Why is it that in 45 years we haven’t gone back to the Moon?

Featured image

The first time man set foot on the moon’s surface was on July 20, 1969. The last time was December 11, 1972, when NASA decided that Apollo 17 would be the end of the Apollo project.

Why is it that in 45 years we haven’t gone back to the moon? There are several reasons why the focus of the Space Race changed over the following four decades.

Why we put men on the moon is well documented. In the years following WWII and during the Cold War, the U.S. and the Soviet Union were in a massive military arms race, with significant gains on both sides.

The competition culminated with the development of missiles that could be fired at targets halfway around the world, according to Gizmodo.

At that point, still struggling for the advantage, both countries set their sights first on Low Earth Orbit, and then the moon, which was the literal high ground.

As this unfolded, both countries began to experiment with manned space flight.

The Soviets successfully put Yuri Gagarin into space in 1961, just a few months after launching their first satellite.

The U.S. was closely following, and as tensions between the two nations increased, their space programs became more and more urgent – status symbols representing military might.

However, by 1966, when the space race peaked, NASA’s budget was just under 4.5 percent of the entire federal budget.

According to Death by Cosmos, in today’s dollars, NASA’s budget in 1966 would be about $182 billion. The U.S. had made huge steps in their space program, but at an astronomical economic price.

By comparison, the relative cost for the space shuttle project was only about ¾ percent of the Federal budget in 1982, and around the year 2000, the costs for the International Space Station was an even smaller percentage.

By the time of the Apollo moon landing in 1969, political and economic support for the Apollo project was already starting to wane.

As the American public began to become more fiscally wary in the face of the 1973 oil crisis, priorities began to shift. Space exploration could still be done but it needed to happen in a more financially responsible way.

NASA was limited to research and scientific missions, and became involved in the Skylab and Space Shuttle programs. As the development of the space shuttles continued, NASA stopped making the massive Saturn V rockets that were needed to break free of Earth’s gravity, and the unused rockets that were left became museum displays.

NASA Apollo moon landings conspiracies

The physical and technological infrastructure that was required for making more moon landings disappeared. However, the Space Shuttle Program was not without its problems, either.

Conceived as being a reusable ship — and therefore much less expensive than the needs of the Apollo program — by the time all the necessary capabilities were built in, the shuttles became much more complicated to refurbish, as well as more costly.

After the shuttle Challenger exploded in 1986, killing all of its crew, the shuttle program went on a two-and-a-half year launch hiatus. When NASA resumed shuttle flights their missions were backlogged and they were much more cautious.

In the 1990s the USSR dissolved, the Cold War ended, and suddenly NASA had a space shuttle with not much to do.

With the USSR gone, the new Russian Federal Space Agency found itself with a much smaller budget and an almost obsolete space station, and was still using the Soyuz spacecraft from the ‘60s.

NASA had always wanted a space station, but the shuttle program was so expensive that they couldn’t afford it. After the Cold War was over, the U.S. had the idea of teaming up with Russia and forming partnerships with other countries, to build an international space station and split the costs. The space shuttle could be used to create the station, and the Soyuz would be used to haul crew and cargo.

The rotating crew of international astronauts could help maintain further good relations between the countries. The first crew went to the ISS in 2000, and there are plans to keep using the station until at least 2024.

Since the urgency that pushed the race to the moon ended, we’ve been drifting a little, concerning the direction, and more limited by practical concerns of cost and technology.

In recent years, though, space exploration has started to become more of a priority again. NASA is preparing to launch the Orion capsule, which will go beyond Earth orbit to the moon, and possibly Mars.

Companies like SpaceX are making huge strides in creating technologies that are more cost effective. Maybe our wait to go back to the moon is nearly over.


What Made the Moon? New Ideas Try to Rescue a Troubled Theory

Textbooks say that the moon was formed after a Mars-size mass smashed the young Earth. But new evidence has cast doubt on that story, leaving researchers to dream up new ways to get a giant rock into orbit.

An artist’s impression of a synestia, a hypothetical object made of vaporized rock that might have birthed the moon.

An artist’s impression of a synestia, a hypothetical object made of vaporized rock that might have birthed the moon.

On Dec. 13, 1972, Apollo 17 astronaut Harrison Schmitt walked up to a boulder in the moon’s Sea of Serenity. “This boulder’s got its own little track, right up the hill,” he called to his commander, Eugene Cernan, pointing out the mark the boulder left when it rolled down a mountainside. Cernan bounded over to collect some samples.

“Think how it would have been if you were standing there before that boulder came by,” Cernan mused.

“I’d rather not think about it,” Schmitt said.

The astronauts chiseled bits of the moon from the boulder. Then, using a rake, Schmitt scraped the powdery surface, lifting a rock later named troctolite 76536 off the regolith and into history.

That rock, and its boulder brethren, would go on to tell a story of how the entire moon came to be. In this creation tale, inscribed in countless textbooks and science-museum exhibits over the past four decades, the moon was forged in a calamitous collision between an embryonic Earth and a rocky world the size of Mars. This other world was named Theia, for the Greek goddess who gave birth to Selene, the moon. Theia clobbered Earth so hard and so fast that the worlds both melted. Eventually, leftover debris from Theia cooled and solidified into the silvery companion we have today.

Harrison Schmitt, the first scientist to become an astronaut, collects lunar specimens during the Apollo 17 mission.

Harrison Schmitt, the first scientist to become an astronaut, collects lunar specimens during the Apollo 17 mission.

But modern measurements of troctolite 76536, and other rocks from the moon and Mars, have cast doubt on this story. In the past five years, a bombardment of studies has exposed a problem: The canonical giant impact hypothesis rests on assumptions that do not match the evidence. If Theia hit Earth and later formed the moon, the moon should be made of Theia-type material. But the moon does not look like Theia — or like Mars, for that matter. Down to its atoms, it looks almost exactly like Earth.

Confronted with this discrepancy, lunar researchers have sought new ideas for understanding how the moon came to be. The most obvious solution may also be the simplest, though it creates other challenges with understanding the early solar system: Perhaps Theia did form the moon, but Theia was made of material that was almost identical to Earth. The second possibility is that the impact process thoroughly mixed everything, homogenizing disparate clumps and liquids the way pancake batter comes together. This could have taken place in an extraordinarily high-energy impact, or a series of impacts that produced a series of moons that later combined. The third explanation challenges what we know about planets. It’s possible that the Earth and moon we have today underwent strange metamorphoses and wild orbital dances that dramatically changed their rotations and their futures.


Bad News for Theia

To understand what may have happened on Earth’s most momentous day, it helps to understand the solar system’s youth. Four and a half billion years ago, the sun was surrounded by a hot, doughnut-shaped cloud of debris. Star-forged elements swirled around our newborn sun, cooling and, after eons, combining — in a process we don’t fully understand — into clumps, then planetesimals, then increasingly larger planets. These rocky bodies violently, frequently collided and vaporized one another anew. It was in this unspeakably brutal, billiard-ball hellscape that the Earth and the moon were forged.

To get to the moon we have now, with its size, spin and the rate at which it is receding from Earth, our best computer models say that whatever collided with Earth must have been the size of Mars. Anything bigger or much smaller would produce a system with a much greater angular momentum than we see. A bigger projectile would also throw too much iron into Earth’s orbit, creating a more iron-rich moon than the one we have today.

Early geochemical studies of troctolite 76536 and other rocks bolstered this story. They showed that lunar rocks would have originated in a lunar magma ocean, the likes of which could only be generated by a giant impact. The troctolite would have bobbed in a molten sea like an iceberg floating off Antarctica. On the basis of these physical constraints, scientists have argued that the moon was made from the remnants of Theia. But there is a problem.

Back to the early solar system. As rocky worlds collided and vaporized, their contents mixed, eventually settling into distinct regions. Closer to the sun, where it was hotter, lighter elements would be likelier to heat up and escape, leaving an excess of heavy isotopes (variants of elements with additional neutrons). Farther from the sun, rocks were able to keep more of their water, and lighter isotopes persisted. Because of this, a scientist can examine an object’s isotopic mix to identify where in the solar system it came from, like accented speech giving away a person’s homeland.

These differences are so pronounced that they’re used to classify planets and meteorite types. Mars is so chemically distinct from Earth, for instance, that its meteorites can be identified simply by measuring ratios of three different oxygen isotopes.

In 2001, using advanced mass spectrometry techniques, Swiss researchers remeasured troctolite 76536 and 30 other lunar samples. They found that its oxygen isotopes were indistinguishable from those on Earth. Geochemists have since studied titanium, tungsten, chromium, rubidium, potassium and other obscure metals from Earth and the moon, and everything looks pretty much the same.

This is bad news for Theia. If Mars is so obviously different from Earth, Theia — and thus, the moon — ought to be different, too. If they’re the same, that means the moon must have formed from melted bits of Earth. The Apollo rocks are then in direct conflict with what the physics insist must be true.

“The canonical model is in serious crisis,” said Sarah Stewart, a planetary scientist at the University of California, Davis. “It has not been killed yet, but its current status is that it doesn’t work.”

Sarah Stewart, a planetary scientist at the University of California, Davis, along with her student Simon Lock at Harvard University.

Sarah Stewart, a planetary scientist at the University of California, Davis, along with her student Simon Lock at Harvard University.

UC Davis

A Moon Out of Vapor

Stewart has been trying to reconcile the physical constraints of the problem — the need for an impactor of a certain size, going a certain speed — with the new geochemical evidence. In 2012, she and Matija Ćuk, now at the SETI Institute, proposed a new physical model for the moon’s formation. They argued that the early Earth was a whirling dervish, rotating through one day every two to three hours, when Theia collided with it. The collision would produce a disk around the Earth, much like the rings of Saturn — but it would only persist for about 24 hours. Ultimately, this disk would cool and solidify to form the moon.

Supercomputers are not powerful enough to model this process completely, but they showed that a projectile slamming into such a fast-spinning world could shear away enough of Earth, obliterate enough of Theia and scramble enough of both to build a moon and Earth with similar isotopic ratios. Think of smacking a wet lump of clay on a fast-spinning potter’s wheel.

For the fast-spinning-Earth explanation to be right, however, something else would have to come along to slow down Earth’s rotation rate to what it is now. In their 2012 work, Stewart and Ćuk argued that under certain orbital-resonance interactions, Earth could have transferred angular momentum to the sun. Later, Jack Wisdom of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology suggested several alternate scenarios for draining angular momentum away from the Earth-moon system.

But none of the explanations was entirely satisfactory. The 2012 models still couldn’t explain the moon’s orbit or the moon’s chemistry, Stewart said. Then last year, Simon Lock, a graduate student at Harvard University and Stewart’s student at the time, came up with an updated model that proposes a previously unrecognized planetary structure.

In this story, every bit of Earth and Theia vaporized and formed a bloated, swollen cloud shaped like a thick bagel. The cloud spun so quickly that it reached a point called the co-rotation limit. At that outer edge of the cloud, vaporized rock circled so fast that the cloud took on a new structure, with a fat disk circling an inner region. Crucially, the disk was not separated from the central region the way Saturn’s rings are — nor the way previous models of giant-impact moon formation were, either.

A synestia would be made of a bagel-like mass of vaporized rock surrounding a rocky planet.

A synestia would be made of a bagel-like mass of vaporized rock surrounding a rocky planet.

Simon Lock and Sarah Stewart

Conditions in this structure are indescribably hellish; there is no surface, but instead clouds of molten rock, with every region of the cloud forming molten-rock raindrops. The moon grew inside this vapor, Lock said, before the vapor eventually cooled and left in its wake the Earth-moon system.

Given the structure’s unusual characteristics, Lock and Stewart thought it deserved a new name. They tried several versions before coining synestia, which uses the Greek prefix syn-, meaning together, and the goddess Hestia, who represents the home, hearth and architecture. The word means “connected structure,” Stewart said.

“These bodies aren’t what you think they are. They don’t look like what you thought they did,” she said.

In May, Lock and Stewart published a paper on the physics of synestias; their paper arguing for a synestia lunar origin is still in review. They presented the work at planetary science conferences in the winter and spring and say their fellow researchers were intrigued but hardly sold on the idea. That may be because synestias are still just an idea; unlike ringed planets, which are common in our solar system, and protoplanetary disks, which are common across the universe, no one has ever seen one.

“But this is certainly an interesting pathway that could explain the features of our moon and get us over this hump that we’re in, where we have this model that doesn’t seem to work,” Lock said.

Let a Dozen Moons Bloom

Among natural satellites in the solar system, Earth’s moon may be most striking for its solitude. Mercury and Venus lack natural satellites, in part because of their nearness to the sun, whose gravitational interactions would make their moons’ orbits unstable. Mars has tiny Phobos and Deimos, which some argue are captured asteroids and others argue formed from Martian impacts. And the gas giants are chockablock with moons, some rocky, some watery, some both.

In contrast to these moons, Earth’s satellite also stands out for its size and the physical burden it carries. The moon is about 1 percent the mass of Earth, while the combined mass of the outer planets’ satellites is less than one-tenth of 1 percent of their parents. Even more important, the moon contains 80 percent of the angular momentum of the Earth-moon system. That is to say, the moon is responsible for 80 percent of the motion of the system as a whole. For the outer planets, this value is less than 1 percent.

The moon may not have carried all this weight the whole time, however. The face of the moon bears witness to its lifelong bombardment; why should we assume that just one rock was responsible for carving it out of Earth? It’s possible that multiple impacts made the moon, said Raluca Rufu, a planetary scientist at the Weizmann Institute of Science in Rehovot, Israel.

In a paper published last winter, she argued that Earth’s moon is not the original moon. It is instead a compendium of creation by a thousand cuts — or at the very least, a dozen, according to her simulations. Projectiles coming in from multiple angles and at multiple speeds would hit Earth and form disks, which coalesce into “moonlets,” essentially crumbs that are smaller than Earth’s current moon. Interactions between moonlets of different ages cause them to merge, eventually forming the moon we know today.

Planetary scientists were receptive when her paper was published last year; Robin Canup, a lunar scientist at the Southwest Research Institute and a dean of moon-formation theories, said it was worth considering. More testing remains, however. Rufu is not sure whether the moonlets would have been locked in their orbital positions, similar to how Earth’s moon constantly faces the same direction; if so, she is not sure how they could have merged. “That’s what we are trying to figure out next,” Rufu said.

Meanwhile, others have turned to another explanation for the similarity of Earth and the moon, one that might have a very simple answer. From synestias to moonlets, new physical models — and new physics — may be moot. It’s possible that the moon looks just like Earth because Theia did, too.

Oded Aharonson, a planetary scientist at the Weizmann Institute of Technology, along with his doctoral student Raluca Rufu (left). The pair devised a computer simulation that shows two moonlets coming together to form a larger body (right).

Oded Aharonson, a planetary scientist at the Weizmann Institute of Technology, along with his doctoral student Raluca Rufu (left). The pair devised a computer simulation that shows two moonlets coming together to form a larger body (right).

Oded Aharonson, a planetary scientist at the Weizmann Institute of Technology, along with his doctoral student Raluca Rufu (left). The pair devised a computer simulation that shows two moonlets coming together to form a larger body (right).

Weizmann Institute of Technology (portraits); Courtesy of Raluca Rufu and Oded Aharonson (animation)

All the Same Stuff

The moon is not the only Earth-like thing in the solar system. Rocks like troctolite 76536 share an oxygen isotope ratio with Earth rocks as well as a group of asteroids called enstatite chondrites. These asteroids’ oxygen isotope composition is very similar to Earth’s, said Myriam Telus, a cosmochemist who studies meteorites at the Carnegie Institution in Washington, D.C. “One of the arguments is that they formed in hotter regions of the disk, which would be closer to the sun,” she said. They probably formed near where Earth did.

Some of these rocks came together to form Earth; others would have combined to form Theia. The enstatite chondrites are the detritus, remnant rocks that never combined and grew large enough to form mantles, cores and fully fledged planets.

In January, Nicolas Dauphas, a geophysicist at the University of Chicago, argued that a majority of the rocks that became Earth were enstatite-type meteorites. He argued that anything formed in the same region would be made from them, too. Planet-building was taking place using the same premixed materials that we now find in both the moon and Earth; they look the same because they are the same. “The giant impactor that formed the moon probably had an isotopic composition similar to that of the Earth,” Dauphas wrote.

David Stevenson, a planetary scientist at the California Institute of Technology who has studied lunar origins since the Theia hypothesis was first presented in 1974, said he considers this paper the most important contribution to the debate in the past year, saying it addresses an issue geochemists have grappled with for decades.

“He has put together a story which is quantitative; it’s a clever story, about how to look at the various elements that go into the Earth,” Stevenson said. “From that, he can back out a story of the particular sequence of Earth’s formation, and in that sequence, the enstatite chondrites play an important role.”

