We take our celestial partner, the moon, for granted. But, if we study it just a little, you’ll see how extraordinary it is.
Most Interesting Moon Facts
How did it get there?
What is blazes is our moon doing way out there? It’s too far out to be a satellite of Earth. It is too big to have been captured by the Earth… But then, if the moon is neither a true satellite of the Earth or a captured one, what is it? How did it get there? ― Isaac Asimov
What if it was part of the big bang? The densities of the planets would show how the heavier density objects are closer to the Sun, while the lighter objects are farther away. However, if our lunar partner is a piece of the Earth that broke off, then it would have the same general characteristics, be the same age, and made of the same stuff, right?
How Old is our Lunar Partner?
Moon rocks are magnetized, yet the moon has no magnetic field. So, how does this occur? Is it possible the magnetic field collapsed? Could this have happened if or when it broke off the Earth? Or perhaps it never had one? There is no information here to help us date the age of our celestial neighbor.
Can we date the moon? We can try. Radioactive decay for all particles is constant, no matter the atmosphere. Each particle has a unique decay rate. For example, the decay of potassium-40 to argon-40 is often useful for dating rocks older than 20,000 years, and the decay of uranium-238 to lead-206 is useful for rocks older than 1 million years. Carbon 14 and 12 are better for organic material.
Yet, the oldest moon rocks dated by carbon dating show the moon is a billion years older than the Earth. The Harvard Astronomy Journey of 1973 reports that one moon rock dated back 5.3 billion years. That is older than the estimated age of our solar system. How did this occur? Some think these are the most interesting moon facts. But there are many more of these celestial curiosities.
Moon Rocks, Minerals, and Elements
The outer surface is hard and contains minerals like titanium. Some moon rocks contain processed metals including brass, mica, and elements uranium 236 and neptunium 237. These elements don’t occur naturally as far as science knows.
Uranium 236 is a long-lived radioactive nuclear waste that results from spent nuclear fuel reprocessed uranium. Neptunium 237 is a radioactive element that is the by-product of nuclear reactors derived from plutonium. There are unknown iron particles impervious to rust. These findings do not occur because of any known natural process. However, they are consistent with large-scale mining and milling operations.
Between 1969 and 1972, there were six Apollo missions. They brought back 382 kilograms or 842 pounds of lunar rocks, core samples, pebbles, sand, and dust. These six space flights represent 2200 separate samples from six different sites. As of 2019, NASA claims to have 85% of these samples. NASA admits that 180 samples are just … missing. So, these 180 samples or approximately 126 pounds are in private collections.
So What’s Wrong with the Moon?
We can estimate the density of a sphere by measuring its radius. The radius is the distance from the surface to the center. If the object is spherical, we can calculate the volume using the radius. Then divide the mass by the volume of the sphere to get the density.
The density of our lunar partner is 3.34, whereas the Earth is 5.5. What does this mean? It means the numbers don’t add up. If it was a piece of the Earth, it would be the same density. Mars is the planet with a closer density of 3.9.
If possible, we can take samples of the soil and rocks. But, the rock data available from our lunar missions is too small to determine density. All we know for sure is that the seven mare basalt samples are lighter than similar rocks on Earth. It makes you wonder why the data on all the other rock samples isn’t available? Many of the rocks are now in private collections and are not available for analysis. These rocks are just celestial curiosities, they are clues to our immediate universe.
Lunar sample analysis shows the moon surface is depleted iron. This is consistent with a lower density of 3.34 grams per cubic centimeter. The question of the moon’s core is of debate. ― Space in the 21st Century by Richard S. Lewis
If the astronomical data are reduced, it is found that the data require that the interior of the moon is more hollow than a homogeneous sphere. ― Dr. Gordon MacDonald, NASA scientist 1962
The lunar orbiter experiments vastly improve our knowledge of the moon’s gravitational field, indicating the frightening possibility that the moon might be hollow. ― Dr. Sean C. Solomon MIT 1969
A natural satellite cannot be a hollow object. Therefore, the moon appears to not be a natural satellite at all. ― Dr. Carl Sagan
The strangest evidence comes from the crash of the Apollo 13 crash on the moon. Seismic instruments on the craft record reverberations lasting for three hours and twenty minutes. This shows a depth of 25 miles leading to the conclusion that the crust beneath the surface is unusually light.
To put this in perspective, when we have an Earthquake reverberations from even intense quakes over Richter scale 6.0 only last a matter of a few minutes. This is because of the density of the planet. This, too, is one of the most interesting moon facts or mysteries.
The Influence on Earth
The placement of the moon’s orbit dictates the speed of the Earth’s rotation and the angle at which rotates, 22.5 degrees from vertical. This exact placement and distance from the Earth create the four seasons in both hemispheres. This has a profound effect on the evolution of life on the planet.
If it were farther away, or at a different orbit, it would have an adverse effect on the development of life. The angle of the moon also affects the weather patterns on Earth. It influences the largest living thing on the planet, the oceans. Its lunar cycles influence tides far more than the Sun. The different moon phases are constant and complete a complete cycle in about 28 days.
And, the human body also comprises 70% water content, so the moon has effects on us. Some believe that lunacy increases crime rates. The light increase by the full moon may be responsible for a slight increase when it is not obscured by cloud cover.
The Dark Side of the Moon
Another one the moons celestial curiosities is that its rotation synchronizes perfectly with the Earth. It rotates on its axis the same time at exactly the rate it takes to rotate around the Earth. So, we always see the same side. Thus, the dark side of the moon was a mystery until the Soviet Union sent a probe that took the first pictures in October 1959.
The astronauts of Apollo 8 were the first humans to see the dark side in 1968. China is the first to land a vehicle on the dark side in January 2019. Even though the moon is our closest space partner, we have done little to investigate it since landing there in July 1969 with Apollo 11.
The Earth rotates at a speed 400 times faster than the moon. The Earth turns 40,000 kilometers on its axis in a day to the moon’s 400. The Earth spins 366.259 times during one orbit of the Sun. The polar circumference of the Earth is 366.175 times larger than the moon.
If you multiply the circumference of the moon by the Earth, the result is 436,669,140 kilometers. This is 99% of the circumference of the Sun. If you divide the circumference of the Sun 4.379 million km by that of the moon and 10,921 km equals 400.970. Multiply by 10 and you get the circumference of the Earth. When you Divide the size of the Sun by the size of the Earth and multiply by 100, you get the size of the Moon.
Are all these mathematical alignments just coincidences? The number play involved in the Earth-Moon-Sun system is nothing less than staggering… The Moon is a perfectly balanced and aligned sphere completing a unique triune relationship with the Sun and the Earth.
It appears the more we know, the more questions arise. The list of the most interesting moon facts is only just beginning. The Kuiper and Oort Belts and other structures are just being investigated. We may know about the moons of other planets in our solar system than we do about our neighbor.
Please submit any suggestions or corrections. Science is always discovering new truths.
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- Joseph Campbell & Joseph Campbell’s book The Hero’s Journey, Wikipedia
- Isaac Asimov on Astronomy, Mercury Press 1963, also Our Mysterious Spaceship Moon 1975, Don Wilson
- Dr. Gordon MacDonald, NASA scientist 1962
- Lunar Rock Densities Linda M. V. Martel, Hawaii Institute of Geophysics and Planetology
- Dr. Carl Sagan
- Space in the 21st Century by Richard S. Lewis
- Dr. Sean C. Solomon MIT 1969 solarsystem.nasa.gov/moons/in-depth/
- crime rates and crime. newsweek.com/full-moon-september-2018-do-crime-rates-really-rise-full-moon-1135096