Thursday, November 13, 2008

Moon, The Green Cheese?

Even with the naked eye, the moon doesn’t look particularly green. And Neil Armstrong confirmed that the surface of the moon was more dusty than cheesy. On any night that the moon is visible, the large, dark maria are clearly visible. These are vast plains created by lava spread during a period of the moon’s evolution marked by intense volcanic activity. The lighter areas visible to the naked eye are called highlands.
Generally, the highlands represent the moon’s surface layer, its crust, while the maria consist of much denser rock representative of the moon’s lower layer, its mantle. The surface rock is fine-grained, as was made dramatically apparent by the image of the first human footprint on the moon. The mare resemble terrestrial basalt, created by molten mantle material that, through volcanic activity, swelled through the crust.
The mass of the moon is insufficient for it to have held on to its atmosphere. As the sun heated up the molecules and atoms in whatever thin atmosphere the moon may have once had, they drifted away into space.
With no atmosphere, the moon has no weather, no erosion other than what is caused by asteroid impacts—and no life. While it was thought that the moon had absolutely no water, recent robotic lunar missions have shown that there may be water (in the form of ice) in the permanent shadows of the polar craters.

No comments: