Earth's Moon in the News

Scientists: Moon over the hill at 4.51 billion years old   PhysOrg - January 11, 2017
It turns out the moon is older than many scientists suspected: a ripe 4.51 billion years old. That's the newest estimate, thanks to rocks and soil collected by the Apollo 14 moonwalkers in 1971. A research team reported Wednesday that the moon formed within 60 million years of the birth of the solar system. Previous estimates ranged within 100 million years, all the way out to 200 million years after the solar system's creation, not quite 4.6 billion years ago. The scientists conducted uranium-lead dating on fragments of the mineral zircon extracted from Apollo 14 lunar samples. The pieces of zircon were minuscule - no bigger than a grain of sand.

How Earth's previous moons collided to form the moon: New theory   Science Daily - January 9, 2017

new theory suggests the Moon we see every night is not Earth's first moon, but rather the last in a series of moons that orbited our planet. Moons formed through the process could cross orbits, collide and merge, slowly building the bigger moon we see today. The newly proposed theory by researchers runs counter to the commonly held "giant impact" paradigm that the moon is a single object that was formed following a single giant collision between a small Mars-like planet and the ancient Earth.

The Many-Moons Theory   New Yorker - January 9, 2017
Unbeknownst to most earthlings, the moon is experiencing a crisis. Geophysicists will tell you that itÕs a compositional crisis - a crisis regarding the stuff of which the moon is composed. But it's also an identity crisis, as much for the scientists as for the object they study.

New finding supports Moon creation hypothesis   PhysOrg - September 26, 2016
A layer of iron and other elements deep underground is the evidence scientists have long been seeking to support the hypothesis that the moon was formed by a planetary object hitting the infant Earth some 4.5 billion years ago, a new study led by Johns Hopkins University scientists argues. A paper uses laboratory simulations of an Earth impact as evidence that a stratified layer beneath the rocky mantle Š which appears in seismic data Š was created when the Earth was struck by a smaller object. The authors argue this was the same impact that sent a great mass of debris hurtling into space, creating the moon.

Vast asteroid created 'Man in Moon's eye' crater   BBC - July 20, 2016
One of the Moon's biggest craters was created by an asteroid more than 250km (150 miles) across, a study suggests. It smashed into the lunar surface about 3.8 billion years ago, forming Mare Imbrium - the feature also known as the right eye of the "Man in the Moon". Scientists say the asteroid was three times bigger than previously estimated and debris from the collision would have rained down on the Earth.

Earth's moon wandered off axis billions of years ago   Science Daily - March 23, 2016

A new study reports Earth's moon wandered off its original axis roughly 3 billion years ago. Ancient lunar ice indicates the moon's axis slowly shifted by 125 miles, or 6 degrees, over 1 billion years. Earth's moon now a member of solar system's exclusive 'true polar wander' club, which includes just a handful of other planetary bodies.

  Earth's moon wandered off axis billions of years ago, study finds   PhysOrg - March 23, 2016
A new study reports discovery of a rare event - Earth's moon slowly moved from its original axis roughly 3 billion years ago. Planetary scientists made the discovery while examining NASA data known to indicate lunar polar hydrogen. The hydrogen, detected by orbital instruments, is presumed to be in the form of ice hidden from the sun in craters surrounding the moon's north and south poles. Exposure to direct sunlight causes ice to boil off into space, so this ice - perhaps billions of years old - is a very sensitive marker of the moon's past orientation.

  NASA releases recording of 'outer-space type music' from far side of the moon   CNN - March 24, 2016
This conversation, between Apollo 10 astronauts Eugene Cernan and John Young, as their craft flew around the far side of the moon, remained under wraps for over four decades. While transcripts were released in 2008, audio of the discussion, and the sounds that the astronauts were referencing, is only just being made public.

  New clues about how Earth got its moon   CNN - January 30, 2016
It's the only world besides Earth that man has set foot on. But we still don't know exactly how it got there. Now, rocks brought back by the Apollo astronauts in the late '60s and early '70s are providing new clues about how Earth got its moon. Many scientists have long theorized that the moon formed after a planet called Theia crashed into Earth about 4.5 billion years ago.

New type of moon rock discovered by Chinese lunar lander   The Guardian - December 23, 2015

The Yutu rover, part of the Chang'e-3 unmanned lunar mission, has identified a type of basalt unlike anything collected by previous Soviet or US missions. Chinese scientists have identified a new kind of rock on the moon. An unmanned Chinese lunar lander, launched in 2013, has explored an ancient flow of volcanic lava and identified mineral composition entirely unlike anything collected by the American astronauts between 1969 and 1972, or by the last Soviet lander in 1976.

Mound near lunar south pole formed by unique volcanic process   Science Daily - October 15, 2015
Within a giant impact basin near the moon's south pole, there sits a large mound of mysterious origin. Research by geologists suggests that the mound was formed by unique volcanic processes set in motion by the impact that formed the basin.

