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To the Moon: http://www.pbs.org/wgbh/nova/tothemoon/. PBS program on the Apollo landings.

We Choose the Moon: http://wechoosethemoon.org/. A recreation of the Apollo 11 mission.

Mercury

Mercury Unveiled by G. Jeffrey Taylor (summarizing the Mariner 10 Mission): http://www.psrd.hawaii.edu/Jan97/MercuryUnveiled.html.

MESSENGER Mission Website: http://messenger.jhuapl.edu/.

NASA Planetary Data Center Mercury Page: http://nssdc.gsfc.nasa.gov/planetary/planets/mercurypage.html.

Views of the Solar System Mercury Page: http://solarviews.com/eng/mercury.htm.

Collaborative group activities

  1. We mentioned that no nation on Earth now has the capability to send a human being to the Moon, even though the United States once sent 12 astronauts to land there. What does your group think about this? Should we continue the exploration of space with human beings? Should we put habitats on the Moon? Should we go to Mars? Does humanity have a “destiny in space?” Whatever your answer to these questions, make a list of the arguments and facts that support your position.
  2. When they hear about the giant impact hypothesis for the origin of the Moon, many students are intrigued and wonder why we can’t cite more evidence for it. In your group, make a list of reasons we cannot find any traces on Earth of the great impact that formed the Moon?
  3. We discussed that the ice (mixed into the soil) that is found on the Moon was most likely delivered by comets. Have your group make a list of all the reasons the Moon would not have any ice of its own left over from its early days.
  4. Can your group make a list of all the things that would be different if Earth had no Moon? Don’t restrict your answer to astronomy and geology. Think about our calendars and moonlit romantic strolls, for example. (You may want to review Earth, Moon, and Sky .)
  5. If, one day, humanity decides to establish a colony on the Moon, where should we put it? Make a list of the advantages and disadvantages of locating such a human habitat on the near side, the far side, or at the poles. What site would be best for doing visible-light and radio astronomy from observatories on the Moon?
  6. A member of the class (but luckily, not a member of your group) suggests that he has always dreamed of building a vacation home on the planet Mercury. Can your group make a list of all reasons such a house would be hard to build and keep in good repair?
  7. As you’ve read in this chapter, craters on the Moon are (mostly) named after scientists. (See the official list at: http://planetarynames.wr.usgs.gov/SearchResults?target=MOON&featureType=Crater,%20craters). The craters on Mercury, on the other hand, are named for writers, artists, composers, and others in the humanities. See the official list at: http://planetarynames.wr.usgs.gov/SearchResults?
    target=MERCURY&featureType=Crater,%20craters). Living persons are not eligible. Can each person in your group think of a scientist or someone in the arts whom they especially respect? Now check to see if they are listed. Are there scientists or people in the arts who should have their names on the Moon or Mercury and do not?
  8. Imagine that a distant relative, hearing you are taking an astronomy course, calls you up and tells you that NASA faked the Moon landings. His most significant argument is that all the photos of the Moon show black skies, but none of them have any stars showing. This proves that the photos were taken against a black backdrop in a studio and not on the Moon. Based on your reading in this chapter, what arguments can your group come up with to rebut this idea?

Thought questions

One of the primary scientific objectives of the Apollo program was the return of lunar material. Why was this so important? What can be learned from samples? Are they still of value now?

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Apollo astronaut David Scott dropped a hammer and a feather together on the Moon, and both reached the ground at the same time. What are the two distinct advantages that this experiment on the Moon had over the same kind of experiment as performed by Galileo on Earth?

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Galileo thought the lunar maria might be seas of water. If you had no better telescope than the one he had, could you demonstrate that they are not composed of water?

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Why did it take so long for geologists to recognize that the lunar craters had an impact origin rather than a volcanic one?

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How might a crater made by the impact of a comet with the Moon differ from a crater made by the impact of an asteroid?

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Why are the lunar mountains smoothly rounded rather than having sharp, pointed peaks (as they were almost always depicted in science-fiction illustrations and films before the first lunar landings)?

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The lunar highlands have about ten times more craters in a given area than do the maria. Does this mean that the highlands are 10 times older? Explain your reasoning.

