Latest Lunar science Stories

2010-04-16 15:05:00

As the solar wind flows over natural obstructions on the moon, it may charge polar lunar craters to hundreds of volts, according to new calculations by NASA's Lunar Science Institute team. Polar lunar craters are of interest because of resources, including water ice, which exist there. The moon's orientation to the sun keeps the bottoms of polar craters in permanent shadow, allowing temperatures there to plunge below minus 400 degrees Fahrenheit, cold enough to store volatile material like...

2010-03-19 06:45:00

Moonwater.  Look it up. You won't find it. It's not in the dictionary. That's because we thought, until recently, that the Moon was just about the driest place in the solar system. Then reports of moonwater started "pouring" in "“ starting with estimates of scant amounts on the lunar surface, then gallons in a single crater, and now 600 million metric tons distributed among 40 craters near the lunar north pole. "We thought we understood the Moon, but we don't," says Paul Spudis of...

2010-03-16 10:55:00

The International Astronomical Union (IAU) recently approved a proposal from the MESSENGER Science Team to confer names on 10 impact craters on Mercury. The newly named craters were imaged during the mission's three flybys of Mercury in January and October 2008 and September 2009. The IAU has been the arbiter of planetary and satellite nomenclature since its inception in 1919. In keeping with the established naming theme for craters on Mercury, all of the craters are named after famous...

2010-03-10 11:20:00

Deforestation in the Democratic Republic of the Congo has unveiled what could be one of the largest impact craters discovered over the past 10 years, according to a noted Italian scientist. University of Padova scholar Giovanni Monegato, who presented his findings during the recent Lunar and Planetary Science Conference in Texas, was one of the researchers who spotted the 30-mile ring using satellite imagery. He states that the geologic feature, located near the Unia River, became...

2010-03-05 06:30:52

Shortly after the Moon formed, an asteroid smacked into its southern hemisphere and gouged out a truly enormous crater, the South Pole-Aitken basin, almost 1,500 miles across and more than five miles deep. "This is the biggest, deepest crater on the Moon -- an abyss that could engulf the United States from the East Coast through Texas," said Noah Petro of NASA's Goddard Space Flight Center in Greenbelt, Md. The impact punched into the layers of the lunar crust, scattering that material across...

2010-03-02 06:30:00

The February 27 earthquake that rocked Chile and killed more than 700 people possibly shifted the Earth's axis and shortened our day ever so slightly, a scientist with NASA told Bloomberg. Earthquakes have the potential to shift hundreds of miles of rock by several meters, which can disrupt the planet and change the distribution of its mass. The Earth's rotation is affected by these changes, according to geophysicist Richard Gross of the Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, Calif. Gross...

2010-02-10 10:05:00

A small earthquake rattled windows, set off car alarms, and jolted people from their sleep at 4 a.m. Wednesday morning near Chicago in the western suburbs of Geneva, according to officials. The 4.3 magnitude quake's epicenter was about five miles east of Sycamore, and four miles northwest of Virgil. It was 48 miles west of Chicago, according to USGS geophysicist Amy Vaughan. Vaughan told the Chicago Sun Times that she was not aware of any injuries and did not know the extent of damages as...

2009-12-16 11:05:00

NASA's current mission in orbit around the moon, the Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter, or LRO, has been providing crucial insights about our nearest celestial neighbor since its launch in June. At a scientific meeting on Dec. 15, researchers unveiled the latest findings from three instruments of the powerful suite of seven aboard the satellite. LRO is expected to return more data about the moon than all previous orbital missions combined. At the American Geophysical Union meeting in San...

2009-12-01 08:54:02

A huge amount of scientific data have been accumulated by the CE-1 lunar orbiter. Using laser altimeter data, Jinsong Ping and Qian Huang et al obtained improved 3D lunar topography, and based on this, they had made new discoveries (such as impact basins and volcanic deposit highlands) of some ancient topographic characteristics on the lunar surface. Chao Chen and Qing Liang et al found the South Pole-Aitken (SPA) basin as the biggest mascon on the moon and put forward a fault structure...

2009-10-23 14:29:18

Right now, the Moon is a ghost town. Nothing stirs. Here and there, an abandoned Apollo rover "” or the dusty base of a lunar lander "” linger as silent testimony to past human activity. But these days, only occasional asteroid impacts disrupt the decades-long spell of profound stillness. And this stillness presents scientists with an important opportunity. Currently, the Moon's tenuous atmosphere is relatively undisturbed. But that won't be true for long. NASA is planning to...

Latest Lunar science Reference Libraries

2012-06-26 19:51:17

The Hadean is the unofficial geological period of time that lies just before the Archean time period. The Hadean began with the formation of the Earth roughly 4.5 billion years ago (Ga) and ended about 3.8 Ga; the latter date varies according to different sources. Hadean is derived from Hades, Greek for “underworld,” referring to the hellish conditions on the planet at the time. The term was coined in 1972 by geologist Preston Cloud. The period was later classified as the “Priscoan...

2004-10-19 04:45:41

Crater -- A crater is a circular depression on the surface of a planet, moon, asteroid, or other celestial body. Craters are typically caused by meteorite impacts, although some are caused by volcanic activity. In the center of craters on Earth a crater lake often accumulates, and in craters formed by meteorites a central island (caused by rebounding crustal rock after the impact) is usually a prominent feature in the lake. Ancient craters whose relief has disappeared leaving only a...

2004-10-19 04:45:41

The Moon -- The Moon is the largest satellite of the Earth, and is occasionally called Luna (Latin for moon) to distinguish it from the general use of the word "moon". The Moon is distinguished from the satellites of other planets by its initial capital letter; the other moons are described in the natural satellite article. The words moon and month come from the same Old English root word. The Moon makes a complete orbit of the celestial sphere about every four weeks. Each hour the...

2004-10-19 04:45:40

The Moon -- natural satellite of a planet, in particular, the single natural satellite of the earth. The Earth-Moon System The moon is the earth's nearest neighbor in space. In addition to its proximity, the moon is also exceptional in that it is quite massive compared to the earth itself, the ratio of their masses being far larger than the similar ratios of other natural satellites to the planets they orbit (with the exception of Charon and Pluto). For this reason, the...

More Articles (4 articles) »
Word of the Day
  • The ragged surface of a lava-flow.
'Malpais' translates from Spanish as 'bad land.'