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Astrobiology and Lunar Geology online courses
Science teachers in Montana and beyond can explore the geology of the moon and the exciting new interdisciplinary field of astrobiology through a series of online courses offered by Montana State University this fall.

"Geology of the Moon" is offered in partnership with NASA's Chandrayaan-1/Moon Mineralogy Mapper (M3) mission. Offered for two graduate credits, it can be found on http://eu.montana.edu/nten as ERTH 580.

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Moon rocks still yielding secrets 40 years later
There are still many secrets waiting to be gleaned from moon rocks collected by Apollo 11 astronauts on their historic moonwalk 40 years ago.
Randy L Korotev, research professor in the department of earth and planetary sciences Washington University-St Louis (WUSTL), has studied lunar samples and their chemical compositions since he was an undergraduate at the University of Wisconsin.

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ASU scientist helped analyse first moon rocks
Carleton Moore was alone in the Arizona State University laboratory the night he placed the first material collected from the moon into a testing apparatus.

"I pushed the button and all of a sudden the dial began to move and I said 'whoopee, we've found something" - Carleton Moore , east Mesa resident and founding director of the university's Centre for Meteorite Studies.

But the nonmetallic element detected by the instrument Moore was using on Oct. 9, 1969 was not from carbon-rich meteorites that bombarded the moon's surface.

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In his book Collapse, Jared Diamond claims, "When NASA wanted to find some place on Earth resembling the surface of the Moon, so that our astronauts preparing for the first moon landing could practice in an environment similar to what they would encounter, NASA picked a formerly green area of Iceland that is now utterly barren."

This struck me as wrong. Growing up, I heard the slag fields around Sudbury, Ontario, helped get the lunar astronauts accustomed to the moon's desolation. I've heard similar things about islands in the Canadian arctic and deserts in the American southwest. I wonder if the real explanation is that the astronauts had to take geology lessons.

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Results from the Japanese space agency's SELENE mission to the Moon are revealing details about why the lopsided lump of rock orbiting Earth is so unbalanced.
The SELENE (Selenological and Engineering Explorer, or Kaguya) mission was launched in September 2007 to gather detailed geological information about the Moon. The results are published in Science.
Because the Moon has no atmosphere or weather to speak of, its geology has remained almost unchanged since it formed. So unpicking its structure could offer information about how the early Solar System - including Earth - developed. But the Moon has some unusual traits that have so far proved tricky to study: its gravity and the thickness of its crust vary from the near side that faces Earth to the far side.

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A tiny rock, carried back from the cold and lifeless moon by Apollo astronauts 36 years ago, has yielded strong evidence that in its early days our moon must have been fiercely hot, with a liquid iron core that spun like a dynamo to produce a magnetic field much like Earth's but very much weaker.
The work by researchers at Massachusetts Institute of Technology and UC Berkeley adds new insights into the violent cosmic drama that took place billions of years ago when Earth formed from clouds of dust and gas swirling around the sun, and the moon emerged in turn.
The new evidence also helps resolve long-standing puzzles about the moon's ancient history, its internal structure and the curious magnetism bound inside its modern rocks.
It also fits in with many current theories that around 4.5 billion years ago, an asteroid or huge meteorite as big as Mars could have crashed into the newly formed Earth and blasted great chunks of its crust into rubble that flew into space and coalesced under gravity to form what is now the moon.


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Without knowing the conditions of early Earth, researchers havent been able to answer some fundamental questions of earth science: when the Earths magnetic field originated, how the Earths relationship with the moon changes over time, and when oxygen first appeared in the atmosphere (and, incidentally, when life originated on Earth).
Recently, a team of researchers consisting of Minoru Ozima and Yayoi N. Miura from the University of Tokyo; Qing-Zhu Yin from the University of California, Davis; and Frank Podosek from Washington University in St. Louis, Missouri, have proposed a series of experiments that could answer these three mysteries, independent of other observations that sometimes give conflicting results. They hope that their proposal might serve as a useful guide for future investigation.

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