Moon Exploration Milestones

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1st millennium BC: Babylonian astronomers had discovered a repeating 18-year cycle of lunar eclipses.

4th century BC: Anaxagoras, Greek philosopher, reasoned that the Sun and Moon were both giant spherical rocks, and that the latter reflected the light of the former.

4th century BC: Shi Shen, Chinese astronomer, predicted solar and lunar eclipses based on the relative positions of the Moon and Sun.

3rd century BC: Aristarchus of Samos, Greek astronomer, calculated the distance of the Moon from Earth, obtaining a value of 20 times the Earth radius for the distance (the real value is 60).

2nd century BC: Seleucus of Seleucia, Hellenistic astronomer, correctly theorized that tides were caused by the Moon.

1st century BC: Jing Fang, Chinese, noted the sphericity of the Moon.

1st century AD: Plutarch, Roman, suggested that the Moon spots are the shadows of rivers or deep chasms.

499 AD: Aryabhata, Indian astronomer, suggested that reflected sunlight is the cause behind the shining of the moon.

825 AD: Habash al-Hasib al-Marwazi, Persian astronomer, estimated the Moon's diameter as 3,037 km and its distance from the Earth as 215,209 miles, which come close to the currently accepted values.

1021: Alhazen, Muslim, accurately explained the Moon illusion (an optical illusion in which the Moon appears larger near the horizon than it does while higher up in the sky).

1609: Galileo Galilei, Italian, noted that the Moon was not smooth but had mountains and craters.

1651: Giovanni Battista Riccioli and Francesco Maria Grimaldi, Italians, drew a map of the Moon and gave many craters the names they still have today.

1753: Roger Boscovich, Croatian, discovered the absence of atmosphere on the Moon.

1824: Franz von Gruithuisen, German, explained the formation of craters as a result of meteorite strikes.

1834: Wilhelm Beer and Johann Heinrich Mädler, Germans, concluded that the Moon has no bodies of water nor any atmosphere.

1958: NASA was established by the National Aeronautics and Space Act on July 29, 1958, replacing its predecessor, the National Advisory Committee for Aeronautics (NACA).

1959: The first man-made object to reach the Moon was the unmanned Soviet probe Luna 2 which made a hard landing on September 14, 1959.

1959: The far side of the Moon was first photographed on October 7, 1959 by the Soviet probe Luna 3.

1961: In an effort to compete with these Soviet successes, U.S. President John F. Kennedy proposed the national goal of landing a man on the Moon before the end of the decade.

1968: The crew of Apollo 8, Frank Borman, James Lovell and William Anders, became the first human beings to enter lunar orbit and see the far side of the Moon in person (December 24, 1968).

1969: Neil Armstrong, commander of the U.S. mission Apollo 11 is the first man to walk on the lunar surface (July 20, 1969).

Moon for Kids
Facts about the Moon for Kids
Our Moon - The Nine Planets Astronomy for Kids
The Earth's Moon -
Moon Quiz
Moon exploration
Moon Gallery
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Moon for Teachers
Exploring the Moon Educator Guide - NASA
Exploring the Moon - NASA
Moon Phase Activity / Lesson For School Teachers
Faces of the Moon Teacher's Guide

Moon Landing Conspiracy Theories
Moon landing conspiracy theories
Did Mythbusters Prove Apollo Photos Were Faked?
The Great Moon Hoax - NASA Science
The Apollo Hoax
8 Moon-Landing Hoax Myths - National Geographic
Conspiracy Theory: Did We Go to the Moon?

FAQs about the Moon- The Astronomy Cafe
Moon FAQ
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Glossaries and Dictionaries
Moon Glossary: Lunar Terms and Definitions
The Full Moon Dictionary and Glossary of Lunar Terms
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Timeline of Lunar Exploration
The Space Race Timeline

The Moon Museum
Moon Museum
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Moon Museum - History Detectives, PBS

Moon Stamps
Exploring the Moon on stamps
US First Man on the Moon stamp

Humor & Quizzes
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The Moon Trivia
National Geographic Moon Quiz

General Moon Resources
The Phases of the Moon - Woodlands Junior School Kent
Our Moon - The Nine Planets For Kids
The Moon - Zoom Astronomy
The Moon - The Nine Planets
Moon - Wikipedia
Inconstant Moon: multimedia tours of the lunar surface
Lunar Eclipse Computer - U.S. Naval Observatory, Astronomical Applications Department
Lunar Eclipses for Beginners - Fred Espenak
Educator's Guide to Moon Phases - Views of the Solar System
Moon Thumbnails - NASA
Moon Watch: An Einstein Year Project

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Last updated: February 2018
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