Back to  Why did Scientists go to the Moon?

That's a good question Laura. Let's see what Pierre Kerr, has to say.

Of all the things that you see in the sky, the Sun and the Moon are the most obvious. If you look up at the sky at night and the moon is out, you can't see much else because it is so bright. Even without a telescope you can see that the moon must be an interesting place.

People are naturally curious and when they saw a wonderful thing like the moon, they just had to go there. It's hard to believe, but a long time ago some people thought the Moon was made of cheese!

On July 20, 1969, United States astronauts Neil A. Armstrong and Edwin E. Aldrin, Jr., of the space flight Apollo 11, landed in the Mare Tranquillitatis, or Sea of Tranquillity. They were the first men to set foot on the surface of the moon. They placed experimental equipment on the moon's surface and returned to Earth with 48 pounds of rock and soil samples. Apollo 12 made the second manned lunar landing on Nov. 19, 1969, in the Oceanus Procellarum (Ocean of Storms). The Apollo 12 astronauts also set up experiments and brought back rock and soil samples.

Equipment used in the Apollo 11 experiments included a laser-beam reflector, a seismometer, and a solar-wind-particle detector. Several Earth-based laboratories aimed lasers at the reflector to determine the distance from the Earth to the moon. The initial measurements were accurate to within about 14 feet. The seismometer recorded several events interpreted to be moonquakes, landslides, or meteor impacts. The solar-wind-particle detector was placed on the moon's surface so that it faced the sun. It was brought back to Earth and analyzed for rare gases. The results showed that it had trapped helium, neon, and argon in amounts corresponding to their abundance on the sun rather than to their abundance on Earth.

The Apollo 12 experiments employed a solar-wind spectrometer and a magnetometer. The magnetometer recorded a magnetic field some ten times stronger than scientists had expected. Another surprising discovery was made when the Apollo 12 astronauts crashed part of the lunar module onto the lunar surface to give the seismometer a reading from an impact of known force and mass. The moon vibrated for nearly an hour afterward.


Take a look in your library for books about the Moon. We have given you a few pictures of the first men on the moon. The downtown public library has some excellent video tapes about the exploration of the moon. They are free for 2 days if you have a library card. Take a look at the tape "Target Moon", reference number V629.454, it's really good.

Thanks for your question.

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