The Moon (or Luna) is the Earth’s only natural satellite and was formed 4.6 billion years ago around some 30–50 million years after the formation of the solar system. The Moon is in synchronous rotation with Earth meaning the same side is always facing the Earth. The first unmanned mission to the Moon was in 1959 by the Soviet Lunar Program with the first manned landing being Apollo 11 in 1969.
At 3,475 km in diameter, the Moon is much smaller than the major moons of Jupiter and Saturn. Earth is about 80 times the volume than the Moon, but both are about the same age. A prevailing theory is that the Moon was once part of the Earth, and was formed from a chunk that broke away due to a huge object colliding with Earth when it was relatively young.
These are caused by the gravitational pull of the Earth. Lunar astronauts used seismographs on their visits to the Moon, and found that small moonquakes occurred several kilometres beneath the surface, causing ruptures and cracks. Scientists think the Moon has a molten core, just like Earth.
There are two bulges in the Earth due to the gravitational pull that the Moon exerts; one on the side facing the Moon, and the other on the opposite side that faces away from the Moon, The bulges move around the oceans as the Earth rotates, causing high and low tides around the globe.
The Moon is very hot during the day but very cold at night. The average surface temperature of the Moon is 107 degrees Celsius during the day and -153 degrees Celsius at night.
The Moon rotates on its axis in around the same length of time it takes to orbit the Earth. This means that from Earth we only ever see around 60% of its surface
The side that we can see from Earth is called the near side while the other side is called the far side or the dark side despite the fact that it illuminated by the Sun just as much as the near side
The Soviet Union’s Luna program featured the first successful landing of an unmanned spacecraft on the surface of the Moon in 1966.The USA’s NASA Apollo 11 mission in 1969 was the first manned Moon landing. The first person to set foot on the Moon was Neil Armstrong.
he Moon is moving approximately 3.8 cm away from our planet every year. It is estimated that it will continue to do so for around 50 billion years. By the time that happens, the Moon will be taking around 47 days to orbit the Earth instead of the current 27.3 days.
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