There Are Many Moon, But Only One Luna

Ace the Spaceman may be way off kilter, thinking one day we could live on the lunar surface. But one thing is for certain. He is not the only person fascinated at the prospect of moving to the Moon. Setting up shop on our solo satellite has been broached by several scientific journals and periodicals. But a return trip to the Moon would be expensive. And any plans for further exploration have been eclipsed by research focused on Mars. Many private companies guarantee trips to the Moon by 2020. But again, these voyages would be for other nations or the elite, costing in excess of $1 billion dollars for the round trip ticket. Earth’s only natural satellite, poetically personified as Luna, is technically referred to as “the Moon”. It is around a quarter size of the Earth. But that’s large enough to reflect the Sun’s light even when the burning star is on the opposite side or our planet. It also controls the tides, keeping Earth’s balance of nature in check. Without it, we would cease to exist.

Such a harmonious relationship may not have started out that way. Some theorize the Moon evolved after the newly formed Earth collided with a Mars-sized rock. The resulting debris coalesced into what is now, the Moon. Hence, the Earth is older than the Moon, but only by a mere 70 million years, according to the theory.

Mercury and Venus are the only two planets in the Milky Way that do not have moons. This is probably due to their proximity to the Sun. Gravitational forces would destroy any satellites situated too close to these planets. This is a great example illustrating Earth’s perfect recipe for life on this planet.

On the flip side, there are 181 satellites in our solar system. The breakdown is as follows: Earth with Luna; Mars with two moons; Jupiter, sixty-seven; Saturn, sixty-two; Uranus, twenty-seven; and Neptune with fourteen. There are eight moons orbiting the dwarf planets including Pluto.

On another note, don’t tell rock band Pink Floyd, but there is no dark side of the Moon. Both sides see the same amount of sunlight, but the same side is always facing Earth. The opposite side has been seen, but only from aboard a spacecraft.

Twelve people have walked on the Moon. The first, and most notable, was Neil Armstrong in 1969, and the last was Gene Cernan in 1972. American men are the only ones having the honor to do so. Of course, we had to leave our mark on the Moon. Otherwise, who would believe we were ever there? The items we have left behind include two or three golf balls; a family photo; a falcon feather; human waste; boots; and six American flags.

evening full moon light

The Moon orbits the Earth every 27.3 days. It is 238,857 miles away from Earth. Scientists found small traces of water on the this natural satellite. There are also mountains with the biggest being Mons Huygens, which is half the size of Mount Everest. There is no atmosphere or wind on it. This fact is the source of much controversy regarding the waving of the flag once astronauts had set afoot. Conspiracy theorists did not account for facts. Truth is, the aluminum flag pole transported had a horizontal piece as well as a vertical one. No wind, no controversy.

Phases of the Moon are defined by the illuminated portions seen from Earth. These portions change as the Moon orbits the Earth. The sunlit shapes vary from zero percent, (new moon) to 100 percent, (full moon). It is widely thought most crimes are committed during a full moon, but this theory has been debunked numerous times. The theory was popular in the 1800s, spurring terms like “lunacy” and “lunatic.” It is more probable a full moon provides more light than a new moon, creating more traffic and activity. However, many hospital nurses will swear a full moon creates busy labor-delivery rooms with a high number of babies born during that time.

But some of the most bizarre facts regarding the Moon revolve around 16th century artists. Leonardo de Vinci, more polymath than renowned painter, was fascinated with the phenomenon known as Earthshine. Earthshine happens when there is a crescent moon on the horizon at sunset and a faint image of the full moon is visible. At the time, most people realized the Moon orbited Earth. Copernicus, who hypothesized the Sun was the center of the universe instead of the Earth, wouldn’t publish these findings until 24 years after Leonardo’s death! Yet the Renaissance Man accurately and firmly held his finger on the pulse of the world around him.

While modern day marvels conclude Earthshine occurs when the Sun sets on the Moon and things appear almost completely dark. At this point, it is actually the Earth that lights up the sky, producing an ashen glow. That’s simple stuff today. But in the 1600s it was magic, imagination, and purely Leonardo.

Oddly enough, Leonardo’s face has been spotted on the Moon. According to , his face stands out well inside of one of the thousands of craters on the Moon’s surface. The website even goes as far to claim perhaps Leonardo was an alien himself. Or at the least, so revered by all species, that the shaded rendering was mysteriously placed as a tribute to his intelligence.

In conclusion, the Moon holds a mystery poets, scientists and philosophers have had a hard time encapsulating. Writer Robert Louis Stevenson may have said it best.

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