Mound near lunar south pole formed by unique volcanic process   PhysOrg - October 15, 2015
A giant mound near the Moon's south pole appears to be a volcanic structure unlike any other found on the lunar surface, according to new research by Brown University geologists. The formation, known as Mafic Mound, stands about 800 meters tall and 75 kilometers across, smack in the middle of a giant impact crater known as the South Pole-Aitken Basin. This new study suggests that the mound is the result of a unique kind of volcanic activity set in motion by the colossal impact that formed the basin.

Epic view of moon transiting Earth

Full Moon, Full Earth   NASA - August 7, 2015

The Moon was new on July 16. Its familiar nearside facing the surface of planet Earth was in shadow. But on that date a million miles away, the Deep Space Climate Observatory (DSCOVR) spacecraft's Earth Polychromatic Imaging Camera (EPIC) captured this view of an apparently Full Moon crossing in front of a Full Earth. In fact, seen from the spacecraft's position beyond the Moon's orbit and between Earth and Sun, the fully illuminated lunar hemisphere is the less familiar farside. Only known since the dawn of the space age, the farside is mostly devoid of dark lunar maria that sprawl across the Moon's perpetual Earth-facing hemisphere. Only the small dark spot of the farside's Mare Moscoviense (Sea of Moscow) is clear, at the upper left. Planet Earth's north pole is near 11 o'clock, with the North America visited by Hurricane Dolores near center. Slight color shifts are visible around the lunar edge, an artifact of the Moon's motion through the field caused by combining the camera's separate exposures taken in quick succession through different color filters. While monitoring the Earth and solar wind for space weather forcasts, about twice a year DSCOVR can capture similar images of Moon and Earth together as its crosses the orbital plane of the Moon.

  From a Million Miles Away, NASA Camera Shows Moon Crossing Face of Earth   NASA - August 6, 2015
These images were taken between 3:50 p.m. and 8:45 p.m. EDT on July 16, showing the moon moving over the Pacific Ocean near North America. The North Pole is in the upper left corner of the image, reflecting the orbital tilt of Earth from the vantage point of the spacecraft. This animation features actual satellite images of the far side of the moon, illuminated by the sun, as it crosses between the DSCOVR spacecraft's Earth Polychromatic Imaging Camera (EPIC) and telescope, and the Earth - one million miles away. EPIC maintains a constant view of the fully illuminated Earth as it rotates, providing scientific observations of ozone, vegetation, cloud height and aerosols in the atmosphere. Once EPIC begins regular observations next month, the camera will provide a series of Earth images allowing study of daily variations over the entire globe. About twice a year the camera will capture the moon and Earth together as the orbit of DSCOVR crosses the orbital plane of the moon.

Multiple studies address riddles of the Moon's origin   BBC - April 9, 2015

The Moon may have been formed by a collision between Earth and an object that was strikingly similar in composition to our own planet. This could help resolve why Earth and Moon rocks are much more similar than we would expect from this "giant impact hypothesis". Two further research papers in the issue report subtle, previously unseen differences in lunar rocks. Scientists say they paint a consistent - and much clearer - picture of our satellite's history. The modeling study, done by researchers from Israel and France, precisely simulates the turmoil of the early, inner Solar System and quantifies the variety of collisions that might have occurred. In its early stages, the proto-Earth would have been subjected to a string of brutal collisions with other wannabe planets. According to our best understanding, the last of these was a cataclysmic tangle with a planetary body just ten times lighter than Earth - and the resulting debris eventually clumped together to make the Moon.

Violent formation of the moon: New view   Science Daily - April 8, 2015
Scientists have reconciled the accepted model of the moon's formation with the unexpectedly similar isotopic fingerprints of both bodies. The results suggest that the impact that formed the moon was so violent, the resulting debris cloud mixed thoroughly before settling down and forming the moon.

Earth's other 'moon' and its crazy orbit could reveal mysteries of the solar system   PhysOrg - February 25, 2015
We all know and love the moon. We're so assured that we only have one that we don't even give it a specific name. It is the brightest object in the night sky, and amateur astronomers take great delight in mapping its craters and seas. To date, it is the only other heavenly body with human footprints. What you might not know is that the moon is not the Earth's only natural satellite. As recently as 1997, we discovered that another body, 3753 Cruithne, is what's called a quasi-orbital satellite of Earth. This simply means that Cruithne doesn't loop around the Earth in a nice ellipse in the same way as the moon, or indeed the artificial satellites we loft into orbit. Instead, Cruithne scuttles around the inner solar system in what's called a "horseshoe" orbit.

How can we search for life on icy moons such as Europa?   PhysOrg - November 25, 2014

Our solar system is host to a wealth of icy worlds that may have water beneath the surface. The Cassini spacecraft recently uncovered evidence of a possible ocean under the surface of Saturn's moon, Mimas. Mimas is not alone in the possibility of having a global ocean, which would potentially provide a foothold for life to exist. Other worlds under examination include Jupiter's moon, Europa. In 2013, NASA's Hubble Space Telescope observed evidence that Europa erupts water, while the Cassini spacecraft has observed geysers spewing on Saturn's moon, Enceladus.

