The Size of the Moon
December 7, 2012
A bunch of kids were sitting and talking about this and that when the newly risen moon became visible over the roof of the house nest door. A teenage boy spoke up saying, "My uncle told me that the moon is a lot bigger than the earth." I was only ten, but had the impression that he was wrong. He was a lot bigger than me so I didn't say anything but filed the question away for future research.
The next week my mother and I travelled to a nearby town to visit a high school friend of hers who had two daughters near my age. I soon discovered a set of encyclopedias in which I looked up "moon." I quickly discovered that my feeling was correct - in fact the moon is about 1/81 the mass of the earth.
I never told the older boy about my discovery but I did inform all the other guys who had heard the remark. From that time on, I read everything I could find about astronomy and the universe.
In 2016, The Planetary Society’s LightSail program will take the technology a step further.