Moon. Genesis, formation and exploration
Moon - Earth's only natural satellite.Visible at night, but we can also see it during the day. Extremely bright, after the Sun it is the brightest celestial body visible from Earth. The moon is one of the Solar System's best-described bodies and the only landing site for a manned space mission. It has a great influence on the living organisms on Earth as it regulates our biological rhythm. How was the moon formed? How is it shaped?
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1. Characteristics of the Moon
The moon has existed for about 4.5 billion years and, next to the sun, is the brightest object in the sky. Since the dawn of time, it has been worshiped by ancient cultures on all continents, and the gods associated with it were usually among the most important in a given mythology.
According to one of the most credible hypotheses, the Moon was created in the last stage of the solar system formation, as a result of the collision of a Mars-sized protoplanet with the Earth, already divided into a core and a mantle.
This collision was not a central one, and therefore the Earth was only stripped of a part of it, its mantle retaining most of its iron core. Hot mantle material scattered around the Earth in the shape of a disk condenses as a satellite as it cooled quickly. Tidal influences have moved two celestial bodies away from each other, now the Moon is moving further away from the Earth at a rate of 3.8 cm per year.
The moon's orbit is elliptical in shape. Its eccentricity is 0.0554 and the radius is 384 thousand. kilometers. The eccentricity contributes to the fact that in its farthest position the Moon is 405 thousand km away and in the closest one it is 362.6 thousand km away. km from the center of mass of the Moon-Earth system.
The full rotation of the Moon around the Earth takes 27 days and 7 hours, but taking into account the movements of the Earth, the time between each phase is 29.5 days, which is called the synodic month.
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The moon moves in a synchronous motion, which means that it always faces the Earth with one side visible to the Earth. Thanks to the phenomenon of libration, observers can see about 59% of the surface of this celestial body.
The invisible other side of the moon, called the dark side, was first seen during the flight of the Soviet Luna 3 probe in 1959. The moon, although it appears to be a bright object against the night sky, has one of the lowest albedo factors. The surface of this celestial body reflects as much light as used street asphalt.
2. Where does the name "Moon" come from?
The Polish name "Moon" derives from the Old Slavonic word meaning the son of a prince. Initially, this name was used only for the young Moon between the New Moon and the First Quarter, and later it was adopted as a general name for our satellite.
Today, many field names related to the study of the Moon are derived from the names of Luna and Selene - goddesses in Roman and Greek mythology.
3. The surface and internal structure of the Moon
The surface of the moon is mainly composed of basalt rocks of volcanic origin. The older upland areas are covered with many impact craters, and the younger, relatively smooth (seas) are likely remnants of huge impact basins that have been flooded with liquid lava.
On the lunar surface, geological formations can be distinguished:
- the sea;
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Most of the surface is covered with a thick layer of regolith, the surface temperature of the silver globe is + 110 ° C in the middle of the day to -180 ° C in the middle of the night (such large differences are due to the lack of atmosphere).
The moon also lacks a magnetic field, so its surface is constantly exposed to direct exposure to cosmic rays and solar wind.
The interior of the lunar globe has a layered structure: a tiny iron core about 340 km in radius surrounded by a layer of molten objects about 400 km thick. Above this layer is a stiff, rocky mantle covered with a hard shell with an average thickness of 68 km.
The chemical composition of the Moon is significantly different from Earth's, mainly it is much less iron. Similar (almost identical), however, is the lunar isotopic composition of the Earth, which may confirm the common origin of the Moon and the Earth.
4. Lunar seas
The dark, uneven areas visible to the naked eye on the visible part of the silver globe are called the lunar seas. The name refers to the beliefs of ancient astronomers who believed that they were real seas filled with water.
The current state of knowledge allows us to conclude that these are areas of solidified magma. Basalt formed from solidified lava filled the meteorite craters formed by falling rock fragments. The lunar seas are actually located only on the visible side of the moon, where they cover 31% of the surface (on the other side they account for about 2% of the surface).
This distribution has no clearly formulated and proven explanation. Recently, attention has been paid to the greater concentration of radioactive elements that produce heat in the visible part of the hemisphere.
This was demonstrated on a geochemical map made by the Lunar Prospector gamma spectrometer. Places containing a large number of shield volcanoes and volcanic domes are also found in the seas, in the visible hemisphere.
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The term "seas" is used to describe the oceans, seas, bays, lakes and swamps. Below is a list of the known lunar seas.
- Ocean of Storms;
- Sea of Clouds;
- Sea of Plenty;
- Sea of Brightness;
- Sea of Rains;
- The Sea of Nectar;
- Sea of Fumes;
- The Sea of Moisture;
- The Sea of Peace;
- Cold sea;
- The Sea of Solstices;
- Dew Bay;
- Rainbow Bay;
- Lake of Death;
- Lake of Perfection;
- Swamp of Rot.
5. Lunar highlands
The brighter areas on the moon are called mountains or highlands because they are above the sea. Some of the largest mountainous areas in the visible hemisphere lie just outside great meteorite craters, many of which are filled with basalt. They are considered to be remnants of rings formed by shock waves.
Lunar mountains are distinguished from terrestrial ones by the fact that the former were not formed as a result of tectonic processes, but as a result of cosmic events.
6. Moon exploration
Direct research on the moon made unmanned and manned space flights possible in the 20th century. On July 20, 1969, the American Apollo program led to the landing of the first humans on the Moon (E.E. Aldrin and N. Armstrong).
In the years 1969-1972, there were 12 American astronauts on the surface of the silver globe. They delivered to Earth about 385 kg of lunar material, the age of which is estimated at 3 - 4.6 billion years.
Simultaneously, research on the moon was also conducted by the USSR until 1976, with the help of son Luna. Despite these studies, the Russians failed to send a manned ship to the moon.
In the late twentieth century, two American probes, after a long pause, discovered water ice on the sunlit crater bottoms of the Moon's circumpolar regions.