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At the end of the section on the lunar surface, your authors say that lunar night and day each last about two Earth weeks. After looking over the information in Earth, Moon, and Sky and this chapter about the motions of the Moon, can you explain why? (It helps to draw a diagram for yourself.)

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Give several reasons Mercury would be a particularly unpleasant place to build an astronomical observatory.

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If, in the remote future, we establish a base on Mercury, keeping track of time will be a challenge. Discuss how to define a year on Mercury, and the two ways to define a day. Can you come up with ways that humans raised on Earth might deal with time cycles on Mercury?

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The Moon has too little iron, Mercury too much. How can both of these anomalies be the result of giant impacts? Explain how the same process can yield such apparently contradictory results.

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Figuring for yourself

In the future, astronomers discover a solid moon around a planet orbiting one of the nearest stars. This moon has a diameter of 1948 km and a mass of 1.6 × 10 22 kg. What is its density?

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The Moon was once closer to Earth than it is now. When it was at half its present distance, how long was its period of revolution? (See Orbits and Gravity for the formula to use.)

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Astronomers believe that the deposit of lava in the giant mare basins did not happen in one flow but in many different eruptions spanning some time. Indeed, in any one mare, we find a variety of rock ages, typically spanning about 100 million years. The individual lava flows as seen in Hadley Rille by the Apollo 15 astronauts were about 4 m thick. Estimate the average time interval between the beginnings of successive lava flows if the total depth of the lava in the mare is 2 km.

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The Moon requires about 1 month (0.08 year) to orbit Earth. Its distance from us is about 400,000 km (0.0027 AU). Use Kepler’s third law, as modified by Newton, to calculate the mass of Earth relative to the Sun.