Not everyone is convinced, however. There are still questions about the isotopic ratio of elements like tungsten, Stewart points out. Tungsten-182 is a daughter of hafnium-182, so the ratio of tungsten to hafnium acts as a clock, setting the age of a particular rock. If one rock has more tungsten-182 than another, you can safely say the tungsten-filled rock formed earlier. But the most precise measurements available show that Earth’s and moon’s tungsten-halfnium ratios are the same. “It would take special coincidences for the two bodies to end up with matching compositions,” Dauphas concedes.

Nicolas Dauphas, a geophysicist at the University of Chicago, holds a piece of an enstatite chondrite, a type of asteroid that could be made of the same material that formed Earth (right).

Nicolas Dauphas, a geophysicist at the University of Chicago, holds a piece of an enstatite chondrite, a type of asteroid that could be made of the same material that formed Earth (right).

Nicolas Dauphas, a geophysicist at the University of Chicago, holds a piece of an enstatite chondrite, a type of asteroid that could be made of the same material that formed Earth (right).

Jean Lachat/ University of Chicago (Dauphas portrait); Nicolas Dauphas (enstatite chondrite)

Clues on Other Worlds

Understanding the moon — our constant companion, our silvery sister, target of dreamers and explorers since time immemorial — is a worthy cause on its own. But its origin story, and the story of rocks like troctolite 76536, may be just one chapter in a much bigger epic.

“I see it as a window into a more general question: What happened when terrestrial planets formed?” Stevenson said. “Everybody is coming up short at present.”

Understanding synestias might help answer that; Lock and Stewart argue that synestias would have formed apace in the early solar system as protoplanets whacked into each other and melted. Many rocky bodies might have started out as puffy vapor halos, so figuring out how synestias evolve could help scientists figure out how the moon and other terrestrial worlds evolved.

More samples from the moon and Earth would help, too, especially from each mantle, because geochemists would have more data to sift through. They would be able to tell whether oxygen stored deep within Earth is the same throughout, or if three common oxygen isotopes preferentially hang out in different areas.

“When we say that Earth and the moon are very close to being identical in the three oxygen isotopes, we are making an assumption that we actually know what the Earth is, and we actually know what the moon is,” Stevenson points out.

Video: This virtual-reality tour shows how the sun, Earth and the other planets came to be.

Video: This virtual-reality tour shows how the sun, Earth and the other planets came to be.


New tweaks to solar system origin theories, which are often based on complex computer simulations, are also illuminating where planets were born and where they migrated. Scientists increasingly suggest we can’t count on Mars to tell this story, because it may have formed in a different area of the solar system than Earth, the enstatites and Theia. Stevenson said Mars should no longer be used as a barometer for rocky planets.

Ultimately, lunar scientists agree that the best answers may be found on Venus, the planet most like Earth. It may have had a moon in its youth, and lost it; it may be very similar to Earth, or not. “If we can get a lump of rock from Venus, we can answer this question [of the moon’s origins] very simply. But sadly, that is not on anyone’s priority list right now,” Lock said.

Absent samples from Venus, and without laboratories that can test the unfathomable pressures and temperatures at the heart of giant impacts, lunar scientists will have to keep devising new models — and revising the moon’s origin story.

The Moon Is Seriously Loaded With Water, More Than We Ever Expected

There’s way more water locked inside the Moon than we previously thought, according to a new analysis of satellite data.

This unexpected finding about our planet’s grey companion is giving scientists new insights into how the Moon formed and what its internal structure is like. And it has potentially huge implications for any of our future lunar missions.

For a long time we thought the Moon was totally bone dry. On the surface it’s a super-dusty environment with no substantial atmosphere, temperature extremes, and not enough gravity to help retain water molecules.

But recent studies have uncovered several types of lunar water. In 2009, NASA deliberately crashed its LCROSS probe into the Moon’s south pole, discovering loads of water ice in the debris that shot up from the impact.

These ice deposits were thought to be billions of years old, trapped in the permanently shadowy and extremely cold crevasses of the lunar poles. But this water wasn’t always there.

Researchers thought it was likely produced through external forces, such as solar winds sweeping across the surface and providing the right chemical reactions. In fact, there’s a background level of extremely minuscule amounts of this kind of trapped water across the Moon’s surface.

Astronauts from several Apollo missions also brought back geological samples from various parts of the Moon’s surface, and in 2008 these samples were re-analysed to reveal trace water locked up in tiny glass beads.

Those glass beads were found in pyroclastic deposits – rock deposits of volcanic origin from some 100 million years ago when the Moon was still a highly geologically active ball with a bubbling core and surface volcanoes.

Such water, locked up in the Moon’s own geology, is considered to be of local origin or ‘indigenous’, meaning it could have stuck around ever since the Moon was still a chunk of matter violently torn off our young Earth.

But scientists couldn’t tell whether these beads actually indicated a ‘wet’ layer right underneath the Moon’s dusty crust, in the lunar mantle.

“The key question is whether those Apollo samples represent the bulk conditions of the lunar interior or instead represent unusual or perhaps anomalous water-rich regions within an otherwise ‘dry’ mantle,” says Ralph Milliken from Brown University, lead researcher of the latest study.

To answer that key question, Milliken and his team turned to orbital data from India’s Chandrayaan-1 lunar orbiter, which carried aboard the handy Moon Mineralogy Mapper.

Using orbital data from previously mapped large pyroclastic deposits on the Moon’s surface, laboratory analysis of Apollo mission samples, and a detailed model of lunar surface temperature data, the researchers found water-rich volcanic deposits all over the place.

“They’re spread across the surface, which tells us that the water found in the Apollo samples isn’t a one-off,” says Milliken.

Some of these volcanic deposits stretch for thousands of square kilometres, and the team’s data shows that there is four times more water in these than the measurable background level we mentioned above.

