Burke, James D. Formerly, Spacecraft Systems Engineering, Jet Propulsion Laboratory, California Institute of Technology, Pasadena, California.
Last reviewed:August 2018
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- Body properties
- Large-scale surface features
- Small-scale surface features
- Lunar resources
- Links to Primary Literature
- Additional Readings
The Earth's natural satellite. The Moon is a solid body orbiting our planet and is by far the brightest object in the night sky (Fig. 1). Many nations including the United States, China, members of the European Space Agency, India, Japan and Russia have all sent spacecraft that have orbited or landed on the Moon. The Apollo missions undertaken by the American government in the late 1960s and early 1970s represent the only times humans have visited the Moon. The Apollo crews landed, walked and roved upon the lunar surface, bringing back 842 lb (382 kg) of Moon rocks for study on Earth. After a long hiatus, significant interest has resumed in humans returning to and perhaps eventually residing upon the Moon. See also: Astronautics; Lunar and planetary mining technology; Space probe
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