Lunar features are the physical characteristics present on the moon, such as the craters, maria and highlands. The maria are the dark, flat plains on the moon whereas the highlands are raised areas on the surface of the moon. These features are the result of the moon being hit by space rocks, asteroids and comets.
The maria are the dark-colored areas of the moon and are mainly seen on the near side of the moon, the side of the moon that always faces Earth; the far side of the moon contains very few of these plains. Maria are smooth and don't contain many craters. They are known to be younger than the highlands because areas with a greater number of craters are older. The maria formed when objects impacted the moon, cracking its surface and allowing lava to ooze through the cracks, spreading across the terrain. Rocks taken from the maria were found to be about 3.8 million years old. The lunar maria were once believed to be seas filled with water, but scientists have since found that this is not the case.
The lunar highlands are the lighter parts of the moon. Rocks found in these regions are about 4.2 billion years old. The highlands are filled with craters, including some that formed within other craters. The moon's craters are mainly the result of bombardment from space debris during the time when the solar system was still being formed.Learn More
Most people know that the moon's gravitational influence has an effect on the tides on Earth, but some scientists also believe that the presence of the moon played an important role in making Earth habitable to begin with. The interplay between the Earth and the moon mirrors events that occurred throughout the early solar system, as a Mars-sized object may have hit the Earth, sending some of the mantle into orbit that soon cooled into the moon. Over time, the relationship between the Earth and the moon may well have assisted the advent of life.Full Answer >
Earth's sole natural satellite, the moon, has a circumference of 6,783.5 miles around its equator. Its surface area is 14,647,439.75 square miles, which is approximately 0.07 times that of the Earth.Full Answer >
The scientific consensus is that the Earth's moon formed four and half billion years ago. About 100 million years after the formation of the solar system, another small planet is likely to have collided with the Earth, resulting in the formation of the Moon.Full Answer >
No concrete evidence explains why there is a moon. The best hypothesis presented is the Giant Impactor hypothesis: It suggests that around 4.45 billion years ago, while the Earth was still forming, a large object hit the Earth at an angle.Full Answer >