“[T]hese deposits are the result of magma that originally comes from deep within the lunar interior,” Milliken told Samantha Mathewson at Space.com.

So did all that water once hitch a ride from Earth or was it dumped there by comets? Unfortunately, the new findings only tell us it’s there – but it’s a step towards finding out more about the Moon’s history.

“Whether it is from the Earth or from impact delivery … we are not ready to answer that question,” one of the team, Shuai Li from Brown University, told The Guardian.

But however it got there, scientists do think all that water could one day become a valuable resource.

“The nearly ubiquitous presence of water in large and small lunar pyroclastic deposits adds to the growing evidence that the lunar mantle is an important reservoir of water,” the team writes in the study.

And if that’s the case, our future Moon colonists might well be able to extract usable water from many of these large volcanic deposits, making their off-Earth home just a little bit more habitable.

Soure: Nature Geoscience.

Is it Really Possible to Create a Livable Atmosphere Up on the Moon?

As more plans are put in place in preparation for the colonization of Mars, it leads us to think what other planets or satellites we could conquer. Another place in our solar system that’s always captured the fascination of many is the moon. But, is it really possible to create a livable atmosphere on the moon just as here on Earth?

For quite some time, scientists thought the moon had no atmosphere, but they have since been proved wrong. It’s not an atmosphere like the one we experience here on Earth. On the moon, the atmosphere is thin (called an exosphere) and is a lot less dense than ours. But, does that mean that it can’t be done?

Pretty much, I’m afraid. Although I am a big believer that anything is possible, it would be rather difficult to make this one happen. In order to maintain a decent, livable atmosphere, there needs to be enough gravity in place, to begin with, to keep everything in its place. And, there also needs to be some force field in place to ward off the solar winds. Unfortunately, the moon doesn’t have either of these.

It may be possible to create a livable atmosphere on the moon, but due to the unstable conditions up there, it’s unlikely to stay that way for long. However, volatile ingredients would be needed in large quantities that could only be found at the edge of the solar system in the form of comets, so this could prove quite tricky to use. So, for now, at least, it looks like scientists and others will have to stick to Mars as the next place to colonize.

Watch the video. URL:https://youtu.be/ksvlHp–TgA

Moon formed from merger of 20 little ‘moonlets’, new theory suggests

A new theory about the Moon's origins has been suggested

A new theory about the Moon’s origins has been suggested

The Moon may have formed through the merging of 20 smaller ‘moonlets’ following asteroid strikes on the young Earth, a new theory suggests.

The formation of the Moon has always remained something of a puzzle for scientists.

The main theory, which has held sway since the 1970s,  is known as the ‘Giant Impact’ theory and suggests that a Mars-sized object named Theia smashed into Earth around 4.31 billion years ago, knocking a huge cloud of debris into space which eventually coalesced to form the Moon.

But there are problems with this scenario. Chemical analyses of Moon rock brought back by astronauts shows it is nearly identical to that of the Earth.

In other words, there is no trace of the large body that supposedly hit Earth.

Now researchers in Israel have offered a solution. They suggest that if the Earth had been bombarded by a number of smaller asteroid strikes it could have allowed smaller ‘moonlets’ to form from Earth’s debris which merged over time.

It means that the Moon we see every night is not Earth’s first moon, but rather the last in a series of moons that orbited the Earth in the past

“Our model suggests that the ancient Earth once hosted a series of moons, each one formed from a different collision with the proto-Earth,” said co-author Dr Hagai Perets of the Technion (Israel Institute of Technology)

“It’s likely that such moonlets were later ejected, or collided with the Earth or with each other to form bigger moons.

“We believe the Earth had many previous moons, a previously formed moon could therefore already exist when another moon-forming giant impact occurred.”

To check the conditions for the formation of such mini-moons or moonlets the researchers ran 800 simulations of impacts with the Earth.

 The collisions – which could have been with different sized space rocks – would have sent clouds of rubble, melt and vapor into orbit around the early Earth.

These, according the simulations the scientists created, would have cooled and agglomerated into small moonlets that, in time, could have merged into one.

Small, high-velocity collisions could also mine more material from Earth than a single, large one, the scientists claim, accounting for why there is no evidence of the strike asteroids.

And if a number of different bodies collided with Earth over a period of millions of years, their different chemical signatures – for example, ratios of oxygen-16 to its heavier cousins, oxygen-17 and -18 – might even out, masking the traces of the various collisions.


The tidal forces from the Earth could have caused the moonlets to slowly migrate outwards in the same way that the current Moon is moving at a pace of about 1 cm a year.

A pre-existing moon would slowly move out by the time another moon forms. However, their mutual gravitational attraction would eventually cause the moons to affect each other, and change their orbits.

Dr Gareth Collins of the Department of Earth Science & Engineering at Imperial College said: “The paper shows  they show how a Moon that is formed largely out of Earth-derived material may be a more natural consequence of building the Moon from a number of moonlets, formed by a series of large impacts, rather than in one go.

“Since it was proposed in the mid-1970s, the giant-impact hypothesis has become the favoured explanation for how the Moon was born.

“The team has revived the hitherto largely discarded scenario that a series of smaller and more common impacts, rather than a single giant punch, formed the Moon.

“For final adjudication, we must now look for firmer evidence on each side.

There’s now even more evidence that the Moon triggers our most powerful earthquakes


Scientists have long debated whether the movements of the Moon and the tidal stresses it generates play a role in triggering earthquakes, and now it looks like we might have an answer.

A new study by researchers in Japan suggests that large earthquakes are more likely to occur at times of a full or new Moon – the two lunar phases when tidal stresses on Earth are at their greatest.

Scientists from the University of Tokyo analysed three separate seismic databases – global data, plus records for California and Japan – looking at large earthquakes (with a magnitude 5.5 or greater) that occurred in the past two decades.

