US, WASHINGTON (ORDO NEWS) — Temperatures on the moon are extreme: from boiling to a terrible cold, depending on where the sun is. There is no significant atmosphere on the moon, so it cannot isolate the surface from sudden changes in temperature.
The moon rotates on its axis for about 27 days. A lunar day on one side of the moon lasts about 13 and a half earth days, and then a moon night lasts 13 and a half earth days. When sunlight hits the surface of the moon, temperatures can rise to 127 degrees Celsius. When the sun goes down, the temperature can drop to minus 173 C.
The temperature changes on the entire surface of the moon, because both the near and the far side are day and night.
The moon has a tilt of its axis of about 1.54 degrees – much less than the Earth – 23.44 degrees. This means that the moon has no seasons like Earth. However, because of the tilt at the lunar poles, there are places that never see daylight.
NASA’s Diviner instrument on NASA’s Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter, measuring the temperature on the moon, received the following data: minus 238 C in the craters at the south pole and minus 247 C in the crater at the north pole.
“These ultra-low temperatures, as far as we know, are the lowest that have ever been measured anywhere in the solar system, including the surface of Pluto,” said David Page in 2009, chief researcher at Diviner and professor of planetary science at Los Angeles. Since then, the NASA New Horizons mission has set Pluto’s temperature range from minus 240 to minus 217 C.
Scientists suspected that water ice could exist in craters that are in constant shadow. In 2010, NASA’s radar aboard the Chandrayan-1 Indian spacecraft discovered water ice in more than 40 small craters at the moon’s north pole. They suggested that more than 590 million tons of water ice hid at the bottom of these craters.
“By analyzing the data, our research team found water ice, a discovery that will give future missions a new goal for further exploration and use,” said Jason Cruzan, executive director of the Mini-RF program for NASA’s space mission in Washington.
The core temperature of the moon has an iron-rich core with a radius of about 330 km. The temperature in the heart of the moon is probably between 1327 and 1427 C. The core heats the inner layer of the molten mantle, but it is not hot enough to warm the surface of the moon. Since the lunar core is smaller than the earth, the internal temperatures of the moon do not rise as high as on Earth.
“It is not as hot as the Earth, because the moon is smaller – therefore, its internal pressure is also less,” said NASA planetary scientist Rene Webber during an online chat organized by NASA. “Its temperature is probably lower than the temperature in the center of the Earth.”
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