Moon Question and Answers

Moon Questions and Answers (7)

What is the Moon made of?

The Moon is made from many of the same things that we find here on Earth. Scientists studied about 800 pounds of moon rocks brought back by the Apollo astronauts. Their tests showed that the rocks from the Moon are similar to three kinds of igneous rocks that are found here on Earth: basalt, anorthosites, and breccias.

Melted rocks that cool and become hard are colled igneous rocks. When the melted rock is below the surface of a planet it is called magma. When it flows onto the surface it is called lava.

Basalt is one of the most important kinds of rock formed by lava. The lava on the moon was created when gigantic meteors crashed onto its surface.

Anorthosites are another form of igneous rock formed by lava. This kind of rock is found on Earth but is extremely rare. The lunar highlands are mostly made of anorthosite.

Breccias are igneous rocks composed of pieces of older rocks. As meteoroids crash onto the Moon surface, rocks are broken into many pieces. The heat and pressure from the impact can melt the smaller broken rocks into new rocks called breccias.

Scientists found three minerals on the Moon that are not found on the Earth. They are: Armalocolite, Tranquillityite, and Pyroxferroite.

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Why does the Moon have less gravity than Earth?

Gravity is a force that pulls objects toward each other. Just because an object is big does not mean that it will have lots of gravity.

The Moon has less gravity because it is smaller than the Earth. Astronauts liked walking on the Moon. They were able to take giant steps because they didn’t weigh as much there. If you were on the Moon you would weigh less than what you do here on the Earth.

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How many people have been on the Moon?

Twelve men from Earth have walked on the Moon.

Aldrin, Buzz
Edwin E. Aldrin, Jr. – Sc.D., Colonel, USAFBorn January 20, 1930 – Montclair, New Jersey
Nickname: Buzz or Dr. Rendezvous

Even though he was very good in making orbital rendezvous, Aldrin didn’t get picked to be a part of the first group of astronauts. He didn’t give up though, and in October of 1963 he was selected to be the Lunar Module Pilot for Apollo 11 on July 16-24, 1969.

He was part of the first mission to land men on the Moon. Aldrin followed Neil Armstrong onto the Moon’s surface. They were on the Moon for 2 hours and 15 minutes. During this time they collected samples of rocks.

Armstrong, Neil
Neil A. ArmstrongBorn in Wapakoneta, Ohio – August 5, 1930
Selected as an astronaut in September 1962
Spacecraft commander, Apollo 11

Armstrong became interested in airplanes at age 6, when he took his first flight. He received his student pilot’s license on his 16th birthday. He liked learning about flying so much that he built a small wind tunnel in the basement of his home and did experiments on the model planes he made.

Armstrong was Spacecraft Commander for Apollo 11 ­ July 16-2l, 1969.  He was the first man to ever walk on the Moon.

Bean, Alan
Alan L. Bean – Captain, USNBorn March 15, 1932 – Wheeler, Texas
Chosen to be an astronaut in October 1963
Lunar Module Pilot, Apollo 12

Nickname: Al

Alan was a Backup Astronaut for the Gemini 10 and Apollo 9 missions.

Captain Bean was the Lunar Module Pilot on Apollo 12.  This was our second trip to the Moon. In November 1969, Bean and Captain Pete Conrad landed in the moon’s Ocean of Storms after a flight of  250,000 miles (402,000 km). They explored the lunar surface and conducted several experiments.

Cernan, Eugene
Eugene A. Cernan – Captain, USNBorn March 14, 1934 – Chicago, Illinois
Selected as an astronaut in October 1963
Lunar Module Pilot, Apollo 10 and Commander, Apollo 17

Cernan became the second American to make a space walk.  He logged in two hours and ten minutes outside the spacecraft.

On his second space flight, on May 18, 1969, he was the Lunar Module Pilot of Apollo 10.  He flew the lunar module Snoopy within 10 miles of the moon’s surface in a rehearsal
for the Apollo 11 lunar landing.

Cernan’s third space flight began on December 7, 1972 as Spacecraft Commander of Apollo 17, the final manned mission to the moon for the United States. He and Harrison H. Schmitt landed their lunar module, Challenger, at Taurus-Littrow, on the edge of the Sea of Serenity. Captain Cernan was the last man to leave his footprints on the surface of the moon.

Conrad, Charles
Charles “Pete” Conrad, Jr. – Captain, USNBorn March 14, 1934 – Chicago, Illinois
Died July 8, 1999 – Ojai, California

Conrad was the spacecraft commander of Apollo 12, the second lunar mission. With him onNovember 14-24, 1969 were Richard Gordon, and Alan Bean. The Apollo 12 crew executed the first precision lunar landing, bringing their lunar module, “Intrepid,” to a safe touchdown in the moon’s Ocean of Storms. Conrad spent 7 hours and 45 minutes on the lunar surface performing the first lunar traverse and installing a nuclear power generator station which would provide the power source for long-term scientific experiments.

Duke, Charles
Charles Duke Charles M. Duke, Jr. – Brigadier General, USAF ReserveBorn October 3, 1935 – Charlotte, North Carolina
Selected as an astronaut in April 1966
Nickname: Chuck

Colonel Duke was the Lunar Module Pilot for Apollo 16. He became the 10th person to walk on the moon during the 1972 Apollo 16 mission. He was accompanied on the mission by John W. Young and Thomas K. Mattingly II. He was one of the first astronauts to inspect, survey, and sample materials and surface features of the rugged lunar highlands. In three excursions onto the lunar surface, he logged 20 hours and 15 minutes in activities involving scientific equipment and collecting nearly 213 pounds of rock and soil samples.

