Exploration of the Moon

Exploration Of The Moon

Exploration of the Moon

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The physical exploration of the Moon began when Luna 2, a space probe launched by the Soviet Union, made an impact on the surface of the Moon on September 14, 1959. Prior to that the only available means of exploration had been observation. The invention of the optical telescope brought about the first leap in the quality of lunar observations. Galileo Galilei is generally credited as the first person to use a telescope for astronomical purposes; having made his own telescope in 1609, the mountains and craters on the lunar surface were among his first observations using it.

In 1969, NASA's Project Apollo first successfully landed people on the Moon. They placed scientific experiments there and returned rocks and data that suggested the Moon is of a similar composition to the Earth.

Early history

In Mesopotamia, Babylonian astronomers by the early first millennium BC had discovered a repeating 18-year cycle of lunar eclipses. They had also known by this time that 19 solar years is about equal to 235 lunar months.<!--The texts discussed in that article are more recent than 490 BC and, as mentioned in the paper, the observations can have occurred no earlier than that. The earliest reference for the Metonic cycle in Neugubauer's (1957) The Exact Sciences in Antiquity is 380 BC (p. 140).--> In the 2nd century BC, Seleucus of Seleucia correctly theorized that tides were caused by the Moon, although he believed that the interaction was mediated by the......
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