“I really believe that if the political leaders of the world could see their planet from a distance of, let’s say 100,000 miles, their outlook would be fundamentally changed.
The all-important border would be invisible, that noisy argument suddenly silenced.”
– Michael Collins
Our Moon formed 4.5 billion years ago when a Mars-sized object called Theia slammed into the proto-Earth when our planet was less than 100 million years old, according to leading theories.
Debris from the collision coalesced into the Moon, while other remnants reincorporated themselves into the Earth.
Because of gravity, the presence of the Moon stabilized the Earth’s spin axis.
At that time, our planet was spinning much faster, with one day lasting only 5 hours.
This tour of our Moon visits a number of interesting sites chosen to illustrate a variety of lunar terrain.
Some are large and old (Orientale, South Pole-Aitken), others are smaller and younger (Tycho, Aristarchus).
It also highlights the mineral composition of the Aristarchus plateau, evidence for surface water ice in certain spots near the south pole, and the mapping of gravity in and around the Orientale basin.
Water is a precious resource in deep space and a key ingredient of life as we know it.
NASA’s Stratospheric Observatory for Infrared Astronomy (SOFIA) has confirmed, for the first time, water on the sunlit surface of the Moon.
SOFIA has detected water molecules (H2O) in Clavius Crater, one of the largest craters visible from Earth, located in the Moon’s southern hemisphere.
This discovery indicates that water may be distributed across the lunar surface, and not limited to cold, shadowed places.
What Will Artemis Astronauts Do on the Moon?
The Artemis 3 crew will visit the Moon's South Pole. No one has ever been there.
At the Moon, astronauts will...
Search for the Moon's water and use it.
Study the Moon to discover its mysteries.
Learn how to live and work on the surface of another celestial body where astronauts are just three days from home.
Test the technologies we need before sending astronauts on missions to Mars, which can take up to three years roundtrip.