I see the moon and the moon sees me! The Earth’s nearest cosmic neighbor is its moon. 4.5 billion years ago as the solar system was slowly forming, scientists believe that a large meteor the size of Mars, hit the earth. Gravitational forces hugged the moon and its rotation to the earth; the earth’s gravitational pull slowed and stabilized the rotation of the moon. Surprisingly, the moon is an egg shape with a small top and bottom. It is larger than Pluto! If you see a full moon, you can imagine a face made by its many craters. If you see a crescent, half Gibbous or full, you are seeing the part of the moon lit by the sun. You are actually looking at one of its small ends. People call it the man in the moon and the earth, Gaia, or Mother Earth. As it orbits around the earth while it and the earth are rotating, it always shows us the same face. Light from the sun shines on the moon.
Activity 1 – Moon Phases, Names & Meanings
Throughout the centuries, people and civilizations entranced by the moon’s movement across the sky created names and meanings. Depending on their biome and culture, people named the phases for their own culture; different cultures have different connotations of what the moon phases mean.
Make a chart of at least three different cultures’ names and meanings of the stages. Then, upload it to the gallery!
Activity 2 – Moon Landings
President John F. Kennedy proclaimed landing a person on the moon a national goal in the mid 1960’s. Eight years later in 1972, Apollo 11 achieved the first manned moon mission. American astronaut Neil Armstrong(1930-2012) and Edwin Buzz Aldrin (1930-) were the firs people to land on the moon. As Armstrong took the famous first step onto the surface her declared, “That’s one small step for man, one giant leap forward for mankind.” Take a look at the timeline of Lunar Missions and see how many countries have become involved with the moon.
Make an abbreviated timeline of the MOON Missions and Upload it to the gallery.
Activity 3 – MOON SURFACE
Craters, visible by the naked eye on the moon’s surface, were created by collisions with space rocks between 4.1 and 3.8 billion years ago. The cavities remain as the moon is not geologically active like the Earth. Scientists believe the moon’s surface is relatively untouched without wind or rain. Today people are exploring life on the moon as a way station on the way to life on Mars!
Research Life on the Moon for People! Make a drawing of a Habitable Moon Landing.
Activity 4 – Moon Trees
More than 400 trees on Earth came from the moon from a lunar orbit. One astronaut, Stuart Roosa, Apollo 14, carried a small pouch of seeds on an orbital flight to the moon. Returning to Earth, the seeds planted in different cities, states, and countries became called “moon trees.” Most of them are doing just fine back on Earth!
Draw and label some of the trees whose seeds traveled to the moon and back!
Activity 5 – Moon Tides
While the Earth’s moon connects via gravity to its orbit around the Earth, it also tugs on the oceans’ waves. As a result, the Sun, Earth, and Moon line up at New and Full Moons, and high tides occur.
As the moon takes 29.5 days to orbit the Earth, it causes the highest, or perigean, tides when it is closest to the Earth. This is because the monthly series of gravitational pulls on the Earth’s waters slowly slow down the Earth’s rotation by 1.5 milliseconds every one hundred years!
Make a year calendar of Full Moons for the current year.
- How long does it take the moon to rotate around the earth?
- The moon's diameter equals the distance from New York to which city?
- How far does the moon move away form the earth annually?
- The moon is made of cheese!
- The moon is half lit by the sun all of the time.
- People are planning to Live on the moon in the future.
- Waxing means the moon will grow larger; waning means that it will appear smaller.
- How many full moons do we see each year?
- When we can see the entire side of the moon lit in the sky it is called a
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