NASA’s New Projects



Earth's mysterious large Moon is our nearest neighbor in space, dominating our clear night sky with its beguiling and bewitching cold golden glow. Earth's Moon is the only body beyond our planet that we have visited, leaving our footprints embedded in its alien dust. Despite its close proximity to our planet, our mysterious Moon has still managed to keep some ancient secrets from us very well. However, in October 2014, using data derived from NASA's Gravity Recovery and Interior Laboratory (GRAIL) mission, a team of planetary scientists announced that they may have solved a lunar mystery almost as old as our Moon itself. But small moons like Methone are usually geologically inactive and bereft of an atmosphere. Therefore, they are usually unable to smooth away the scars. Dr. Peter Thomas of Cornell University in Ithaca, New York, explained it this way in the May 17, 2013 New Scientist: "When we look at objects less than 200 kilometers in radius, they are all like potatoes. They have lumps, grooves, craters." This makes Methone's smooth surface a mystery. Dr. Thomas is a Cassini team member. Full moons on different days. Where you live on earth rarely makes a difference as to whether the moon is full, quarter or new. This is because it takes the moon almost a month to travel around the earth and it only takes a day for the earth to turn around once. So in comparison, the moon sort of sits in the sky and waits for us to see what phase it is in. Still, there are times when the moon will be full on different calendar days in different areas of the earth.