Did you know that the Moon is about a quarter of a million miles away from the Earth, and if one could drive there it would take about four months! That is quite a distance, and all the more remarkable when the United States has already landed its astronauts there.
But take a heavy winter coat if planning a trip to the Moon, because temperatures can drop to over 150 degrees below zero! Why is that? Because there is no atmosphere on the Moon like there is on Earth, and there is no cloud cover to trap the heat. As a result, any heat that is generated by the sunlight reaching the Moon escapes when the Moon moves through its earthly orbit.
Before Man landed on the Moon for the first time back in 1969, there were some scientists who believed Neil Armstrong would break through the crust of the Moon and disappear! Some other scientists thought that the Eagle spacecraft would sink right through the Moon dust! That is scary stuff, and it took an awful lot of courage for the astronauts to land on the Moon. In fact, NASA itself only gave the mission a 50/50 chance of success!
If there were no Moon orbiting the Earth, there would be no high tide on Earth. That’s right, the gravity of the Moon literally “pulls” the oceans of the Earth towards itself due to gravitational effect. Everyone who goes to the beach and enjoys the tides can thank the Moon for doing the work!
The Moon isn’t a planet like the Earth is, it’s a satellite. There are other planets in the solar system that have moons as well, Mars has two moons called Phobos and Deimos, but they are much smaller than the Earth’s moon. When the solar system was in formation billions of years ago, all the “stuff” that makes up the solar system came together to form the planets and moons. There was only so much matter in the case of the Moon, and since the Earth is bigger than the Moon, it trapped it in its orbit. That is why the Moon circles, or orbits, the Earth.
Maybe within a few decades, or about twenty years, another manned mission will reach the Moon. NASA actually has the mission on the drawing board, but President Obama has decided along with some NASA scientists, to travel to an asteroid first. Why? There are many reasons, but one of the most important is that asteroids, of which there are many in the solar system, have a chance to impact Earth and cause a great deal of destruction, so they need to be studied up close!