Focusing on the fortnight in the lead-up to these earthquakes, the team reconstructed the size – or amplitude – of tidal stresses at each point in time, and found that the largest quakes most often occurred on days near new or full Moons.

At these two points during the monthly lunar cycle, the Sun, Moon, and Earth all align, and the gravitational tug of the Moon on Earth is at its most intense.

Scientists have long speculated that this alignment could hypothetically influence earthquakes – due to a stronger-than-usual pull being exerted on fault-lines – and the Tokyo researchers’ findings now suggests that’s likely the case.

Some of the most powerful quakes in the past 20 years – including Sumatra, Indonesia in 2004 (magnitude 9.3); Maule, Chile in 2010 (8.8); and Tohoku-oki, Japan in 2011 (9.0) – coincided with high tidal stress.

All up, nine of the 12 largest earthquakes in the studied period – those with a magnitude of 8.2 or above – happened around a new or full Moon.

Interestingly, the team found no clear correlation between small earthquakes and tidal stresses, although the data does suggest that the proportion of large earthquakes (compared to small earthquakes) increases as tidal stresses become greater.

But US research published in July did find a link between very small tremors (around magnitude 1.0) in the San Andreas Fault and the Moon’s position.

That study, led by Nicholas van der Elst from the US Geological Survey, suggested that small earthquakes coincided with the Moon in its waxing phase, building up to a full Moon.

While we don’t fully understand what causes major earthquakes to happen, scientists think it could be the result of a cascading process, with a tiny fracture building up into a much larger rupture underground.

Looking at the two studies together, then, it could be possible that tidal stresses due to the Moon are leading to small quakes, which on some occasions may become full-blown monsters.

“This suggests that the probability of a tiny rock failure expanding to a gigantic rupture increases with increasing tidal stress levels,” the researchers explain in Nature Geoscience.

“We know from studying rock friction in the laboratory that the fault does not go from locked up to sliding in an instant,” van der Elst, who was not involved with the new paper, told Rebecca Boyle at The Atlantic. “It can take hours, days, or even longer for the fault to really come un-glued, even when the stress has exceeded the supposed strength.”

But we shouldn’t necessarily attribute too much importance to the Moon when it comes to trying to explain earthquakes. After all, the studies so far only establish a correlation – not any evidence of causation.

And the primary causes, van der Elst says, remain processes occurring deep inside Earth’s crust, with tectonic plates grinding together until something dramatically snaps.

“The tides just add a little – 1 percent or less – additional push on top of that tectonic loading,” van der Elst told Rong-Gong Lin II at The Los Angeles Times.

“Even though it’s a small contribution, it could be just the amount of stress that is the ‘straw that breaks the camel’s back’, so to speak.”

New evidence is forcing scientists to reconsider how the Moon was formed

Things just got complicated.

For decades, scientists have been debating what it would have looked like when a chunk of Earth broke off and formed our Moon some 4.5 billion years ago.

And now new chemical evidence suggests that things were way more violent than we’d assumed, with researchers suggesting that the impact that set our Moon free was “like a sledgehammer hitting a watermelon”.

It’s well-established that the Moon was once a part of Earth before it was sloughed off the side and thrown into our orbit, but the circumstances in which this ‘great uncoupling’ occurred has been a topic of heated debate.

Until recently, the most widely accepted hypothesis for how the Moon was formed suggested that a Mars-sized object (sometimes called Theia) once collided with the still-developing Earth, about 20 to 100 million years after the Solar System first came together.


While our young planet appears to have come out of the collision fairly unscathed, the impact would have caused Theia’s core and most of its mantle to sink into and merge with Earth’s own core and mantle.

Of the remaining dust and debris that were ejected into Earth’s orbit, a small accretion disc was formed, and from this, our Moon eventually took shape.

While this encounter might sound pretty violent, the consensus among scientists for almost five decades has been that Theia made a fairly low-energy graze across the surface of Earth.

This hypothesis, known as ‘the giant impact’, went on to explain all kinds of other things – such as the large size of the Moon relative to Earth, and their separate rotation rates – and there’s a whole lot of evidence to support it.

But there was always one big problem with this hypothesis. It would make sense that a large portion of the material that makes up the Moon would have come from Theia, but chemical analyses on samples brought back by the Apollo missions in the 1970s indicated that Earth and lunar rocks were nearly identical.

Simulation after simulation of the impact predicted that most of the material (60 to 80 percent) that formed the Moon would have come from the impactor, rather than from Earth, and it was extremely unlikely that Earth and Theia had the same chemical make-up.

Fast-forward to now, and geochemists from Harvard and Washington University are reporting that a new, more detailed analysis of seven Moon rocks and eight Earth rocks didn’t clear things up like they were expecting – it actually blew the giant impact hypothesis right out of the water.

“We’re still remeasuring the old Apollo samples from the ’70s, because the tech has been developing in recent years,” one of the team, Kun Wang from Washington University, told Ria Misra from Gizmodo.

“We can measure much smaller differences between Earth and the Moon, so we found a lot of things we didn’t find in the 1970s. The old models just could not explain the new observations.”

In fact, not only did the new analysis find no new evidence of materials that could have come from something other than Earth – it actually suggested that the origins of these Moon rocks were even more tightly bound to Earth than we thought.

And there was another neat little detail in there. Every single isotopic signature in the chemical analysis matched up to both Earth and the Moon, except for one: heavy-potassium isotope in the lunar samples.

In order for this heavy-potassium isotope to appear separately in the lunar rocks, they must have sustained some incredibly hot temperatures, and from this, the team suggests that the Moon-forming collision was a whole lot more violent than we could ever have imagined.

