50 Facts About The Moon For Kids

  1. The Moon has a diameter of 3,474 km at its equator. This may sound huge, but it’s pretty tiny in the celestial body size rankings! While they look similar sizes when you look up at the sky, the Moon is 400 times smaller than the Sun. It’s also 400 times closer to the Earth.
  2. The Moon is the Earth’s only satellite and our nearest neighbor, although it’s still a trek to travel there at 385,000 km away!
  3. Astrophysicists estimate that the Moon is 4.5 billion years old and formed after a small planet impacted the Earth as the Solar System and the planets started to develop. This giant collision caused a space debris cloud that began to collect together and orbit the Earth due to its developing gravitational pull. This went on to become the Moon.
  4. The Moon has over 300,000 craters with a diameter of around 1 km identified on its near-side. The giant crater discovered is the South Pole-Aitken basin – a whopping 2,500 km in diameter and about 8 km deep.
  5. The Moon orbits the Earth at a super-speedy 1 km a second, and it takes an average of 27.3 days to make one orbit cycle around the Earth.
  6. Every year, the Moon gets 3.8 cm further away from the Earth. Astrophysicists think this will continue for at least the next 50 million years.
  7. The Moon has a time zone called Lunar Standard Time (LST). A lunar year consists of 12 days. This may sound like a short year, but each lunar day consists of 29.5 Earth days, so a lunar year is similar to its Earth equivalent.
  8. The Moon’s climate can be unpredictable, ranging from 260°F in the day to -267°F at night.
  9. Powerful telescopes on Earth can view 59% of the surface of the Moon.
  10. Approximately 2,200 samples of rock, dust, sand, pebbles, water and other geological materials have been collected from the surface of the Moon by NASA… so far!

Strange facts about the Moon

  1. Shadows appear darker on the Moon than they do on Earth. This is because there is no atmosphere on the Moon, so light fragments cannot be refracted to cast shadows that create much contrast.
  2. While the Earth experiences earthquakes, the Moon experiences moonquakes in much the same way. The Moon also has a crust but no tectonic plates. The moonquakes are caused by the crust heating and expanding or meteor impacts that cause seismic shocks of low intensity.
  3. The Moon is a bit of a garbage site! Plenty of waste has been left behind with many NASA trips to the Moon. This includes lunar rovers, science equipment, golf balls, and human feces. Unfortunately, when you have to go, you have to go!
  4. There is no dark side of the Moon. The other side isn’t bathed in darkness because we only see the same side of the Moon. Therefore, it receives the same amount of sunlight at all times.
  5. It might look like a perfectly shaped spherical orb, but the Moon is shaped more like a lemon!
  6. The diameter of Australia is 600 km wider than the diameter of the Moon!
  7. With no wind and minimal atmosphere, the footprints that astronauts made on the surface of the Moon during the Apollo missions are still in untouched condition and look like they were made yesterday! They’ll remain in pristine condition for the next 100 million years or so.
  8. While peace treaties have been signed on Earth by countries to prevent military action, many have signed up to the Outer Space Peace Treaty to prevent the Moon from ever becoming a war zone.
  9. There have been 78 movies made by Hollywood-based studios set on the Moon or mentioned the Moon in the plot.
  10. Over 2000 years ago, the Babylonian civilization became the first to conduct basic scientific studies of the Moon.

Traveling to the Moon

  1. People have been dreaming of setting foot on the Moon for a long time. The Roman author Lucian wrote the first-ever science-fiction novel set in space over two thousand years ago.
  2. The United States was eager to win the space race with the Soviet Union in the 1960s and made it their mission to put a man on the Moon by the decade’s end. Finally, they succeeded on July 20, 1969, when Neil Armstrong took one giant leap for humanity.
  3. An African American woman, Katherine Johnson, calculated the trajectory and reentry coordinates of the Apollo 11 mission to the Moon. She played a pivotal role in ensuring the U.S. won the space race!
  4. A decade before putting a man on the Moon, the United States military considered testing nuclear bombs on the natural satellite’s surface.
  5. Strangely, many astronauts have reported hay fever-type symptoms after contact with moon dust. The most common side effects are sneezing, an itchy throat, and sore eyes.
  6. Stuart Roosa, an American astronaut, took 500 seedlings to the Moon in 1971 before returning them to Earth. These tree seedlings, such as sycamore, sweetgum, and redwood, have grown successfully and are still flourishing. Many “Moon Trees” has gone global, with a loblolly pine gifted to the Emperor of Japan and a sweet gum planted in Brazil.
  7. Out of the 12 people who have set foot on the Moon, all have been men, with Eugene Cernan being the last in 1972.
  8. The side of the Moon that we don’t see was first photographed in 1959 by the Soviet Union and their Luna 3 module.
  9. Geologist Dr. Eugene Shoemaker is the only human to have his ashes scattered on the Moon after NASA deliberately crashed the Lunar Prospector module into the surface in 1999.
  10. NASA has stated that it plans to send a new sequence of human-crewed spacecraft to the Moon in the 2020s, 50 years after it halted the Apollo missions.