Irwin, James
ames Irwin James B. Irwin – Colonel, USAF
Born March 17, 1930 – Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania
Died August 8, 1991 – Glenwood Springs, Colorado
Nickname: JimIrwin had applied to be an astronaut in 1964 but was not selected because he was still recovering from a serious plane crash in which he broke two legs and a jaw, and suffered a brain concussion and memory loss.

Irwin was the Lunar Module Pilot for Apollo 15. With him on his flight was David R. Scott and Alfred M Worden. He spent almost three days on the surface of the moon. He was one of the first men to use the Lunar Rover 1, the specially designed electric car. They used it to travel a total of 18 miles.

Mitchell, Edgar
Edgar Mitchell Edgar Dean Mitchell, Sc.D. – Captain, USN (retired)
Born September 17, 1930 – Hereford, Texas
Selected as an astronaut in April 1966
Lunar Module Pilot, Apollo 14
Nickname: EdMitchell was theLunar Module Pilot for Apollo 14, the third lunar landing mission launched January 31, 1971. On this mission, he was joined by Alan B. Shepard and Stuart A. Roosa. During his two lunar explorations, Mitchell traveled more than a mile from their landing site and collected 94 pounds of lunar samples.
Schmitt, Harrison
Harrison H. Schmitt – PhD
Born July 3, 1935 – Santa Rita, New Mesico
Selected as an astronaut in June 1965
Nickname: JackSchmitt’s background is quite different from most of the other early astronauts who were all trained pilots. Schmitt was a working scientist (geologist) with no flying experience when he was selected by NASA.
He worked with NASA scientists in developing scoops, shovels and other equipment to be used on the moon expeditions.

His single spaceflight was aboard the Apollo 17 lunar landing mission in 1972. This was Apollo’s last manned mission to the moon. He was accompanied on the mission by Commander Eugene Cernan and Command Module Pilot Ronald Evans. During their 3 days on the lunar surface, Schmitt and set up scientific experiments and drove to the nearby mountains in their lunar roving vehicle, collecting rock and soil samples. Mission controllers operated a television camera mounted on their rover, documenting Schmitt’s detailed descriptions of the craters, boulders and soil they found in the Taurus-Littrow Valley. They returned to earth with a record 249 pounds of lunar material.

Scott, David
David R. Scott – Colonel, USAF
Born: June 6, 1932 San Antonio, TexasScott was aboard Apollo 15, launched on July 26, 1971.  He served  as mission commander and was the seventh man to walk on the moon.

Scott was out on the moon for more than seven hours, driving the Lunar Rover for almost eight miles and gathering more than 100 pounds of rocks.  He wa one of the first astronauts to use of Lunar Rover.

Shepard, Alan
Alan Shepard Alan B. Shepard, Jr- Rear Admiral, USN
Born November 18, 1923 – East Derry, New Hampshire
Died July 21, 1998 – Monterey, California
Nickname: Al/JoseSelected as an astronaut in April 1959 Pilot, Mercury MR-3 Commander, Apollo 14  Alan has the distinction of being the first American to journey into space. He flew on two space flights, Mercury MR-3 and Apollo.

Shepard made his Apollo 14 spaceflight as the Spacecraft Commander with Stuart A. Roosa and Edgar D. Mitchell. During his stay on the moon, Shepard played some golf, hitting two golf balls with an improvised club. In his bulky spacesuit he could only manage two short shots of 200 yards and 40 yards, contrary to his hope of being able to hit them for miles in the low gravity of the lunar surface.

Shepard spent 9 hours, 12 minutes outside the lunar landing module and traveled 4,770 feet  away from the spacecraft. After 33 hours and 30 minutes on the moon’s surface, Shepard and Mitchell lifted off and rejoined the command module.

Young, John
John W. Young – Captain, USN
Born: September 24, 1930 San Francisco, CaliforniaHe was selected as an astronaut in September 1962. As a member of the Apollo 16 crew, he became the ninth man to walk on the Moon. This was his fourth mission into space.

Commander Young and his crew stayed  3 days.  They used the second Lunar Rover to explore the Moon’s surface.  They got the rover up to almost 18 kph.

**Images courtesy of NASA.

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How does the Moon stay in orbit?

The Moon stays in orbit because of Earth’s gravity.
Gravity is a force that pulls objects toward each other.
Just because an object is big does not mean it will have lots of gravity.

The force of gravity depends on an object’s mass.
Mass is how much stuff is in an object.

For instance, a small metal ball would have more mass than a large balloon.

The farther something is away the less gravitational force it has on other objects.

This means that the Sun exerts more gravitational pull on the Earth than it does on Pluto.

**Images by Tyler Wistisen

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How did the Moon get Craters?

Craters or bowl-shaped depression on the Moon are formed when rocks from space crash onto the surface of the moon.

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Is there air on the Moon?

The Moon does not have any air – that is why the astronauts had to take tanks of air with them.

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Is there water on the Moon?

The spacecraft called Clementine sent back images of what scientists believe may be ice on both the north and south poles of the Moon, but this is not the same as liquid water.

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