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What's on the other side of the moon?



If you look at the silver sphere of the moon, you may recognize familiar shadows and shapes on the front from night to night. You see the same view of the moon that our early ancestors lit up after the sunset.

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Only one side of the spherical moon is always visible from Earth until 1959, when the Soviet space probe Luna 3 circled the moon and sent pictures home that humans for the first time could see the "other side" of the moon.

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Comparison of the first glimpse of humanity on the far side of the moon and the same view thanks to LRO data 50 years later.
NASA's Goddard Space Flight Center, Scientific Visualization Studio, CC BY

A phenomenon known as tug-of-war is responsible for the consistent view. The earth and its moon are close to each other and thus exert considerable gravitational forces on each other. These tidal forces slow down the rotation of both bodies. They fixed the rotation of the Moon relative to its orbit relatively shortly after its formation – as the product of a collision between an object of Mars size and the Proto-Earth, 100 million years after the unification of the solar system.

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The orbital period and the orbital period of the moon are the same length.

Now the moon needs a orbit around the earth in the same time, which requires a rotation around its own axis: about 28 days. From Earth we always see the same face of the moon. from the moon the earth stands still in the sky.

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Buzz Aldrin descends from the lunar module to the lunar surface on July 20, 1969.
JSC / NASA, CC BY

The near side of the moon is well studied because we can see it. The astronauts landed on the near side of the moon to communicate with NASA here on Earth. All samples from the Apollo missions come from the near side.

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Although the other side of the moon is not visible from our vantage point and all that goes with it Pink Floyd is not true, the dark side of the moon to call. All sides of the moon experience day and night just as we do here on earth. All pages have the same amount of day and night over the course of a month. A lunar day lasts about two Earth weeks.

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Astronomers have fully mapped the lunar surface of modern satellites. A Chinese mission, Chang 4, is currently exploring the Aitken Basin on the other side of the Moon – the first such mission ever to land there. The researchers hope that Chang & # 39; e 4 will help answer questions about the surface features of the crater and test whether anything can grow in the lunar soil. Beresheet, a privately funded Israeli mission, began as a mission to fight for the Google Lunar X Prize. Despite a landing crash earlier this month, the Beresheet team still won the Moon Shot Award.

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Being shielded from civilization means the other side of the moon is "radio" dark. "There, researchers can measure weak signals from the universe that otherwise would have drowned. For example, Chang # 4 may observe low frequency radial light from the sun or beyond, which is undetectable here on Earth due to human activities such as TV and radio broadcasts and other forms of communication signals. The low-frequency radio looks back at the first stars and the first black holes and gives astronomers a better understanding of how the structures of the universe began to form.

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NASA / GSFC / Arizona State University, CC BY

Rover missions also examine all sides of the moon as space explorers prepare for future human missions, look at the resources of the moon to help mankind get to Mars. For example, water – discovered by NASA's LCROSS satellite under the north and south poles of the Moon in 2009 – can be decomposed into hydrogen and oxygen and used for fuel and respiration.

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Exploring the polar craters of the Moon, some of which have never seen daylight – literally. They are deep and just the place to never let the sun shine on the crater floor. There are certainly dark parts of the moon, but the whole other side is not one of them.  The Conversation

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Wayne Schlingman, Director of the Arne Slettebak Planetarium, The Ohio State University

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This article has been republished under a Creative Commons license from The Conversation. Read the original article.

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