As Loren Grush explains over at The Verge:

“The collision that formed the Moon wasn’t low energy at all, [Wang] argues. Instead, the impact was extremely violent, pulverising most of Earth and the impactor, and turning them into a vapour.

In this scenario, the vaporised Earth and impactor mix together into a giant dense atmosphere. This atmosphere then cools and condenses into our planet and its satellite.”

It’s an incredibly bold claim, because not only does it suggest we were wrong about how our own Moon formed, but it paints a picture of a far more violent and volatile early Solar System than we thought.

While no one’s come out to dispute the claims outright, the onus is now on Wang and his team to make their hypothesis more convincing and weighted in evidence than the one we’ve been carrying around for almost 50 years.

And that involves demonstrating how seven lunar samples high in heavy-potassium isotope can accurately represent the Moon’s overall potassium composition.

“I’m very pleased overall with what they have done, I just wish they had used better samples,” Munir Humayun, a geologist at Florida State University who was not involved in the study, told The Verge, adding that there’s not enough data to support the hypothesis just yet.

Wang himself doesn’t seem too fazed by the criticism, saying every new hypothesis takes time to settle in and become accepted as the evidence mounts around it.

“It took people decades to accept this giant-impact hypothesis,” he says. “Now we’re saying that [the] giant impact hypothesis is not right, so it may take 10 to 20 years to accept the new model.”

Only time will tell if his version of the Moon origin story will hold up to scrutiny.

NASA Scientist Tells Us That “Somebody Else” Is On The Moon. Why Did NASA Hide This?

We live in a strange world, and as Neil Armstrong once said, there are “great ideas undiscovered, breakthroughs available to those who can remove one of the truth’s protective layers.”

Fast forward to today, and a number of people have become aware of the fact that not all of what goes on behind the scenes is made public. This is precisely why the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) was created; it’s a federal freedom of information law that allows for the full or partial disclosure of previously unreleased information and documents controlled by the United States government.

There are still many obstacles in the way of full transparency, one of which is the use of ‘national security’ to keep information classified and hidden from public viewing. This has become more evident with the revelations of WikiLeaks and Edward Snowden, but the problem goes deeper still. Did you know that the U.S government classifies roughly five hundred million pages of documents every single year?


Multiple NASA personnel have made some pretty shocking claims about the Moon. George Leonard, a NASA scientist and photo analyst who obtained various official NASA photographs of the Moon, many of which he published in his book titled Somebody Else Is On The Moon, is just one of these personnel.

Although the photos are small in size and their resolution is not up to today’s standards, they show details of original, massive prints. While Leonard published the identifying code numbers of the photos in his works to back up their source, we still can’t say for sure that they were real, and their poor resolution only makes matters worse. Far more compelling than these photos are his statements about what was found on the Moon, along with his verified NASA credentials. Leonard was not the only one with a credible background trying to tell the world the truth regarding the Moon and the photos that were taken from the Apollo missions.

“Ladies and gentlemen, my government, NASA, which many of us in the United States say stands for Never A Straight Answer, proceeded to erase 40 rolls of film of the Apollo Program — the flight to the Moon, the flight around the Moon, the landings on the Moon, the walking guys here and there. They erased, for Christ’s sake, 40 rolls of film of those events. Now we’re talking about several thousand individual frames that were taken that the so-called authorities determined that you did not have a right to see. Oh, they were ‘disruptive,’ ‘socially unacceptable,’ ‘politically unacceptable.’ I’ve become furious. I’m a retired Command Sergeant Major. I was never famous for having a lot of patience.” 

The quote above is from Bob Dean, who was speak UFO phenomenoning at a conference in Europe. Bob is a retired US Army Command Sargent Major, and he also served at the (SHAPE) of NATO as an intelligence analyst.

When it comes to the UFO phenomenon, we now have public disclosure of thousands of documents along with hundreds of credible witness testimonies.

It’s also important to note here that the Russian government recently called for an international investigationinto the U.S. moon landings regarding the disappearance of film footage from the original moon landing in 1969. They are also referring to the (approximately) 400 kilograms of lunar rock that was obtained during multiple missions between 1969 and 1972.

Leonard argued that NASA knew about extraterrestrial activity on the Moon and attempted to hide that information. He’s not the only one to make such an assertion.

“Read the books, read the lore, start to understand what has really been going on, because there is no doubt that we are being visited. . . . The universe that we live in is much more wondrous, exciting, complex and far reaching than we were ever able to know up to this point in time. . . . [Mankind has long wondered if we’re] alone in the universe. [But] only in our period do we really have evidence. No, we’re not alone.”  Dr. Edgar Mitchell, ScD., NASA astronaut (6th man to walk on the moon).

Leonard is not the only NASA scientist to say some strange things about the Moon. Recently, a plasma scientist by the name of Dr. John Brandenburg said the same thing. He was the Deputy Manager of the Clementine Mission to the Moon, which was part of a joint space project between the Ballistic Missile Defence Organization (BMDO) and NASA. The mission discovered water at the Moon’s poles in 1994.

According to Brandenburg in an interview from this documentary: URL:https://youtu.be/yO0T05kQkbs

It was (the Clementine Mission) a photo reconnaissance mission basically to check out if someone was building bases on the moon that we didn’t know about. Were they expanding them?

He then went on to state that:

Of all the pictures I’ve seen from the moon that show possible structures, the most impressive is a picture of a miles wide recto-linear structure. This looked unmistakably artificial, and it shouldn’t be there. As somebody in the space defense community, I look on any such structure on the moon with great concern because it isn’t ours, there’s no way we could have built such a thing. It means someone else is up there.

