Our nearest neighbor
The moon's orbital period around the earth is approximately 27 days (27 days, 7 hours 43 min 11.5 sec), it rotates on its own axis in exactly the same time and therefore we never see the back of the moon. The distance to the moon is approx. 384,400 km and increases by approx. 4 cm per year, this causes the tidal forces and the Earth's rotation speed to decrease gradually over time. There are visible signs of past volcanic activity on the moon's surface, in addition, the moon is believed to contain large amounts of frozen water. 12 American astronauts have walked on the surface of the moon from 1969-1972. It is the plan that man will visit the moon again and establish a permanent lunar base, including the USA, China and Russia etc.
The moon's characteristic crater surface
The Copernicus crater in the area called the "Sea of Storms", north of the crater, Apollo 12 landed on November 19, 1969 (Close to the Landsberg crater which can be seen at the top of the picture).
Same region further south.
A violent birth
The Moon is Earth's closest planetary neighbor, it is large compared to the other planets' moons. It is believed to have formed by a collision between the early Earth and an unknown planet approx. 4.5 billion years ago.
Lunar surface, Mare Serenitatis, Mare Tranquillitatis, Mare Crisium, Mare Fecunditatis and Mare Nectaris.
lunar crater, Copernicus.
South east terrain of Copernicus crater.
Apollo 11 landing site(top right hand cornerof the image)
Apollo11 landing site shown with the yellow arrow. Lower mid is the crater Theophilus.
"A world of craters and hidden ice"
Another view of Copernicus impact crater.
North region of the Moon
Apollo landing sites and future destinations.