  Young Volcanoes on the Moon   NASA - November 25, 2014

Planetary scientists have long thought that lunar volcanism came to an end about a billion years ago, and little has changed since. Yet Ina looked remarkably fresh. For more than 30 years Ina remained a mystery, a "one-off oddity" that no one could explain. Turns out, the mystery is bigger than anyone imagined. Using NASA's Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter, a team of researchers led by Sarah Braden of Arizona State University has found 70 landscapes similar to Ina. They call them "Irregular Mare Patches" or IMPs for short.

Fossils could be discovered on the moon: Signs of ancient life may be littered across the moon   Science Daily - July 31, 2014
Physicists have tested what would happen if a piece of rock containing microscopic fossils from Earth was launched into space and hit the surface of the moon. The team turned fossil-filled rock into powder which was mixed with water and frozen to replicate a meteoroid.

Moon mystery: Why our Earth's satellite is lemon-shaped   BBC - July 30, 2014

Scientists have worked out the reasons for the distorted shape of our Moon. A US team calculated the effect on the shape of the early Moon of tidal and rotational forces. Shape-shifting occurred when the Moon was mostly liquid beneath a thin outer crust of rock. This interaction with the Earth also caused the Moon to shift slightly on its own axis.

  Traces of another world found on the Moon   BBC - June 6, 2014

Researchers have found evidence of the world that crashed into the Earth billions of years ago to form the Moon. Analysis of lunar rock brought back by Apollo astronauts shows traces of the "planet" called Theia. The researchers claim that their discovery confirms the theory that the Moon was created by just such a cataclysmic collision. The accepted theory since the 1980s is that the Moon arose as a result of a collision between the Earth and Theia 4.5bn years ago.

Theia was named after a Titan goddess in Greek mythology who was said to be the mother Selene the goddess of the Moon. It is thought to have disintegrated on impact with the resulting debris mingling with that from the Earth and coalescing into the Moon. It is the simplest explanation, and fits in well with computer simulations. The main drawback with the theory is that no one had found any evidence of Theia in lunar rock samples. Earlier analyses had shown Moon rock to have originated entirely from the Earth whereas computer simulations had shown that the Moon ought to have been mostly derived from Theia.

Moon's Age Revealed, and a Lunar Mystery May Be Solved   Live Science - April 3, 2014

Scientists have pinned down the birth date of the moon to within 100 million years of the birth of the solar system - the best timeline yet for the evolution of our planet's natural satellite. This new discovery about the origin of the moon may help solve a mystery about why the moon and the Earth appear virtually identical in makeup, investigators added. Scientists have suggested the moon was formed 4.5 billion years ago by a gigantic collision between a Mars-size object named Theiaand Earth, a crash that would have largely melted the Earth. This model suggested that more than 40 percent of the moon was made up of debris from this impacting body. Current theory suggests that Earth experienced several giant impacts during its formation, with the moon-forming impact being the last.

'Geologic clock' helps determine moon's age   Science Daily - April 3, 2014
Planetary scientists have determined that the moon formed nearly 100 million years after the start of the solar system, according to a new article. This conclusion is based on measurements from the interior of the Earth combined with computer simulations of the protoplanetary disk from which the Earth and other terrestrial planets formed.

NASA HD Moon Map Reveals Lunar North Pole Like Never Before (Photo)   Live Science - March 20, 2014

A new mosaic from NASA's Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter showcases the north pole in high resolution. The images run from 60 to 90 degrees north latitude, with a resolution of 6.5 feet (2 meters) per pixel. At right are images of the Thales crater. A new high-resolution map of the moon's north pole shows a view of the surface that even the Apollo astronauts would envy. The new lunar mosaic - which was captured by NASA's Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter (LRO) - resolves features as small as 6.5 feet (2 meters), providing information that could be used for landing-site scouting or to answer various questions about the surface of the moon, agency officials said. With scientists and the public able to click, zoom in and move around the map, it's the first time an interactive mosaic has been released of the moon's north pole.

'Biggest observed meteorite impact' hits Moon   BBC - February 24, 2014

Scientists say they have observed a record-breaking impact on the Moon. Spanish astronomers spotted a meteorite with a mass of about half a tonne crashing into the lunar surface last September. They say the collision would have generated a flash of light so bright that it would have been visible from Earth. "This is the largest, brightest impact we have ever observed on the Moon," said Prof Jose Madiedo, of the University of Huelva in south-western Spain. The explosive strike was spotted by the Moon Impacts Detection and Analysis System (Midas) of telescopes in southern Spain on 11 September at 20:07 GMT.

    BBC - December 16, 2013

The first robot to land on the Moon in nearly 40 years, China's Jade Rabbit rover, has begun sending back photos, with shots of its lunar lander. Jade Rabbit rolled down a ramp lowered by the lander and on to the volcanic plain known as Sinus Iridum at 04:35 Beijing time on Saturday (20:35 GMT). It moved to a spot a few metres away, its historic short journey recorded by the lander. On Sunday evening the two machines began photographing each other. A Chinese flag is clearly visible on the Jade Rabbit as it stands deployed on the Moon's surface.

