Help Shape the Future of Space Exploration

Join The Planetary Society Now  arrow.png

Join our eNewsletter for updates & action alerts

    Please leave this field empty

Our Moon

Earth's companion is so large and fascinating that geologists count the Moon as one of the solar system's "terrestrial planets." In fact, it was probably born from Earth, after a Mars-sized body collided with the proto-Earth, in a collision so violent that the Moon that coalesced from the leftover fragments was entirely (or almost entirely) molten. We can tell this story of Earth and the Moon's creation thanks to our analysis of the rocks returned to Earth by the Apollo astronauts, Luna landers, and chance discoveries of lunar meteorites. New laboratory techniques yield new discoveries every year even though no samples have been collected from the surface of the Moon since 1972.

In the years since the end of the space race between the United States and Russia, many other nations have sent robotic spacecraft to orbit the Moon as a first step in their planetary exploration: Japan, the European Space Agency, India, and China. Likewise, many people see a staging station on the Moon as a necessary first stepping stone toward sending humans on missions to asteroids or Mars. Thanks to the combined data from lunar orbiters from all nations we know that there is water stored in lunar soil and that there are permanently sunlit peaks at the lunar poles, providing for two basic needs of human settlements: water and power. We can go back to the Moon; but who will make the effort?

Recent Blog Articles About the Moon

New Flickr collection of historical NASA photos

Posted by Emily Lakdawalla on 2010/08/30 11:23 CDT

NASA announced today that they had placed several new sets of historical photos on their "NASA on the Commons" Flickr site, and invited the public to help tag and caption the photos.

Read More »

New crater found in LROC image from the Moon

Posted by Emily Lakdawalla on 2010/07/27 06:52 CDT

This news is no surprise, but I think it's the first such discovery I've heard of: the Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter Camera (LROC) team has identified a new crater on the Moon, one that wasn't there when Apollo 15 flew over.

Read More »

Neil Armstrong changed the world

Posted by Bill Nye on 2012/08/25 10:39 CDT | 15 comments

Neil Armstrong changed the world. He was an excellent engineer and an outstanding pilot. He got the assignment to land a completely novel rocket machine on the Earth’s Moon, because he was the perfect man for the job: He could really fly; he had excellent judgment about the capabilities of his ship; and above all, he had a remarkable ability to keep his wits about him in extraordinarily dangerous situations.

Read More »

NASA's LADEE Spacecraft to Fly Through an Eclipse, Crash into the Lunar Surface on April 21st

Posted by Casey Dreier on 2014/04/04 01:13 CDT | 1 comment

LADEE, NASA's latest robotic lunar spacecraft, will reach its planned end-of-mission on April 21st, when it will crash on the far side of the Moon.

Read More »

NASA re-creates the Apollo 8 Earthrise using Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter data

Posted by Andrew Chaikin on 2013/12/20 02:20 CST | 1 comment

If there's one thing I've learned after decades of studying the first human voyages to another world, it's that there is always more to discover about Apollo. Case in point: The Apollo 8 Earthrise photo that became one of the iconic images of the 20th century.

Read More »

My arduous journey to the Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter Camera images

Posted by Emily Lakdawalla on 2010/04/02 02:41 CDT

It's been two weeks since Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter mission released a flood of data to the Planetary Data System, but I haven't posted any pictures dug out of the camera data yet. This post will explain why.

Read More »


Posted by Bill Dunford on 2014/03/18 12:42 CDT | 8 comments

Get an astronaut's view into several lunar craters.

Read More »

Moon Zoo is ready for you

Posted by Emily Lakdawalla on 2010/05/12 04:15 CDT

I'm delighted to point you to a citizen science project for wannabe space geologists like me: Moon Zoo.

Read More »

MESSENGER: A snapshot of home

Posted by Emily Lakdawalla on 2010/08/17 12:04 CDT

MESSENGER is in a unique position in the solar system, orbiting the Sun well within the orbit of Venus. From there, it can gaze outward from the Sun to search for tiny objects that may possibly be traveling in the same region, called vulcanoids.

Read More »

MESSENGER Snaps Earth-Moon Image in Approach to First Flyby

Posted by Emily Lakdawalla on 2005/06/02 09:00 CDT

As MESSENGER began its approach for its August 2 flyby of Earth, its cameras have snapped their first images. The images clearly show a cloudy Earth—and, to scientists' surprise, the Moon as well.

Read More »

Items 61 - 70 of 100  Previous12345678910Next
Facebook Twitter Email RSS AddThis


Advocate for Space!

Fifteen years ago, Society members and passionate space advocates like you helped save the Pluto mission. Now we can do the same for missions to Europa and Mars.

Join over 27,600 people who have completed their petition and consider a donation to support advocacy efforts.

Sign Our Petition


Our Curiosity Knows No Bounds!

Become a member of The Planetary Society and together we will create the future of space exploration.

Join Us

Space in Images

Pretty pictures and
awe-inspiring science.

See More

Selfies to Space!

Take flight with a selfie on LightSail™ in 2016!

Send a Selfie Now

Connect With Us

Facebook! Twitter! Google+ and more…
Continue the conversation with our online community!