A mountain peak rises from the middle of lunar impact crater Tycho.

The Moon

Our Moon is the only place beyond Earth where humans have set foot, so far.



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About earth's moon

Comparison of the size of Earth and the Moon

The Moon is about 27% the size of Earth.

Craters are visible in the shades of gray and light on Earth's Moon.

Distance from Earth (385,000 kilometers).

Silhouette of an elk in front of a large Moon.

We always see the same side of the Moon.

Mountain in the middle of Moon crater

The Moon has a solid, rocky surface.

astronaut with u.s. flag

The Moon's thin exosphere is not breathable.

earth rising full over lunar horizon

The Moon has no natural satellites.

The Moon has no rings.

Astronaut and robotic spacecraft on the Moon.

24 humans and more than 100 robots visited.

map of lunar craters with colors indicating temperatures

The Moon can't support life as we know it.

Scientist holds a lunar sample returned by the crew of Apollo 15

842 lbs (382 kg) of Moon rocks.


Earth's Moon is the brightest and largest object in our night sky. The Moon makes Earth a more livable planet by moderating our home planet's wobble on its axis, leading to a relatively stable climate. It also causes tides, creating a rhythm that has guided humans for thousands of years.

The Moon was likely formed after a Mars-sized body collided with Earth several billion years ago.

Earth's only natural satellite is simply called "the Moon" because people didn't know other moons existed until Galileo Galilei discovered four moons orbiting Jupiter in 1610. In Latin, the Moon was called Luna, which is the main adjective for all things Moon-related: lunar.

This 3D simulation of the 2023 annular eclipse is built with real science data.

Pop Culture

Earth's Moon has inspired stories since the first humans looked up at the sky and saw its gray, cratered surface. Some observers saw among the craters the shape of a person's face, so stories refer to a mysterious "man in the Moon." Hungrier observers compared the craters to cheese and dreamed of an entire sphere made of delicious dairy products.

The Moon made its film debut in a 1902 black and white silent French film called "Le Voyage Dans la Lune" ("A Trip to the Moon"). And a year before astronauts walked on the Moon, "2001: A Space Odyssey" (1968) told the story of astronauts on an outpost on the Moon.

American astronauts have planted six American flags on the Moon. But that doesn't mean the United States has claimed it; in fact, an international law written in 1967 prevents any single nation from owning planets, stars, or any other natural objects in space.

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