a1_12moon - The Moon: Our Space Companion Some basic...

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The Moon: Our Space Companion
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Some basic numbers Semi-major axis: 384,400 km (239,000 miles) Orbital Eccentricity: 0.055 Orbital Inclination: 5.2 degrees Orbital Period: 27.321 days ( Sidereal = real ) 29.531 days ( Synodic = apparent ) Diameter 3476 km (~ 2160 miles) Density: 3.36 g/cc (3.35 uncompressed) Mass (Earth = 1): 0.0123 (about 1/81 ) Surface gravity: 0.167 Earth’s Surface temperature: -170 to +130 C (-274 to 266 F) Albedo: 0.07 Atmospheric pressure at surface: 0 millibars
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The Moon orbits the Earth every 27.3 days. Which is also the time it takes to rotate once on its axis. A 1:1 spin-orbit coupling But because during that time Earth orbits the Sun, the lunar phases appear to us on Earth to take about 29.5 days to complete…thus marking one month of time.
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The Moon’s surface consists of two types of features: - Darkish Maria are concentrated on the near side (mare is Latin for sea). - The brighter, more heavily cratered Highlands regions. Through telescopes, we have long studied the lunar surface.
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We sent 12 people to the Moon some 37 years ago. The Apollo Program.
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The LM The Lunar Module
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Whatever started it, it is clear that it was a great human achievement. But what did we learn from it all? The Apollo program was born out of a political race with the Soviet Union.
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The Apollo astronauts brought back 382 kg of rocks and soil. This material established the ground truth about the nature and structure of the Moon.
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Lunar Regolith Lunar soil: consists of no organic material like on Earth, but is made up of mineral grains, rock fragments, partially cemented by impact-melted glass. The thickness depends on the age of the bedrock underneath. In the maria, regolith is 2 to 8 meters deep, whereas in the highland regions, its thickness may exceed 15 m. It is exposed soil to the solar wind
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Crater (center of image) formed by impact of the Apollo 14 Saturn IVB booster. The booster was intentionally impacted into the lunar surface on February 4, 1971 to serve as an energy source to probe the interior structure of the Moon using seismometers placed on the surface by Apollo astronauts [NASA/GSFC/Arizona State University].
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This 40-m high cliff is one of the few good exposures of bedrock seen on the Apollo missions; most of the lunar surface is covered with the impact- generated regolith. This view reveals the layered structure of at least this maria area and may be reasonably representative of the maria. Not surprisingly, the composition of the regolith closely resembles the underlying bedrock
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Impacts energetic enough to form meter-size craters can compact and weld the surface regolith together into a type of rock called breccia . A sort of fossiled soil
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This note was uploaded on 05/05/2010 for the course ASTR 001 taught by Professor Robertfesen during the Spring '10 term at Dartmouth.

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a1_12moon - The Moon: Our Space Companion Some basic...

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