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TOPIC: The Moon


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The moon is our only natural satellite and has been known since creatures with intelligence first looked to the sky. It was called Luna by the Romans and the Ancient Greeks referred to it as Selene and Artemis. It lit the night by reflecting the sun's rays and provided a means for keeping time and the seasons.
Since the moon was first visited by a Soviet space probe, Luna 2, in 1959, the moon has been the subject of a great deal of attention, culminating in the manned visits between July 1969 and December 1974.
Looking at the moon, it is clear there are different kinds of terrain on the surface. Large areas of darker material contrasts with the main lighter colour of the moon.

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The International Astronomical Union (IAU) has approved new names for three craters in the lunar polar regions: Braude, named after an Ukranian radio astronomer, is a 10.5-km diameter crater at location latitude -81.83, longitude 157.8, in the southern polar region; Hinshelwood, named after Nobel Prize winner Sir Cyril Hinshelwood, is a 14.2-km diameter crater at location latitude 89.36, longitude -46.37, in the northern polar region; and Whipple, named after astronomer Fred Whipple; is a 15.7-km diameter crater at location latitude 89.12, longitude 118.24, in the northern polar region.

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A study group led by Hiroshi Araki, an assistant professor at the National Astronomical Observatory of Japan, has made the world's first complete topographic map of the moon.
The topographic map was made from observation data collected by Kaguya, a lunar probe launched by the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency.

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A new detailed map of the Moon released Thursday shows the Earth's satellite holds very little water and reveals never-before seen craters at the poles, an international research team said.

"The surface can tell us a lot about what's happening inside the Moon, but until now mapping has been very limited. For instance, with this new high-resolution map, we can confirm that there is very little water on the Moon today, even deep in the interior. And we can use that information to think about water on other planets, including Mars" - C.K Shum, professor of Earth sciences at Ohio State University.

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Planetary scientist Jennifer Heldmann describes how the Moon has stabilised conditions on Earth.
By understanding the history of the early solar system, Dr. Heldmann believes we can understand the conditions which gave rise to life on Earth.

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Why are the sun and moon the same size in the sky?
It is all thanks to a striking coincidence. The sun is about 400 times as wide as the moon, but it is also 400 times further away. The two therefore look the same size in the sky - a unique situation among our solar system's eight planets and 166 known moons. Earth is also the only planet to harbour life. Pure coincidence?
Almost undoubtedly, say most astronomers.

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The European C1XS X-ray camera on board Indias Chandrayaan-1 lunar orbiter has detected the presence of magnesium, aluminium and silicon on the Moon during a small solar flare - one of the first of the new solar cycle.
C1XS recorded the X-ray signal from a region near the Apollo landing sites on 12 December 2008 at 03:36 CET. The detection is a key step in mapping the mineralogical composition of the Moons surface in order to study its origin and evolution.


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A speck of the mineral zircon that's older than any yet found on Earth has been recovered from a rock sample brought back by Apollo 17 astronauts. The grain has helped pinpoint the age at which the molten moon solidified.
Lunar zircons were not studied at the time of the Apollo missions because the technology to date them did not exist, says geologist Clive Neal of the University of Notre Dame, Indiana.


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Nineteen new crater names have been approved by the IAU for craters in the north and south polar regions of the Moon.
The names are; Aepinus, Bosch, Erlanger, Fibiger, Florey, Gore, Grignard, Haber, Hevesy, Haskin, Houssay, Ibn Bajja, Kocher, Kuhn, Laveran, Nefed'ev, Svedberg, von Baeyer, and Wapowski.

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