Water Hidden in the Moon May Have Proto-Earth Origin   Science Daily - September 11, 2013
The Moon, including its interior, is believed to be much wetter than was envisaged during the Apollo era. The study investigated the amount of water present in the mineral apatite, a calcium phosphate mineral found in samples of the ancient lunar crust. These are some of the oldest rocks we have from the Moon and are much older than the oldest rocks found on Earth. The antiquity of these rocks make them the most appropriate samples for trying to understand the water content of the Moon soon after it formed about 4.5 billion years ago and for unravelling where in the Solar System that water came from.

Moon Water Discovery Hints at Mystery Source Deep Underground   Live Science - August 28, 2013
Evidence of water spotted on the moon's surface by a sharp-eyed spacecraft likely originated from an unknown source deep in the lunar interior, scientists say. The find - made by NASA's Moon Mineralogy Mapper instrument aboard India's Chandrayaan-1 probe - marks the first detection of such "magmatic water" from lunar orbit and confirms analyses performed recently on moon rocks brought to Earth by Apollo astronauts four decades ago, researchers said.

Scientists Detect Magmatic Water On Moon's Surface   Science Daily - August 27, 2013
Scientists have detected magmatic water -- water that originates from deep within the Moon's interior -- on the surface of the Moon. This surficial water unfortunately did not give us any information about the magmatic water that exists deeper within the lunar crust and mantle, but we were able to identify the rock types in and around Bullialdus crater.

Metamorphosis of Moon's Water Ice Explained   Science Daily - June 19, 2013
Using data gathered by NASA's Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter (LRO) mission, scientists believe they have solved a mystery from one of the solar system's coldest regions - a permanently shadowed crater on the moon. They have explained how energetic particles penetrating lunar soil can create molecular hydrogen from water ice. The finding provides insight into how radiation can change the chemistry of water ice throughout the solar system.

Mystery of Moon's Magnetic Field Deepens   Live Science - May 10, 2013
The moon generated a surprisingly intense magnetic field until at least 3.56 billion years ago, 160 million years longer than previously thought, a new study reports. These findings could shed light not just on the magnetic field of the moon, which is now extremely weak, but on that of asteroids and other distant worlds, investigators added. Earth's magnetic field is created by its internal dynamo, which itself is generated by the planet's churning molten metal core. Research increasingly suggests that the moon once had a dynamo as well, with evidence of magnetism found in lunar rocks returned by Apollo astronauts.

Water on Earth and Moon May Have Same Source   Live Science - May 10, 2013
Water deep inside Earth and the moon may originate from the same source: ancient meteorites, scientists say. The findings hint that water may have existed on Earth before the giant impact the planet received that created the moon, and that the moon possessed water from its earliest moments, scientists added. It remains a mystery exactly how water found within the moon survived this violent collision, though. Water is vital to life as we know it, with organisms found virtually everywhere there is water on Earth. When Earth was born, the ingredients of the planet's water most likely would have formed beyond the orbit of Earth. As such, all the water on the planet must have come from either comets or meteorites hurtling inward from the outer solar system.

New Scars Found on Moon, Hint at "Recent" Tectonic Activity   National Geographic - February 23, 2012
Long trenches called graben suggest early moon wasn't fully melted. Parts of the moon's surface have been stretched apart to form shallow, sunken valleys, according to a new study based on NASA images. The presence of the long, thin valleys - known as graben - suggests that the moon has undergone relatively recent tectonic activity, within the past 50 million years or so. That activity in turn hints that the moon may not have been entirely melted when it first formed roughly 4.6 billion years ago. Instead the early moon likely

What if the earth had two moons?   PhysOrg - December 28, 2011
he idea of an Earth with two moons has been a science fiction staple for decades. More recently, real possibilities of an Earth with two moon have popped up. The properties of the Moon's far side has many scientists thinking that another moon used to orbit the Earth before smashing in to the Moon and becoming part of its mass. Since 2006, astronomers have been tracking smaller secondary moons that our own Earth-Moon system captures; these metre-wide moons stay for a few months then leave.

Earth has two 'moons' right now, theorists say   NBC - December 26, 2011
Earth has two moons, a group of scientists argues. One is that waxing and waning nightlight we all know and love. The other is a tiny asteroid, no bigger than a Smart Car, making huge doughnuts around Earth for a while before it zips off into the distance. That's the scenario posited by the scientists in a paper published Dec. 20 in the planetary science journal Icarus. The researchers say there is a space rock at least 1 meter (3.3 feet) wide orbiting Earth at any given time. They're not always the same rock, but rather an ever-changing cast of "temporary moons."

Subtly shaded map of moon reveals titanium treasure troves   PhysOrg - October 7, 2011
A map of the Moon combining observations in visible and ultraviolet wavelengths shows a treasure trove of areas rich in Titanium ores. Not only is Titanium a valuable mineral, it is key to helping scientists unravel the mysteries of the Moon's interior.