If you were to tell the average person that you think another civilization, advanced enough to have mastered space travel, had been to the Moon before we got there and is possibly still going there, you would, without a doubt, receive some very peculiar looks in return. On the other hand, if that other person were to decide to hear you out, you would probably get their attention pretty quickly. For some, this type of information can be overwhelming, even terrifying, and that’s okay. Many people are not ready to open their minds up to these possibilities, but the truth of the matter is, it’s something we are going to have to confront eventually. We are clearly heading towards the inevitable reality of extraterrestrial contact — that is, if we smarten up and start taking care of our planet to the best of our ability. Perhaps we can make it long enough to realize this future, or maybe it’s coming sooner than we think.

NASA Lied – USA Never Landed on the Moon.

Comment:  I’ve studied this issue for a long time to discover a large amount of evidence that the Moon Landing never happened.  Like the vacuum of evidence in Obama’s alleged Bin Laden assassination,  NASA has failed to supply the public with any verifiable evidence that a single moon landing was accomplished.  There is little doubt that those who have seized control of our government have been lying to the American people for decades to create an artificial reality.

Harold Saive

“You Didn’t Go to the Moon”

NASA Mission Control Engineer Raymond Teagues Quoting A Russian Scientist and Colleagues on the Apollo Moon Landings

Apollo Mission was a hoax Never landed on the moon

The National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) has named these three astronauts as the prime crew of the Apollo 11 lunar landing mission. Left to right, are Neil A. Armstrong, commander; Michael Collins, command module pilot; and Edwin E. Aldrin Jr., lunar module pilot. The 30th anniversary of the Apollo 11 Moon mission is celebrated July 20, 1999. (Photo by NASA/Newsmakers)

Air Force Veteran and NASA Mission Operations Control Room Engineer Raymond F. Teague, who appeared on the Alex Jones InfoWars.com broadcast July 3, 2013, discussed his experience with the Apollo Missions to the Moon. Among many of his memories as a NASA MOCR, he recalled how he discussed his uncertainty on whether the Apollo Missions to the Moon ever actually took place – specifically the Manned Missions and landing on the Moon. The Apollo Manned Missions include Apollo 10 through 17, which took place from 1969 through 1972.

Image result for nasa landing on moon free photos downloads

Raymond F. Teague, like many others of his generation, worked in highly compartmentalized areas of the Apollo Mission.

NASA celebrated the “alleged” 30 year anniversary of Apollo 11, which was the first Manned Mission that landed and stepped foot on the Moon on 20 July 1969 in the Sea of Tranquility. The Apollo Program ran from 1963 to 1972.

According the NASA:

The Apollo program was designed to land humans on the Moon and bring them safely back to Earth. Six of the missions (Apollos 11, 12, 14, 15, 16, and 17) achieved this goal. Apollos 7 and 9 were Earth orbiting missions to test the Command and Lunar Modules, and did not return lunar data. Apollos 8 and 10 tested various components while orbiting the Moon, and returned photography of the lunar surface.  Apollo 13 did not land on the Moon due to a malfunction, but also returned photographs. The six missions that landed on the Moon returned a wealth of scientific data and almost 400 kilograms of lunar samples. Experiments included soil mechanics, meteoroids, seismic, heat flow, lunar ranging, magnetic fields, and solar wind experiments.

During his tenure working with the Apollo Program as a NASA Mission Operations Control Room Engineer, Mr. Teague recalled a discussion with a patriotic Russian Colleague over the Moon Landings. When asked if he believed that Americans actually landed on the Moon and walked around, he reportedly said:

No, you did not go to the Moon, it was ALL staged!” –

The Apollo Manned Mission Landings are a very complex and controversial topic as to whether they actually occurred as depicted on Television back in 1969 through 1972. Certainly, if these missions did happen there would be conclusive proof of these landings today. Simply put, there would be physical evidence on the Moon that would indicate Men landed there and left behind the Lander Assembly, the Lunar Rover and other equipment.

The real reason why NASA never Returned to the Moon.

During 2006 NASA posed the question “Why should we return to the Moon” to select group of stakeholder as well as to the general public. The poll results generated certain crucial and compelling reason to revisit the moon. Apart from the scientific, exploratory and mining reasons the most compelling reason was to secure the fate of human civilization.

However, secure we feel ourselves on the earth, the reality and the current discoveries suggest that the Earth is not a perpetual safe place for us. History of the universe is a tale of destruction and recreation. If we take ourselves back some 65 million years, we know that a giant impact wiped out not only the big and strong dinosaurs but most of the species living living on the Earth. This kind of catastrophic impacts may occur again and humanity will be vulnerable as long as we confine ourselves into one planet.


What are these?

The above observation again brings back the inevitable question about NASA space exploration program. Why has NASA never returned to the Moon since December 14, 1972? Apollo 17 was the last official Moon-Landing mission. More often than not, answer given to us is a canned response that Moon exploration is associated with huge costs (both financial and in terms of human lives) and that don’t manifest into immediate economic benefits.

In today’s context, Moon exploration should be much easier and must less costly (in a relative way).  Back then the IT infrastructure NASA used was very basic. The huge computers used were less powerful than any pocket calculator freely available today. The much hyped Apollo Guidance Computer (AGC) which used a real time operating system, was run by astronauts entering simple commands. These commands used to control the spacecraft. AGC was more elementary than electronics available in modern toasters. Incidentally Apollo missions were run with approximately 64Kbyte of memory and operated at 0.043MHz.

Considering all these, many thinks that there is darker reason for NASA not returning to the Moon for the past 42 years? A theory suggests that during the Apollo missions, while on the lunar surface NASA encountered alien activity. While these alien encounters were not hostile there were indications that they didn’t like NASA’s presence over there.

Another theory suggests that the encounter was rather planned as US government was aware of the alien presence on the Moon since the alleged meeting of Eisenhower with the aliens at the Holloman Air Force base in 1954. If that is the case, it easily explains why NASA staged the entire Moon Landing TV Broadcast.