Related topics: nasa · earth · spacecraft · saturn · cassini spacecraft

Meteoroid strikes eject precious water from moon

Researchers from NASA and the Johns Hopkins University Applied Physics Laboratory in Laurel, Maryland, report that streams of meteoroids striking the Moon infuse the thin lunar atmosphere with a short-lived water vapor.

Israeli team assesses what went wrong with lunar landing

The team behind the Israeli spacecraft that crashed into the moon moments before touchdown was working Friday to try and piece together what derailed the ambitious mission, which sought to make history as the first privately ...

Curiosity captured two solar eclipses on Mars

When NASA's Curiosity Mars rover landed in 2012, it brought along eclipse glasses. The solar filters on its Mast Camera (Mastcam) allow it to stare directly at the Sun. Over the past few weeks, Curiosity has been putting ...

See the moon photobomb saturn in an amazing capture

Welcome to Saturn as you've probably never seen it. It's always awe-inspiring to see the clockwork motion of the heavens transpire in real time. In a slow motion universe, occultations give us the chance to see the cosmos ...

Sun, moon and sea as part of a 'seismic probe'

Looking inside the Earth requires a signal that can penetrate rocks, minerals and other opaque material. Seismic waves represent such a signal. By recording them with a seismometer, researchers can draw conclusions from the ...

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The Moon is Earth's only natural satellite and the fifth largest satellite in the Solar System. The average centre-to-centre distance from the Earth to the Moon is 384,403 km, about thirty times the diameter of the Earth. The common centre of mass of the system (the barycentre) is located about 1,700 km—a quarter the Earth's radius—beneath the surface of the Earth. The Moon makes a complete orbit around the Earth every 27.3 days (the orbital period), and the periodic variations in the geometry of the Earth–Moon–Sun system are responsible for the phases of the moon, which repeat every 29.5 days (the synodic period).

The Moon's diameter is 3,474 km, a little more than a quarter of that of the Earth. Thus, the Moon's surface area is less than a tenth that of the Earth (about a quarter the Earth's land area, approximately as large as Russia, Canada, and the United States combined), and its volume is about 2 percent that of Earth. The pull of gravity at its surface is about 17 percent of that at the Earth's surface.

The Moon is the only celestial body to which humans have traveled and upon which humans have performed a manned landing. While the Soviet Union's Luna program was the first to reach the Moon with unmanned spacecraft, the NASA Apollo program by the United States achieved the only manned missions to date, beginning with the first manned lunar mission by Apollo 8 in 1968, and six manned lunar landings between 1969 and 1972- the first being Apollo 11 in 1969. Human exploration of the Moon temporarily ceased with the conclusion of the Apollo program, although a few robotic landers and orbiters have been sent to the Moon since that time. The U.S. has committed to return to the moon by 2018.

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