We take our celestial partner for granted. But, if we study it just a little, you’ll see how extraordinary it is.
The Most Interesting Moon Facts
How did it get there?
“What in 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 planets’ densities show how the heavier density objects are closer to the Sun, while the lighter ones are farther away. However, if our lunar partner is a piece of the Earth that broke off, it would have the same general characteristics, be the same age, and make the same stuff, right?
How Old is our Lunar Partner?
Moon rocks are magnetized, yet our lunar partner 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 date our celestial neighbor’s age.
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 helpful for dating rocks older than 20,000 years, and the decay of uranium-238 to lead-206 helps date rocks older than 1 million years. Carbon 14 and 12 are better for organic material.
Here’s the problem. 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 two exciting 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 moon rock samples are just … missing. So, these 180 samples, or approximately 126 pounds, are in private collections.
What Else is 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 sphere’s volume to get the density.
Our lunar partner’s density is 3.34, whereas the Earth is 5.5. What does this mean? It means the numbers don’t add up. If it were 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 tiny 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 stones 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 made of 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
Some of the most startling evidence comes from the crash of the Apollo 13 on the moon. Seismic instruments on the craft record reverberations lasting for three hours and twenty minutes. This vibration level indicates the crust has a depth of around 25 miles leading to the conclusion that the crust is unusually light.
To put this in perspective, when we have Earthquake reverberations from even intense quakes over the Richter scale of 6.0. These vibrations only last a matter of a few minutes because of Earth’s density. So, the reverberations’ length indicates the moon is exceptionally light or perhaps even hollow? If the moon is a cavern inside, this prompts a host of other questions. It’s one of the most interesting moon facts or mysteries.
How The Lunar Object Influences Earth
The moon’s orbit’s placement dictates the Earth’s rotation speed and the angle at which the Earth rotates. Because of the Moon, the Earth rotates at 22.5 degrees from vertical. This exact placement and distance from the Earth create the four seasons in both hemispheres. So, the moon has had a profound effect on the evolution of life on the planet.
If it were farther away or in a slightly different orbit, it would have a very adverse effect on the Earth. 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 revolution in about 28 days.
The human body comprises 70% water content, so the moon affects us. Some believe that lunacy increases crime rates. The light increase by the full moon may be responsible for a slight increase because when there isn’t cloud cover, night-time crimes are easier to commit.
The Dark Side of the Moon
Another one of the moon’s celestial curiosities is that its rotation synchronizes perfectly with the Earth. It rotates on its axis simultaneously at precisely the rate it takes to revolve around the Earth. So, we always see the same side. Thus, the moon’s dark side 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 to see the dark side of the moon 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 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 moon’s circumference by the Earth, the result is 436,669,140 kilometers; this is 99.9% of the Sun’s circumference. If you divide the Sun’s circumference, 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 Sun’s size by the size of the Earth and multiply by 100, you get the Moon’s size.
Are all these mathematical alignments just coincidences? The number of accidental proportional alignments 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 investigation of Kuiper and Oort Belts is just beginning. We may know about the moons of other planets in our solar system than we do about our closest neighbor.
Many ancient cultures used the moon to determine a 13-month calendar that makes more sense than the 12-month calendar based on astrology.
Please submit any suggestions or corrections. Science is constantly 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