Unique volcanic complex discovered on Moon's far side   PhysOrg - July 25, 2011

Analysis of new images of a curious hot spot on the far side of the Moon reveal it to be a small volcanic province created by the upwelling of silicic magma. The unusual location of the province and the surprising composition of the lava that formed it offer tantalizing clues to the Moon's thermal history.

Parts of moon interior contains as much water as Earth's upper mantle   PhysOrg - May 27, 2011

This microscope photo shows whole spheres and partial fragments of orange volcanic glass, of the type recovered from Apollo 17 sample 74220 from which the lunar melt inclusions were recovered. The largest sphere in the center is 0.2 millimeters across. Credit: NASA. Read more at: Parts of the moon's interior contains as much water as the upper mantle of the Earth - 100 times more of the precious liquid than measured before - research from Case Western Reserve University, Carnegie Institution for Science, and Brown University shows.

Moon's interior water casts doubt on formation theory   BBC - May 27, 2011

An analysis of sediments brought back by the Apollo 17 mission has shown that the Moon's interior holds far more water than previously thought. The analysis, reported in Science, has looked at pockets of volcanic material locked within tiny glass beads. It found 100 times more water in the beads than has been measured before, and suggests that the Moon once held a Caribbean Sea-sized volume of water. The find also casts doubt on aspects of theories of how the Moon first formed.

  Engineered collision spills new Moon secrets   PhysOrg - October 22, 2010

Scientists led by Brown University are offering the first detailed explanation of the crater formed when a NASA rocket slammed into the Moon last fall and information about the composition of the lunar soil at the poles that never has been sampled.

Water Ice Detected Beneath Moon's Surface   NASA - October 25, 2010

Is there enough water on the moon to sustain future astronauts? The question has important implications if humanity hopes to use the Moon as a future outpost. Last year, to help find out, scientists crashed the moon-orbiting LCROSS spacecraft into a permanently shadowed crater near the Moon's South Pole. New analyses of the resulting plume from Cabeus crater indicate more water than previously thought, possibly about six percent. Additionally, an instrument on the separate LRO spacecraft that measures neutrons indicates that even larger lunar expanses -- most not even permanently shadowed -- may also contain a significant amount of buried frozen water. Pictured above from LRO, areas in false-color blue indicate the presence of soil relatively rich in hydrogen, which is thought likely bound to sub-surface water ice. Conversely, the red areas are likely dry. The location of the Moon's South Pole is also digitally marked on the image. How deep beneath the surface the ice crystals permeate is still unknown, as well as how difficult it would be to mine the crystals and purify them into drinking water.

Moon's water is useful resource, says Nasa   BBC - October 22, 2010

There are oases of water-rich soil that could sustain astronauts on the Moon, according to Nasa. Scientists studied the full results of an experiment that smashed a rocket and a probe into a lunar crater last year. The impacts kicked up large amounts of rock and dust, revealing a suite of fascinating chemical compounds and far more water than anyone had imagined. A Nasa-led team tells Science magazine that about 155kg of water vapor and water-ice were blown out of the crater.

Moon's Silver Hints at Lunar Water Origins   National Geographic - October 22, 2010

It's not just poetic to call it a silvery moon: In addition to water, a NASA probe that crashed into a lunar crater last year churned up unexpected concentrations of silver and mercury, aka quicksilver, a new study says. The metals had been found before in moon rocks brought back by Apollo astronauts, but the elements had appeared in only trace amounts. (Also see "Water Found in Apollo Moon Rocks.")

Magnetic anomalies shield the Moon   PhysOrg - September 28, 2010

Scientists have discovered a new type of solar wind interaction with airless bodies in our solar system. Magnetized regions called magnetic anomalies, mostly on the far side of the Moon, were found to strongly deflect the solar wind, shielding the MoonÕs surface. This will help understand the solar wind behavior near the lunar surface and how water may be generated in its upper layer.

The Moon puts on camo   PhysOrg - August 31, 2010

A new geologic map of the moon's Schrodinger basin paints an instant, camouflage-colored portrait of what a mash-up the moon's surface is after eons of violent events. The geologic record at Schršdinger is still relatively fresh because the basin is only about 3.8 billion years old; this makes it the moon's second-youngest large basin (it's roughly 320 kilometers, or 200 miles, in diameter).

The Moon Has Shrunk, and May Still Be Contracting   National Geographic - August 20, 2010
The moon has been shrinking, suggest scientists who spotted relatively young geological features that form when a planetary body cools and contracts. Called lobate scarps, the features are made when land on one side of a geologic fault line is thrust upward, creating a slanting wall that can be several hundred feet high and several miles long.

Moon Not So Watery After All, Lunar-Rock Study Says   National Geographic - August 5, 2010
The inside of the moon isn't as watery as previously reported, according to a new study that found a high variety of chlorine atoms in Apollo moon rocks. For decades scientists had thought the moon is bone dry inside and out. But recent moon-impact missions found water ice on the lunar surface, and reanalysis of rocks brought back by Apollo astronauts found evidence for significant amounts of water inside the moon in the form of hydroxyl (-OH), a hydrogen compound formed by the breakdown of water (H2O).

