The Earth’s Moon is probably one of the biggest and brightest celestial objects that our naked eye can see. The bright and round Moon itself could already capture everyone’s attention, but there is more to it than meets the eye. Our Moon consists of many things like mountains, craters, seas of lava, and other exciting objects. These are some of the fascinating objects that can be found on the Moon.
The Lunar Maria
The Lunar Maria are the plains that are located on the Moon. They are massive, dark, and are made up of basalt. According to astronomers, these plains were formed because of a volcanic eruption in the Moon that happened 3 billion years ago. The term “maria” is Latin for “seas.” Before, astronomers thought that The Lunar Maria was a sea on the Moon.
Montes Apenninus is a mountain range located in the North of the Moon’s near side. It is the highest mountain range found in the Earth’s Moon, with the highest peak of 17,700 ft. this mountain range was believed to be formed about 3.9 billion years ago. The Montes Apenninus contains the highest mountain on the Earth’s Moon, the Mons Huygens, and the site wherein Apollo 15 mission landed the Apennine valley.
Sea of Tranquility
The Sea of Tranquility is one of the lunar mares that is found on the Moon. It is also known as the Mare Tranquillitatis, the region wherein Apollo 11 landed. According to the astronomers, this was the landing site of Apollo 11 because it has a smooth and level surface that is ideal to be a landing area. Although they are called the “seas,” they are only plains made up of solidified lava from a volcano eruption long ago. Unlike any other mares in the Lunar Maria, this Sea of Tranquility has no gravitational anomaly or (mascon).
The Mare Imbrium, also called the “Sea of Showers,” is also a Lunar Maria. It is a vast and round lava plain, 1145 km in diameter, and it also belongs in the largest craters found in our Solar System. According to some astronomers, the Sea of Showers is one of the Moon’s impact scars that may have originated from the Moon’s collision with one of the proto-planets in the asteroid belt billions of years ago.
Mare Crisium, also called the Sea of Crises, is found on the northeast side of Mare Tranquillitatis. Unlike other mares that are joined together, the Mare Crisium is isolated from the other seas. This sea has a diameter of 556 km and has a flat surface surrounded by wrinkle ridges on its outside edges.
Tycho crater is an impact crater with a diameter of about 86 km and a depth of over 4.8 km. This bright crater is visible on the Earth’s Moon’s surface, found in the southern lunar highlands. According to some findings, this crater is relatively young, with an age of 108 million years. The distinct characteristic of this crater that makes it stand out is its extraordinary bright rays. Newly formed craters have these bright rays, but they eventually fade out as they age and are exposed to space.
South Pole Aitken Basin
South Pole Aitken basin is the largest and probably the oldest impact crater found on the Earth’s Moon’s far hemisphere. It has a diameter of about 2,500 km and a depth of 6.2 to 8.2 km. Although it is the largest crater on the Moon, it is not visible to us here on Earth because it is located on the Moon’s far side. Due to this crater’s enormous impact, the crust in this moon area is believed to be thinner than the Moon’s typical crust.
Vallis Alpes is one of the valleys located on the Earth’s Moon. It was discovered by an Italian scientist named Francesco Bianchini in the year 1727. This valley has a length of about 166 km. The floor of the Vallis Alpes is a flat and narrow surface that is flooded by lava. According to researchers, this valley might have formed because of the contraction in the Moon’s mantle.
Mons Agnes is one of the mountains or can also be considered as a hill on the Moon. It is located on the floor of the small crater of the Moon, named Ina. It extends for at least 650 km, making it the smallest of all the mountains on the Moon. According to Apollo 15, its height is about 30 meters only.
Data taken in 2009 from the Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter (LRO) led to finding frozen water on the Moon. The Lyman Alpha Mapping Project (LAMP), a recent modification to the orbiter, has allowed scientists to get a closer look at the water on the Moon’s surface. According to LAMP, water molecules migrate about the Moon as its surface warms and cools across the day.
Until lunar midday, when part of the water evaporates and heats up enough to rise into the Moon’s thin atmosphere, water remains stranded on the Moon’s surface. The water hovers around for a while until it finds a cool enough spot to settle back to the surface.
Water on other planets could be a valuable resource for human explorers, not just as a supply of drinking water but also as a source of fuel for eventual robotic exploration. Water can be divided to make rocket fuel, freeing missions from transporting that fuel from Earth.
Heavy Metal in the Mantle
Researchers have discovered a massive “anomaly” of heavy metal buried in the Moon’s mantle deep under the South Pole-Aitken basin (the largest intact impact crater in the solar system), which appears to be affecting the Moon’s gravitational field.
Based on research published in the journal Geophysical Research Letters on April 5, the enigmatic blob weighs roughly in the vicinity of 2.4 quadrillion tons (2.18 quintillion kilograms). The researchers are baffled as to how this massive blob of metal became stuck beneath the lunar surface.
Simulations suggest it could be the hefty leftovers of the iron-nickel asteroid that collided with the far side of the Moon 4 billion years ago, creating the massive South Pole-Aitken crater.