Saturday fun facts

You learn something new every day. Here’s an approach for green power generation that uses high-power millimeter waves to drill (vaporize) through solid rock to tap geothermal energy 12 miles beneath Earth’s surface. Very cool idea, and I’d love to see it working. I’m not in love with the idea of thousands of 12-mile deep holes in North America’s crust, but…it beats burning dinosaurs. And there’s no doubt about the theme of the website where I found the article: Treehugger.

While doing research for my book, I find more and more weird facts about the Moon. Here are a few that most people aren’t aware of:

  • There is no “dark side of the Moon”. We call it that because the Moon is tidally locked to Earth, and the combination of its rotation and revolution allows us to only see one side from Earth. The other side, hidden from us, gets just as much sunlight as the one we see.
  • The whole tidal locking and synchronous rotation thing is really hard to get your head around. This writeup on Wikipedia is helpful.
  • A Lunar “day” is 14 of our days long. So at any point on the Moon, you’ll get 14 days of scorching +260F degree-ish sunlight followed by 14 days of frigid -280F degree-ish darkness. I don’t know why the cold is deeper than the heat.
  • The Lunar poles are likely to be relatively mild, as they get small amounts of incidental sunlight constantly. At the extreme poles you would see the Sun circling around just on the horizon – a forever sunset.
  • The Moon has taken quite a beating in its long life. The south pole is dominated by one of the largest impact craters in the solar system, The Aitken Basin, some 1600 miles across and up to 5 miles deep. Something really big blasted that hole. And it turns out we may have found the culprit, a mountain-sized metal blob deep under the Aitken Basin.

There’s a lot more to learn, and I hope I get to see the day when we return to the Moon and start exploring it in earnest.

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