7 lesser-known facts about the moon | 2010-2020 discoveries :

 7 lesser-known facts about the moon | 2010-2020 discoveries :

7 lesser-known facts about the moon | 2010-2020 discoveries

Here are seven astonishing lunar revelations from the past decade that transformed our understanding of the moon and its enigmatic nature. Uncover the moon’s hidden stories: water, shrinking, tail, metal, origin, quakes, and cosmic companions.

In the span of just a decade, our understanding of the moon has been transformed by a series of lesser-known discoveries that have captured the fascination of scientists and space enthusiasts alike. From unearthing hidden water reservoirs to unveiling the moon’s seismic secrets, the moon’s enigmatic nature continues to surprise us.

These remarkable findings from 2010 to 2020 have reshaped our perception of Earth’s nearest cosmic neighbor, and as we step into the next decade, the moon’s mysteries beckon us with even greater anticipation and curiosity.

1. MYSTERY OF MOONWATER :

In 2018, NASA confirmed the existence of water on the moon’s surface, stashed in tiny bubbles within lunar soil. Unlike Earth, the moon doesn’t have a substantial atmosphere to trap water vapor.

This discovery upended the decade-long belief that the moon was arid and sparked interest in exploring the moon as a potential water resource for future missions.

2. THE SHRINKING MOON :

In 2016, NASA revealed an interesting fact: the moon is shrinking! With extensive analysis of the satellite’s surface, scientists found that it has become about 150 feet “skinnier” due to its interior cooling and contracting over the last several hundred million years.

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3. THE MOON’S TAIL

Just like comets, our moon has a tail too! A NASA spacecraft in 2009 confirmed this fact.

This tail is formed by the sun’s nuclear furnace pushing tiny sodium atoms off the moon’s surface to create a faint tail that always points away from the sun.

4. METALLIC MOON MYSTERY

Breakthrough research in 2020 suggested that the moon’s subsurface may contain high amounts of metal, especially iron and titanium.

This finding strongly suggests that the moon’s creation involved a far more violent collision than previously thought.

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5. EARTH AND MOON, THE SIAMESE TWINS

Scientists in 2012 found evidence that the moon might be a chip off the old block, i.e., Earth itself.

Studies showed that isotopes from both bodies were almost identical, hinting that the moon might have been part of the Earth millions of years ago.

6. THE MOONQUAKE MYSTERY

Despite the lack of tectonic activity on the Moon, seismometers installed during Apollo missions recorded moonquakes.

The mystery was solved in 2019, when scientists discovered the moon was tectonically active, with surface cracking under the extreme cold of its two-week-long night leading to these quakes.

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Buzz Aldrin on Moon; photo by Neil Armstrong

In the span of just a decade, our understanding of the moon has been transformed by a series of lesser-known discoveries that have captured the fascination of scientists and space enthusiasts alike. From unearthing hidden water reservoirs to unveiling the moon’s seismic secrets, the moon’s enigmatic nature continues to surprise us.

These remarkable findings from 2010 to 2020 have reshaped our perception of Earth’s nearest cosmic neighbor, and as we step into the next decade, the moon’s mysteries beckon us with even greater anticipation and curiosity.

7. THE LONELY PLANET’S FRIEND

The moon has mini-moons! In 2020, astronomers found a tiny asteroid (2020 CD3) captured by Earth’s gravity, creating a temporary mini moon, although it left Earth’s orbit after a few months.

The last decade has seen a resurgence in lunar studies that has revolutionized our understanding of this celestial companion. With new mysteries to solve and technologies to deploy, the next decade holds even more promise.

In 2018, NASA confirmed the existence of water on the moon’s surface, stashed in tiny bubbles within lunar soil. Unlike Earth, the moon doesn’t have a substantial atmosphere to trap water vapor.

In fact, the moon is 400 times smaller than the sun but also 400 times closer to Earth.

  • The moon is drifting away from the earth.
  • The moon was made when a rock smashed into Earth.
  • The moon has quakes too.
  • There is water on the moon!

Amazing facts about the moon:

Robert Massey, deputy executive director of the Royal Astronomical Society, discusses the Moon’s most extraordinary secrets

The moon began with an explosive collision.

“The prevailing idea is that the Moon was formed in a violent event between the proto-Earth—an early-stage Earth that was much bigger than it is today—and an object (labelled ‘Theia’) about the size of Mars,” explains Robert Massey, deputy executive director of the Royal Astronomical Society. “Debris was ejected into space and then coalesced to form the Moon.” Modern research seems to confirm the Moon is made of material from the early Earth’s crust. Dubbed the ‘Giant Impact Hypothesis,’ this collision is believed to have happened 4.5 billion years ago and would have been 100 million times larger than the event that wiped out the dinosaurs.

It used to look much bigger

“The Moon started out around ten times closer to the Earth than it is now,” reveals Massey. “Imagine looking up at the night sky and seeing the moon 10 times bigger.” Computer simulations suggest the Moon could even have been 12–19 times closer, at a distance of just 20,000–30,000 km, compared to 384,000km today. And it is still spinning away. “Because of a transfer of energy from the rotation and tidal bulges of the Earth, the Moon gets 3.78cm further away each year.” That’s roughly the same rate at which your fingernails grow.

You see the same side of the moon every time.

The Moon, like Earth, spins on its axis, but because that rotation lasts around 27 days—roughly the same as the 27.32 days it takes the Moon to orbit the Earth—you only ever see one face of the Moon. “This phenomenon is called ‘tidal locking’ or ‘captured rotation’ and it means the other side of the moon was completely invisible before the Space Age,” Massey said. “Whereas the near side has lunar maria—large, dark plains that often cover impact basins—the far side is more cratered and rugged, with a thicker crust and less evidence of volcanic activity.”

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