Tag Archives | Moon

Scientists discover ‘permanent’ dust cloud around Moon

An artist's conception of the thin dust cloud surrounding the Moon and the LADEE mission orbit. (Credit: Daniel Morgan and Jamey Szalay, University of Colorado)

An artist’s conception of the thin dust cloud surrounding the Moon and the LADEE mission orbit. (Credit: Daniel Morgan and Jamey Szalay, University of Colorado)

A curious dust cloud surrounding the moon has been discovered.

via Russia Today:

There is a permanent, but asymmetric dust cloud surrounding the Moon, created by tiny dust grains lifted up from the lunar surface, scientists have found. Its density may increase during annual meteor showers such as, for example, Geminid.

According to scientists from, the cloud is comprised of dust grains swept up by other high-speed, interplanetary particles passing by, often in the wake of comets.

Many of the dust particles are traveling at thousands of miles per hour in the opposite orbital direction of the solar system’s planets, causing high-speed, near head-on collisions with the moon’s leading surface, said Professor Mihali Horanyi.

According to Horanyi, even a single dust particle from a comet striking the moon can excite thousands of smaller particles on the surface.

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Huge dust cloud discovered around the Moon – but ‘lunar glow’ remains a mystery

Veiled beauty holds many secrets. MMT/Flickr, CC BY-SA

Veiled beauty holds many secrets. MMT/Flickr, CC BY-SA

Carole Mundell, University of Bath

Astronauts on the early Apollo missions orbiting over to the dark side of the moon were surprised to discover a mysterious, bright crescent of light glowing at the horizon. The controversial explanation was sunlight scattered by dust high in the Moon’s tenuous atmosphere, but proof has been hard to come by. Fast forward half a century and, for the first time, a team of scientists has analysed the Moon’s atmospheric dust in real time, discovering a permanent dust cloud. Surprisingly, however, they have failed to explain the glow.

At 384,400 km away, the Moon is our nearest planetary neighbour. It is the only celestial body that humans have set foot on and has it provided a natural tool for understanding the origin of water on Earth, the physics of our Sun and for testing fundamental theories of physics.… Read the rest

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New Research Provides Clues to Origin of the Moon

The Moon continues to fascinate us and now three new research papers offer new ideas as to its origins, reported at BBC News:

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”.

Earth and Moon

The study is one of three published in the prestigious journal Nature.

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 modelling 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.

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NASA Wants To Give The Moon A Moon

Why on earth would NASA want to give the Moon its own moon? Wired reports:

It sounds almost like a late ’90s sci-fi flick: NASA sends a spacecraft to an asteroid, plucks a boulder off its surface with a robotic claw, and brings it back in orbit around the moon. Then, brave astronaut heroes go and study the space rock up close—and bring samples back to Earth.

Except it’s not a movie: That’s the real-life idea for the Asteroid Redirect Mission, which NASA announced today. Other than simply being an awesome space version of the claw arcade game (you know you really wanted that stuffed Pikachu), the mission will let NASA test technology and practice techniques needed for going to Mars.

The mission, which will cost up to $1.25 billion, is slated to launch in December 2020. It will take about two years to reach the asteroid (the most likely candidate is a quarter-mile-wide rock called 2008 EV5).

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The Moon Cannot Be Stolen: The FAA is regulating business on the moon

Via Reuters:

(Reuters) – The United States government has taken a new, though preliminary, step to encourage commercial development of the moon.

According to documents obtained by Reuters, U.S. companies can stake claims to lunar territory through an existing licensing process for space launches.

The Federal Aviation Administration, in a previously undisclosed late-December letter to Bigelow Aerospace, said the agency intends to “leverage the FAA’s existing launch licensing authority to encourage private sector investments in space systems by ensuring that commercial activities can be conducted on a non-interference basis.”

In other words, experts said, Bigelow could set up one of its proposed inflatable habitats on the moon, and expect to have exclusive rights to that territory – as well as related areas that might be tapped for mining, exploration and other activities.

However, the FAA letter noted a concern flagged by the U.S.

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Google’s ‘Back To The Moon For Good’

For those of you who don’t believe that man ever set foot on the moon (i.e. the moon missions were a hoax), this may not be too compelling, but for those interested in Google’s space plans, this Tim Allen-narrated mini-documentary from Google is some great eye candy:

Here’s the official description:

Watch our cool movie about going back to the Moon. In case you haven’t heard, the Moon is trending again… and in a big way. Narrated by Tim Allen (voice of Buzz Lightyear), this is a complete behind-the-scenes feature on the $30 million Google Lunar XPRIZE, the largest incentivized prize in history. Adapted from the award-winning digital planetarium show, the 24-minute movie chronicles 18 teams from around the world looking to make history by landing a privately funded robotic spacecraft on the Moon. This global competition is designed to spark imagination and inspire a renewed commitment to space exploration, not by governments or countries – but by the citizens of the world.

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The Dark Side of the Moon

A good long read for Christmas comes in the form of this profile of astronaut Buzz Aldrin at GQ:

“So how was it? How was…the moon?” You have no further questions. Because he went to the moon. And now he’s sitting here, at your table in a dark and crowded D.C. restaurant. It’s disorienting. The moon! The crescent and the eclipse, the waxing and the waning, the cheese—the lunar glow hanging right there, night after night on the periphery of your busy coming and going. No matter what your age, gender, politics, nationality, social or financial standing, every single person inhabiting the planet Earth has the same reaction to him. Holy crap, Buzz Aldrin, you went to the moon!

Buzz Aldrin - Campus Party 2013.jpg
Buzz Aldrin – Campus Party 2013” by Marcio De AssisOwn work. Licensed under CC BY-SA 3.0 via Wikimedia Commons.

You smile at him, your face opening the way every single face in the entire world opens when it encounters him.

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Tech Company ‘Proves’ Faked Moon Landing Conspiracy Theory As Hoax

Nvidia, the tech company that makes the graphics card for your gaming PC, says it has debunked the faked moon landing conspiracy theory. Here’s the video, about which Nvidia says “Explore the truth behind the iconic Buzz Aldrin moon landing photo. See how modern graphics innovations can shed new light on a 35-year-old conspiracy theory”:

What do you think, disinfonauts?

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Watch The Moon Turn Red – Tonight!

While it is true that the Moon will appear red in the Western Hemisphere, tonight is a bit of a stretch: it should take place roughly between 3 AM and 5 AM EST tomorrow morning, April 15th. Caused by the Earth, moon and sun aligning, the resulting full-lunar eclipse will give the Moon a red hue. Enjoy it if you can stay awake (or you’re in a more conducive time zone)!

The November 2003 Red Moon. Photo: Oliver Stein (CC)

The November 2003 Red Moon. Photo: Oliver Stein (CC)

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Hawking: We’ll Colonize The Moon Within 50 Years, Mars By 2100

320px-Physicist_Stephen_Hawking_in_Zero_Gravity_NASAStephen Hawking joined in a two-and-a-half-hour live broadcast from the International Space Station and Mission Control in Houston on March 16th, telling viewers that our future is in space and that we’ll have colonized the Moon within 50 years and Mars by 2100. It’s a message he’s been preaching for some time and with thousands of people clamoring to join the one-way mission to Mars planned for 2025, it seems his message has resonance…

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