Latest Lunar science Stories

2007-01-03 09:55:00

Life is tough for a humble grain of dirt on the surface of the Moon. It's peppered with cosmic rays, exposed to solar flares, and battered by micrometeorites -- shattered, vaporized and re-condensed countless times over the billions of years. Adding insult to injury, Earthlings want to strip it down to oxygen and other elements for "in situ resource utilization," or ISRU, the process of living off the land when NASA returns to the Moon in the not-so-distant future. But, as Robert Heinlein...

2006-11-21 09:57:42

Ever since astronauts returned from another world, scientists have been mystified by some of the moon rocks they brought back. Now one of the mysteries has been solved. "We learned a great deal about the sun by going to the moon," said Don Burnett, Genesis principal investigator at California Institute of Technology, Pasadena, Calif. "Now, with our Genesis data, we are turning the tables, using the solar wind to better understand lunar processes." Ansgar Grimberg from ETH Institute of...

2006-11-09 09:05:00

Near the end of the mission of Apollo 16, on April 24, 1972, just before returning back home to Earth, the three astronauts released one last scientific experiment: a small "subsatellite" called PFS-2 to orbit the Moon about every 2 hours. The intention? Joining an earlier subsatellite PFS-1, released by Apollo 15 astronauts eight months earlier, PFS-2 was to measure charged particles and magnetic fields all around the Moon as the Moon orbited Earth. The low orbits of both subsatellites were...

2006-09-08 12:25:00

PROVIDENCE, R.I. -- Asteroids and meteorites are supposed to be made of the same stuff "“ at least that's what earth science teachers have been telling their students for decades. But until re-cently, the data didn't quite fit the story. When researchers compared the near-infrared reflec-tance of asteroids (as measured from Earth) and meteorites (collected on Earth) they found enough differences to raise doubts about whether the asteroids really could be the source of Earth's...

2006-08-04 12:05:00

SMART-1, the successful first European spacecraft to the Moon, is now about to end its exploration adventure, after almost sixteen months of lunar science investigations SMART-1 was launched on 27 September 2003, and it reached the Moon in November 2004 after a long spiralling around Earth. In this phase, the spacecraft tested for the first time in space a series of advanced technologies. These included the first use of an ion engine (solar electric propulsion) for interplanetary travels, in...

2006-06-28 07:35:00

Picture this: A cup of coffee, steaming and black. Add a dollop of milk and gently stir. Eddies of cream go swirling around the cup. Magnify that image a million times and you've got a Lunar Swirl. Lunar swirls are strange markings on the Moon that resemble the cream in your coffee -- on a much larger scale. They seem to be curly-cues of pale moondust, twisting and turning across the lunar surface for dozens of miles. Each swirl is utterly flat and protected by a magnetic field. What are...

2006-06-03 09:05:00

Ancient mega-catastrophe paved way for the dinosaurs, spawned Australian continent COLUMBUS, Ohio -- Planetary scientists have found evidence of a meteor impact much larger and earlier than the one that killed the dinosaurs -- an impact that they believe caused the biggest mass extinction in Earth's history. The 300-mile-wide crater lies hidden more than a mile beneath the East Antarctic Ice Sheet. And the gravity measurements that reveal its existence suggest that it could date back about...

2006-05-16 12:25:00

As the fragments of shattered comet 73P/Schwassmann Wachmann 3 glide harmlessly past Earth this month in full view of backyard telescopes, onlookers can't help but wonder, what if a comet like that didn't miss, but actually hit our planet? For the answer to that question, we look to the Sahara desert. In a remote windswept area named Aorounga, in Chad, there are three craters in a row, each about 10 km in diameter. "We believe this is a 'crater chain' formed by the impact of a fragmented...

2006-05-11 18:50:00

The Moon has plentiful oxygen for future astronauts. It's lying on the ground. An early, persistent problem noted by Apollo astronauts on the Moon was dust. It got everywhere, including into their lungs. Oddly enough, that may be where future Moon explorers get their next breath of air: The moon's dusty layer of soil is nearly half oxygen. The trick is extracting it. "All you have to do is vaporize the stuff," says Eric Cardiff of NASA's Goddard Space Flight Center. He leads one of several...

2006-04-26 13:59:02

Scientists using NASA's Rossi X-ray Timing Explorer have estimated the depth of the crust on a neutron star, the densest object known in the universe. The crust, they say, is close to a mile deep and so tightly packed that a teaspoon of this material would weigh about 10 million tons on Earth. The measurement, the first of its kind, came courtesy of a massive explosion on a neutron star in December 2004. Vibrations from the explosion revealed details about the star's composition. The...

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...

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Word of the Day
  • A murmuring sound; a rushing or whistling sound, like that of the wind; a deep sigh.
  • A gentle breeze; a waft; a breath.
  • Any rumor that engages general attention.
  • A cant or whining mode of speaking, especially in preaching or praying; the chant or recitative characteristic of the old Presbyterians in Scotland.
  • To make a rushing, whistling, or sighing sound; emit a hollow murmur; murmur or sigh like the wind.
  • To breathe in or as in sleep.
  • To utter in a whining or monotonous tone.
According to the OED, from the 16th century, this word is 'almost exclusively Scots and northern dialect until adopted in general literary use in the 19th.'