Although it is the closest celestial body to us, the moon still harbors secrets aplenty. “Closest,” of course, is a relative term: The great gray and white orb in our sky never veers much nearer than 225,000 miles (362,000 kilometers), and getting there is no easy feat, especially in the case of manned missions. No human has left boot prints in the lunar regolith since 1972. So, the Moon is a mystery that is definitely worth a closer look.
Like its jovian sibling IO, Europa is experiencing many changes, but it’s devoid of fire. The satellite is only slightly smaller than our Moon, and water ice coats its surface. Deep down, though, it is not as cold as it looks: Europa is not frozen solid.
Titan — that smoggy, orangy moon circling Saturn — is of great interest to exobiologists because its chemistry could be good for life.
Moons in our solar system get little respect. The latest discoveries from planets like Mars and Saturn grab headlines. New comets invade the public consciousness. Meteors dazzle skygazers, and little Pluto attracts a fan club. Moons, in comparison, seem boring. The sheer number of these natural satellites in our solar system makes them overwhelming to study.
From 1968 to 1972, the United States sent a handful of men to the Moon. Twelve of them actually got to walk on it. Since then, nobody has been back. As the years passed, much of what those men did while they were up there has either been forgotten by an uninterested general public, or ignored by people who didn’t really care in the first place.
The Moon is humanity’s nearest companion in our travels in space and the only celestial body that we have had the chance to actually visit. Still, despite its relative closeness and familiarity, our satellite continues to hold many interesting secrets. From its scientific strangeness to the many ways it affects our lives, the Moon is a mystery that is definitely worth a closer look.
NASA scientists says that the largest moon in the solar system may harbor life in its inner oceans. Previously, scientists thought Ganymede only had one ocean between two ice layers, but data reveals that its structure is “ice and oceans stacked up in several layers like a club sandwich.”
A blood red moon has been seen throughout history as a sign of impending doom. However, they are simply the result of a lunar eclipse, or when the Earth is aligned between the moon and the sun. Be they white, grey, orange, or red, a lunar eclipse is a spectacular vision. Here are several outstanding images of lunar eclipses from Earth – and beyond.
If life on Earth has taught us anything, it is that where you find liquid water, you generally find life. Looking at our solar system, we now have good reason to conclude that at least a handful of moons — Europa, Ganymede, Callisto, Enceladus, Titan, and possibly Triton — may harbor vast bodies of liquid water beneath their icy shells.