'Much more water' found in lunar rocks   BBC - June 14, 2010
The Moon might be much wetter than previously thought, a group of scientists has said. A US-led team analyzed the mineral apatite in lunar rocks picked up by the Apollo space missions and in a lunar meteorite found in North Africa. The scientists found that there was at least 100 times more water in the Moon's minerals than they had previously believed.

Biggest, Deepest Crater Exposes Hidden Story of Earth's Ancient Moon   Science Daily - March 9, 2010
Shortly after the Moon formed, an asteroid smacked into its southern hemisphere and gouged out a truly enormous crater, the South Pole-Aitken basin, almost 1,500 miles across and more than five miles deep. Asteroid bombardment over billions of years has left the lunar surface pockmarked with craters of all sizes, and covered with solidified lava, rubble, and dust. Glimpses of the original surface, or crust, are rare, and views into the deep crust are rarer still.

Ice deposits found at Moon's pole   BBC - March 2, 2010
A radar experiment aboard India's Chandrayaan-1 lunar spacecraft has identified thick deposits of water-ice near the Moon's north pole. The US space agency's (Nasa) Mini-Sar experiment found more than 40 small craters containing water-ice. But other compounds - such as hydrocarbons - are mixed up in lunar ice, according to new results from another Moon mission called LCROSS. The findings were presented at a major planetary science conference in Texas. The craters with ice range from 2km to 15km (one to nine miles) in diameter; how much there is depends on its thickness in each crater. But Nasa says the ice must be at least a couple of metres thick to give the signature seen by Chandrayaan-1.

Taking a deeper look at lunar soil, with X-ray vision   PhysOrg - January 4, 2010
Using a new imaging technique, materials scientists open a window on the moon's geological history. Ever since July 20, 1969, when Neil Armstrong left the first human footprint on the surface of the moon, scientists have been fascinated by the fine powdery soil in which it was made. Today, more than 40 years later, Carol and Christopher Kiely are using a new imaging technique called X-ray ultramicroscopy (XuM) to examine the internal structure of the lunar soil particles that were collected from the Sea of Tranquility during the Apollo 11 mission. These particles are like tiny time capsules, providing us with clues to all the geological processes that have occurred on the lunar surface for the past 3.5 billion years.

Moon's 'perfume' comes from the sun   MSNBC - January 7, 2010
The moon's whiff of an atmosphere has been sniffed by a Japanese spacecraft under very special conditions and confirmed as coming largely from sunlight brutally hammering the lunar surface.

'Coldest place' found on the Moon   BBC - December 16, 2009
The Moon has the coldest place in the Solar System measured by a spacecraft. Nasa's Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter has used its Diviner instrument to probe the insides of permanently shadowed craters on Earth's satellite. It found mid-winter, night-time surface temperatures inside the coldest craters in the northern polar region can dip as low as minus 247C (26 kelvin).

  Nasa confirms water on the moon YouTube

Where Is Water on Moon From--Volcanoes, Sun ... Earth?   National Geographic - November 17, 2009
For many, 2009 will be remembered as the year water on the moon was confirmed beyond any reasonable doubt. "You're seeing the culmination of a whole bunch of missions that were instrumented specifically to address this question," said Paul Spudis of the NASA-funded Lunar and Planetary Institute (LPI) in Houston, Texas.

Water found in lunar impact likely came from comets   New Scientist - November 19, 2009
The mystery of where the moon's water came from may soon be solved. Evidence from NASA's LCROSS mission suggests much of it was delivered by comets rather than forming on the surface through an interaction with the solar wind. In October, the mission crashed two impactors Š a spent rocket stage and a few minutes later, the LCROSS spacecraft itself Š into a crater near the moon's south pole. The spacecraft snapped images and took spectra of lunar debris kicked up by the rocket's impact and found that it contained the unmistakable signs of water. Previous missions have also found hints of lunar water but its source has not been clear. One idea is that it forms when hydrogen atoms from the solar wind latch onto oxygen atoms in the lunar soil, creating hydroxyl and water.

Water Discovery Fuels Hope to Colonize the Moon - November 13, 2009
Hopes, dreams and practical plans to colonize or otherwise exploit the moon as a source of minerals or a launch pad to the cosmos got a boost today with NASA's announcement of significant water ice at the lunar south pole. The LCROSS probe discovered the equivalent of a dozen 2-gallon buckets of water in the form of ice, in a crater at the lunar south pole. Scientists figure there's more where that came from.

  Secrets of Google's 3-D Mars, Moon   National Geographic - November 4, 2009
Michael Weiss-Malik, Product Manager, Mars in Google Earth So, Moon and Mars in Google Earth are a lot like a video game. You know, it's pretty popular right now to have these 3-D virtual reality games where you can walk around or sometimes fly around. And in Mars and Moon it's just like that except that you can actually explore another planet and they're based on real data, so instead of exploring you know, a fake world and shooting aliens you can actually explore a real alien world, and dive in and see craters and explore and, and also read some of the human stories on those planetary bodies where you can find out how humans have explored those places. So, we did Mars first because, prior to joining Google we actually both, Noel and I, wrote software for NASA Mars missions and, we actually started the original Google Mars which is a, a Web site before we came to Google. We called Google up and asked them if we could make it, basically.

Found: first 'skylight' on the moon   New Scientist - October 23, 2009
A deep hole on the moon that could open into a vast underground tunnel has been found for the first time. The discovery strengthens evidence for subsurface, lava-carved channels that could shield future human colonists from space radiation and other hazards. The moon seems to possess long, winding tunnels called lava tubes that are similar to structures seen on Earth. They are created when the top of a stream of molten rock solidifies and the lava inside drains away, leaving a hollow tube of rock.

Controversial moon theory rewrites history   MSNBC - October 22, 2009
The moon may have been adopted by our planet instead of descended from it. If a new twist on a decades-old theory is right, conditions in the early solar systemsuggest the moon formed inside Mercury's orbit and migrated out until it was roped into orbit around Earth. The idea flies in the face of scientific consensus, known as the giant impact hypothesis, which holds that the moon formed from red-hot debris left over after a Mars-sized object collided with Earth around 4.5 billion years ago.

How The Moon Produces Its Own Water   Science Daily - October 19, 2009
The Moon is a big sponge that absorbs electrically charged particles given out by the Sun. These particles interact with the oxygen present in some dust grains on the lunar surface, producing water. This discovery, made by the ESA-ISRO instrument SARA onboard the Indian Chandrayaan-1 lunar orbiter, confirms how water is likely being created on the lunar surface.

Blog: Back to the Lunar Future   MSNBC - September 26, 2009

An artist's conception from 1978 shows a processing plant for lunar soil.

Moon Myths: The Truth About Lunar Effects on You   Live Science - September 25, 2009
The moon holds a mystical place in the history of human culture, so it's no wonder that many myths - from werewolves to induced lunacy to epileptic seizures - have built up regarding its supposed effects on us.

Lunar Craters May Be Chilliest Spots in Solar System   New York Times - September 17, 2009
The shadowy craters near the south pole of the Moon may be the coldest places in the solar system, colder than even Pluto, NASA scientists reported Thursday as they unveiled some of the first findings from the Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter spacecraft.

Scientists Make Oxygen Out of Moon Rock   PhysOrg - August 11, 2009
If humans ever create a lunar base, one of the biggest challenges will be figuring out how to breathe. Transporting oxygen to the moon is extremely expensive, so for the past several years NASA has been looking into other possibilities. One idea is extracting oxygen from moon rock.

Lunar Orbiter's First Pictures Released   National Geographic - July 8, 2009
Deep shadows fill the pockmarked terrain of the lunar highlands south of Mare Nubium, or Sea of Clouds, in the first images of the moon returned from NASA's Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter, which were released on July 2. The spacecraft, which launched on June 18, only recently turned on its imaging system, dubbed LROC. The system includes a wide-angle camera with a resolution of 330 feet (100 meters) and two narrow-angle cameras that can see features down to 3.3 feet (1 meter) across.

  Kaguya Spacecraft Crashes into the Moon   NASA - June 29, 2009
Japan's Kaguya spacecraft crashed into the Moon last week, as planned. Officially named the Selenological and Engineering Explorer (SELENE), the spacecraft was given the nickname Kaguya after the princess in the Japanese folklore story The Tale of the Bamboo Cutter. Pictured above is a movie taken by Kaguya during the last orbit of its twenty-month lunar mission. A desolate, hilly, and cratered terrain passes underneath as the spacecraft barely clears a few peaks. At the movie's end, the spacecraft disappears into darkness near Gill crater. Robotic SELENE carried thirteen scientific instruments and two HDTV cameras. The groundbreaking mission took data on lunar topology and composition that are being used to better understand the origin and history of Earth's unique and ancient companion. Data and images from Kaguya and the recently launched Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter could be used to choose good locations to land future Moon-exploring astronauts.

How Moon Dust Could Yield Oxygen, Fuel and Water - January 9, 2009
On Hawaii?s Mauna Kea volcano, which rises more than 13,000 feet above sea level, there is a mid-level base facility where scientists can pretend they are on the moon. Hawaii?s volcanic terrain, soil and remote environment provide an ideal environment for testing instruments and equipment that someday may be used by astronauts at a lunar base. Recently, a team of scientists working for the Pacific International Space Center for Exploration Systems (PISCES) demonstrated its first field test for NASA's In Situ Resource Utilization (ISRU) Project. Research Operations Manager John Hamilton supported the mission simulation to show how astronauts will be able to prospect for resources on the moon to make their own oxygen, fuel and water from lunar rocks and soil. A key motivation of these experiments is the fact that almost half the moon, by weight, is made of oxygen.

Multi-Ringed Basins Thunderbolts - December 12, 2008

Lunar formations resemble those found on other planets and moons. Could they be the result of similar electrical events?

