Facts about the Moon

The Moon-a Terrestrial “Planet” of Space

The second brightest space object in space other than the Sun, the moon orbits the Earth on a monthly basis. Its size and composition allows it be categorized with Earth, Venus, Mercury, and Mars. With the Moon considered to be the only natural satellite we have, it is no wonder it was our first focus for space exploration, beginning in 1959 with the Soviet spaceship Luna 2. It is also the only body in space to be visited by the inhabitants on Earth, with the first landing on the Moon made by the Apollo 11 on July 20, 1969.

The moon is fascinating, especially when at times it appears to be unnaturally huge when it hands low in the sky, similar to the on June 27, 2007. It was simply a moon illusion like in the NASA photograph above, but to the eye it appeared as a special type of phenomena-almost eery in a fascinating sort of way. NASA explains it as, “When you look at the moon, rays of moonlight converge and form an image about 0.15 mm wide in the back of your eye. High moons and low moons make the same sized spot.” Many feel this is a similar sort of theory as when Mario Ponzo, in 1913, developed the first moon illusion with his Ponzo Illusion.

The history of the moon goes back to about 4.6 billion years ago, believed to be the same age as the Earth-with one side of the moon permanently turned toward Earth. But the most important news about the moon is for human exploration and scientific discoveries with the moon’s outpost as part of the planning for human colonization on Mars. This all developed through a series of questions from NASA regarding the Moon. What resulted was 13 world space agencies and NASA developing a Global Exploration Strategy, explaining why the global community actually feels that space should be explored, how it can benefit Earth, and how the moon could be a critical element in the solar system’s exploration. To put it more simply, NASA asks the questions, “why are we returning to the moon” and “what are we planning to do when we get there.”

In addition to NASA, experts from space exploration in Australia, Canada, China, ESA, France, Germany, Great Britain, India, Italy, Japan, Russia, South Korea, and Ukraine all participated in the study to provide many answers to the questions. A work in progress, it will continuously be providing future discussions in the space exploration of the moon, Mars, and other space areas. (http://www.amarsodyssey.com/2007/08/12/the-moon-a-terrestrial-“planet”-of-space/)