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Questions & Answers

why are the hyperlinks not working?
Gregory Reply
If the atmosphere blocks the view of Venus' surface, what am I seeing that looks like craters?
Michael Reply
clouds?
Michele
If the surface of Venus is shrouded by white clouds, making it impossible to see the surface, what looks like craters when view the planet?
Michael Reply
I don't Know! perhaps the mountains?
Michele
my question is if the surface of Venus is shining y not our earth
Tahir
when we look at venus we can't see any crater like things... check it once again
RIEM
and venus shines because of the clouds that are made up sulpher dioxide and sulphuric acid droplets. and the clouds are so dense. the case of earth is different
RIEM
also because of Venus's 70% albedo phenamenon
Shivam
and plus it reflects 70 percent of its light back into space earth don't shine because it's not a cloudy planet and its farther than the sun
americantuber
can I become an astronaut without taking mathematics as a subject in 11th class
UNIVERSAL Reply
If the surface of Venus is shrouded by white clouds, making it impossible to see the surface, what looks like craters? Are these atmospheric storms?
Michael
can a death of a massive star be the new big bang
Neeta Reply
No it might be a supernova. The big bang was much more massive.
Nick
It created the universe as we know it
Nick
the big bang is just a new beginning
Neeta
the death of a gigantic star makes it possible for a new begging
Neeta
Only in the local area of space
Nick
so many smaller universes are created and destroyed
Neeta
i think it created a supernova!
Michele
you still think? I am sure I created one supernova of my own
Neeta
I'm sure you did
Nick
neeta the death of a massive star could lead to an explosion that leads to a super nova and when the supernova explodes it becomes a nebula like messier 1
americantuber
a supernova remnant
americantuber
what is means by earthbound
Satyam Reply
you are earthbound, arnt we all earthbound? except the ISS etc.
Collins
I don't agree we may be earthbound because of our gross body/physical body...but there is also a subtle body which does not limit us to earthly existence
Neeta
good questions, as humans our habitat is earth, we are bound to this and have to alter ourselves to stay alive off land and outside the atmosphere, do you not agree? I'd guess you could also say the moon is earthbound. anything earthbound is restricted to earth. hope this helps, love your question
Collins
how do you describe astral projection
Neeta
Astral projection is spiritual. I'm assuming Satyam was talking about the physical world.
TheDirtyGhost
ah yes spiritually we are bound only to what we chose, like nothing, I like to think that way
Collins
anyone here also participating in seti@home?
dreamer
what is seti?
Mahesh
what has extraterrestrial entity got to do with this why @seti project..we are discussing human existence on earth and beyond earth
Neeta
please join me at the cosmic Diner where all your intergalactic dreams come true.
Alba
I was just thinking what if somebody ignorantly mistaken a cosmic microwave Background with a conventional microwave we be in a lot of trouble.
Alba
don't kno
dreamer
You mean the Restaurant at the end of the Universe...right we can come back and visit again but not sure of the mode of payment
Neeta
yeah I'm already heading there
dreamer
how to read stars
Amresh Reply
you don't
Max
astrology i guess
Uttam
astrologer is the study of star systems and constellations...but astronomy is the study of formation of universes multiverses birth and evolu of stars
Neeta
cool
Uttam
what is astronomy
babul Reply
study of formation evolution and the death of star star systems and galaxies
Neeta
astronomy is the study of universe
UNIVERSAL
astronomy and physics are basically the same except physics is the study of the motion and behavior of the universe
americantuber
What is 12 constellation of zodiac and why it is important to study astrology
MUHIBULLAH
And also what is main purpose of these 12 constellation of zodiac in astronomy
MUHIBULLAH
astronomy and astrology with two different things
Deja
it Is the study of universe and of life speaking generally! i think!
Michele
universe is born 13,7 miliardi of years with big Bang if i remember well! but there are also other theories for the universe, speaking generally! i remember so!
Michele
universe is actually about 13.7 billion years old
Nick
is astrology like astronomy
debjani Reply
Astrology is a lower dimension.. astronomy is much more vast and multidimensional
Neeta
yes.. astrology is about constellations only, and astronomy is about all stars, galaxies, gravity, dark matter, dark energy.. etc everything including astrology
Mahesh
can you become an astronaut without taking mathematics as a subject in 11th class
UNIVERSAL
I was reading the chapter on Cosmic Microwave Background. And, I can not seem to find it now. If anyone could help me find that portion of the Astronomy Textbook I would really appreciate it. AZ
Alba Reply
Where or which chapter discusses Cosmic Microwave Background?
Alba
29.4
Andrew
29 the big bang ch 29.4
Andrew
yes
pratham
interesting
Orlando
what's cold dark matter?
pratham Reply
How are Roche Worlds formed?
AlteredEdge Reply
In need to read some books about Astronomy so how can in get it actually leg live in Ethiopia can uh help me with that?
Mom Reply
I am sri Sharan .m .what is my best favourable numbers
Madhesh Reply
how can we know it
sruthi
😂😂
Rango
bahut hard
Rango
Why no object can travel with speed greater than light?
geometry Reply
Because the mass of light particles is zero
Asim
Can mass be negative?
geometry
No
Asim
anybody stated that the light is the only thing is speed
sruthi
geometry are you a korean or kpop fan
sruthi
in this universe anything can be faster than light because we simply can't get to an conclusion
sruthi
I am a an Army but lets not bring spam here.
geometry
But why mass can't be negative. What I mean is how can we claim an object made of strange matter has positive mass. In other words, theoretically can negative mass exist?
geometry
in our observable universe nothing is faster than the speed of light
Rango
Thanks
geometry
But theoretically, is it possible? Sorry I'm being very curious..
geometry
I don't know about dark matter but may be you should think about dark matter because dark matter are really strange
Rango
Exactly so theoretically, an dark matter lazer can be greater in speed. Also maybe quartz..
geometry
may be but i am not sure about quartz and btw techyons travel faster than light but techyons are hypothesized
Rango
there are many objects which are perceived to be faster than light
Ganeshan
The object have their own declination rate in speed,the air friction can develop higher temperature resulting the object to be disappear in molecules,not considering the Physical conditions in space.The object should be unaffected with the air friction and also speed should proportionate with fuel.
Near
the early universe expanded faster than the speed of light. Consider, at the speed of light in vacuum, time stops.
Robert
Does this mean something moving beyond the limit experiences negative time?
Robert
Under such conditions, would matter exist as wave-fronts?
Robert
When examining a cosmology it is possible to find quite unbelievable conditions. I like to imagine life at the tip of an asymptote, but to surpass it seems perilously remote.
Robert

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Source:  OpenStax, Astronomy. OpenStax CNX. Apr 12, 2017 Download for free at http://cnx.org/content/col11992/1.13
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