earth.
9. Eclipses only occur when the Sun, Earth, and Moon are all in a straight line (termed “syzygy”). Solar eclipses occur at new moon, when the Moon is between the Sun and Earth. In contrast, lunar eclipses occur at full moon, when Earth is between the Sun and Moon.
10. One of the earliest-discovered possible depictions of the Moon is a 5000-year-old rock carving Orthostat 47 at Knowth, Ireland.
11. The Cold War-inspired Space Race between the Soviet Union and the U.S. led to an acceleration of interest in exploration of the Moon.
12. Neil Armstrong became the first person to walk on the Moon as the commander of the American mission Apollo 11 by first setting foot on the Moon at 02:56 UTC on 21 July 1969. An estimated 500 million people worldwide watched the transmission by the Apollo TV camera, the largest television audience for a live broadcast at that time.
13. The European spacecraft SMART-1, the second ion-propelled spacecraft, was in lunar orbit from 15 November 2004 until its lunar impact on 3 September 2006, and made the first detailed survey of chemical elements on the lunar surface.
14. In 2007, the X Prize Foundation together with Google launched the Google Lunar X Prize to encourage commercial endeavors to the Moon. A prize of $20 million was to be awarded to the first private venture to get to the Moon with a robotic lander by the end of March 2018, with additional prizes worth $10 million for further milestones. As of August 2016, 16 teams were reportedly participating in the competition. In January 2018 the foundation announced that the prize would go unclaimed as none of the finalist teams would be able to make a launch attempt by the deadline.
15. In August 2016, the US government granted permission to US-based start-up Moon Express to land on the Moon. This marked the first time that a private enterprise was given the right to do so. The decision is regarded as a precedent helping to define regulatory standards for deep-space commercial activity in the future, as thus far companies’ operation had been restricted to being on or around Earth.
On 29 November 2018 NASA announced that nine commercial companies would compete to win a contract to send small payloads to the Moon in what is known as Commercial Lunar Payload Services. According to NASA administrator Jim Bridenstine, “We are building a domestic American capability to get back and forth to the surface of the moon.”
16. The Moon makes a complete orbit around Earth with respect to the fixed stars about once every 27.3 days. However, because Earth is moving in its orbit around the Sun at the same time, it takes slightly longer for the Moon to show the same phase to Earth, which is about 29.5 days (its synodic period).
17. The Moon is an exceptionally large natural satellite relative to Earth: Its diameter is more than a quarter and its mass is 1/81 of Earth’s. It is the largest moon in the Solar System relative to the size of its planet, though Charon is larger relative to the dwarf planet Pluto, at 1/9 Pluto’s mass. The Earth and the Moon’s barycentre, their common center of mass, is located 1,700 km (1,100 mi) (about a quarter of Earth’s radius) beneath Earth’s surface.
18. The Moon is a differentiated body. It has a geochemically distinct crust, mantle, and core. The Moon has a solid iron-rich inner core with a radius possibly as small as 240 kilometres (150 mi) and a fluid outer core primarily made of liquid iron with a radius of roughly 300 kilometres (190 mi). Around the core is a partially molten boundary layer with a radius of about 500 kilometres (310 mi). This structure is thought to have developed through the fractional crystallization of a global magma ocean shortly after the Moon’s formation 4.5 billion years ago.