Volcanoes Rocked Far Side of the Moon National Geographic - November 6, 2008
New images from the Japanese lunar satellite KAGUYA (formerly SELENE) reveal dark "seas" of volcanic rock that are as young as 2.5 million years old. Until recently, the prevailing belief was that lunar volcanism started soon after the moon formed, about 4.5 billion years ago, and ended about 3 billion years ago. Scientists can determine the age of a lunar landscape by counting the craters that have been blasted into its surface by meteors. The older a region, the more craters it has.

Moon's interior 'had water' BBC - July 9, 2008
US scientists have found evidence that water was held in the Moon's interior, challenging some elements of the theory of how Earth's satellite formed. The Moon is thought to have been created in a violent collision between Earth and another planet-sized object. Scientists thought the heat from this impact had vaporized all the water. But a new study in Nature magazine shows water was delivered to the lunar surface from the interior in volcanic eruptions three billion years ago. This suggests that water has been a part of the Moon since its early existence.

Did Earth once have multiple moons? New Scientist - May 6, 2008
The ancient catastrophe that gave birth to the Moon may have produced additional satellites that lingered in Earth's skies for tens of millions of years. A new model suggests moonlets may have once occupied the two Earth-Moon Lagrangian points, regions in space where the gravitational tug of the Earth and the Moon exactly cancel each other out. Objects trapped in these points are called Trojans and can remain stationary forever if left undisturbed. Scientists think the Moon was created when Earth was struck by a Mars-sized object some 4.5 billion years ago. Once captured, the Trojan satellites likely remained in their orbits for up to 100 million years, Lissauer and co-author John Chambers of the Carnegie Institution of Washington say. Then, gravitational tugs from the planets would have triggered changes in the Earth's orbit, ultimately causing the moons to become unmoored and drift away or crash into the Moon or Earth.

Moon Formed Volcanoes Early, Rock Study Shows National Geographic - December 5, 2007

Meteorite dates lunar volcanoes BBC - December 6, 2007
Volcanoes were active on the Moon's surface soon after it was formed, a new study in the journal Nature suggests. Precision dating of a lunar rock that fell to Earth shows our satellite must have had lava erupting across its vast plains 4.35 billion years ago. This is hundreds of millions of years earlier than had been indicated by the rocks collected by Apollo astronauts. Scientists say the information will help us better understand the beginnings of the Solar System.

Moon Has Iron Core, Lunar-Rock Study Says National Geographic - January 13, 2007
Deep down, the moon may be more like Earth than scientists ever thought. A new moon-rock study suggests the satellite has an iron core. The findings add weight to the theory that the moon formed from debris thrown off when a Mars-size object collided with a young Earth

Moon's odd bulge finally explained CNN - August 3, 2006
An eccentric orbit in the moon's distant past might be responsible for the mysterious bulge around its middle, scientists say. The excess material around the lunar equator has been known since 1799 when French mathematician Pierre-Simon Laplace first noticed it. The reason, however, has been a mystery until now. The moon's peculiar shape can be explained if the satellite moved in an eccentric oval-shaped orbit 100 million years after its violent formation, when the satellite hadn't yet solidified, the researchers say .It was like a big ball of molasses and all around the equator it got deformed, study team member Ian Garrick-Bethell of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology told Around that time, conditions, such as orbit shape and position, were optimal for this "ball of molasses" to cool down and become the solid moon that we now know. Today, the moon's orbit around the Earth is nearly circular. To predict the moon's position and orbit millions of years ago, Garrick-Bethel and colleagues extrapolated backwards from ancient records of the timing of historical solar eclipses and of changes in the distance between the Earth and moon.

Moon Is Dragging Continents West, Scientist Says National Geographic - January 25, 2006
Someday not so soon Washington, D.C., may find itself about where San Francisco is now. According to a recent study, Earth's surface may be slipping slowly westward, dragged by the same lunar forces that produce tides. The Earth's crust is divided into vast plates that slowly shift, producing earthquakes, mountains, and rifts where they collide or separate. Most earth scientists believe that this movement is the result of rising and falling currents of magma deep below the surface.

New Mineral Found on the Moon MSNBC - April 2004

A new mineral formed by repeated bombardments from meteorites and other space debris has been found in a meteorite that fell to Earth from the moon.

Lunar mountain has eternal light BBC - March 19, 2004
There is a "peak of eternal light" on the Moon - a region from which the Sun never sets, according to astronomers. A team led by Dr Ben Bussey of Johns Hopkins University in the US looked at images of the Moon's poles taken by the 1994 Clementine lunar spacecraft. The researchers produced a movie to show how illumination over the regions changed during a whole month. They found four areas on the rim of Peary, a 73k-wide crater, that appear to stay light for the entire Moon day.

Age-Old Moon Gardening Growing in Popularity National Geographic - July 2003

More gardeners today are turning to the moon for sage advice on the best time to plant, prune, weed, and harvest. The practice, known as moon or lunar gardening, is cultivating a cult following. "Lunar gardening is the oldest form of gardening known to man," said RJ Harris, the head gardener at a private estate near Cornwall, England, and author of a book on the subject.