How the Moon affects life on Earth

  1. Without the Moon, our oceans would not have tides. The Moon’s gravitational pull causes the Earth’s water to bulge towards it, causing a tidal force.
  2. Birds use the Moon as a map to navigate their flight paths during migration season.
  3. Humans often struggle to find their natural circadian rhythms after a long flight, resulting in jet lag. However, there are also circalunar rhythms that many organisms use to find their sleep pattern!
  4. The corals of the Great Barrier Reef will spawn in October, November, and December straight after a full moon. Releasing these reproductive cells into the ocean is so dramatic that it can be seen from outer space.
  5. The Mormon Tea tree will weep in the light of a full moon. Yes, you read that right! The tree will release sap that glistens like a swarm of fireflies in the moonlight. This attracts pollinators and ensures their survival.
  6. The light created by a full moon polarizes in the Earth’s atmosphere. For bugs like the dung beetle, this means they can navigate in straight lines using the polarized light of the full moon. This ensures that they can get their fresh ball of dung back to their burrow in the most efficient way possible.
  7. Without the Moon, the Earth would rotate much faster, resulting in 100 miles an hour winds and 8-hour days!
  8. Gothic tales have been inspired by the mystery and eeriness of the full moon for centuries. The first mention of a werewolf can be found in The Epic of Gilgamesh, written in 2100 B.C. The curse suggests that anyone bitten by this mythical creature will also become one and transform into a half-man, half-wolf beast on the night of a full moon.
  9. In ancient Greece, the moon was viewed as a positive force for good. Girls were gifted crescent moon amulets to help ward off evil spirits. They were also worn to try and boost fertility and protect an unborn child before birth.
  10. While the scientific evidence is patchy, some anecdotal reports show that extreme behavior increases on the night of a full moon. Brighton police in the United Kingdom ensure more police are on patrol to counter the apparent increase in violent crimes when there’s a full moon.

Mythological Moon facts

  1. While we can sometimes see an abstract figure of a man or face on the moon, ancient civilizations treated the moon as a deity or God-like entity to worship.
  2. The ancient Sumerians believed that the celestial bodies in the sky were related. For example, the Moon (Nanna) was the father of Venus (the goddess Ianna) and the Sun (the god Utu).
  3. Many people still believe that the moon has an impact on human behavior. In the 18th century, people on trial for murder in England could appeal that they fell victim to “full moon lunacy” to try and spend less time in jail.
  4. Franz von Paula Gruithuisen became the laughingstock of the astronomy world in the 19th century when he said he could see cities of little green men on the Moon through his telescope. While discredited, he was still respected enough to have a crater named after him.
  5. Ever since the first moon landing in 1969, many people have claimed it was faked. Buzz Aldrin, the second astronaut to walk on the Moon, became so enraged that he punched a prominent conspiracy theorist. As a national treasure and a great pioneer of space travel, Aldrin didn’t get charged with any offense.
  6. One of the more ridiculous myths about the Moon is that Adolf Hitler’s Nazi Party had set up a lunar base in the 1930s. Some people even speculated that Hitler faked his death, traveled to the Moon, returned in a flying saucer, and was at the center of the Roswell UFO sightings in 1947.
  7. Native American culture names every full moon according to the farming calendar. For example, it is known as the Full Worm Moon in March because earthworms appear out of the soft ground for birds to eat.
  8. The ancient Sumerians were the first to use the Moon to form a calendar. They even added an extra day every three years to keep lunar months on track, similar to the modern-day leap year.
  9. In Incan mythology, any animal that could swallow the moon could result in the world being left in darkness for eternity. This fear probably came from lunar eclipses blocking any polarized light in the sky.
  10. John Heywood, the man who coined the phrase “the more, the merrier,” also stated that the moon was made of green cheese. In 2002, NASA went along with the myth and said they finally had proof that it was made of cheese by printing a microscope image showing a crater, complete with a dairy product expiration date!
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