The GRAIL twin moon probes

A probe is an unmanned flying object, which explores space. Different to a satellite, a probe does not circle the Earth but flies to other celestial bodies, which they circle, too, but are then called orbiters. Two of these probes have been on the way to the Moon since 10th September 2011, to take measurements with unprecedented accuracy. The GRAIL lunar probes have reached the orbit of the Moon as planned, at the turn of the year 2011/12 and are now currently at work, until they will shatter on the Moon’s surface. In the meantime, they will have transmitted lots of data back to Earth.

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The song »Fly Me To The Moon«

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The jazz classic »Fly Me To The Moon«, originally written by Bart Howard in 1954, gained worldwide fame through Frank Sinatra (1915–1998). His version from 1964 accompanied the space mission Apollo 10 to the Moon in May of 1969, and was played when the spaceship orbited the Moon. Further, it was the first song ever that was played on the Moon, when Buzz Aldrin stepped onto the Moon with a portable cassette player during the Apollo 11 mission in July 1969.

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When do you call a full moon “blue moon”?

Everyone knows that about once a month is full moon … but, strangely enough, a full moon is always on a different day each month and always at a different time. The reason is that the moon month is shorter on the average, than the calendar month. Without being to mathematical, one can say that a moon cycle lasts approx. 29.5 days. This is how the time of full moon spreads irregularly throughout the calender months and it happens (about every 2.5 years) that two full moon dates fall onto the same month, one at the beginning and one at the end of the month. This second full moon is called a “blue moon” today.

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How you sleep at the full moon

A lot is said about how full moon can or could influence the sleep of people. And like so often, opinions differ on this subject. Some are certain that they sleep poorly or have a restless sleep around the time of full moon and are not able to fall asleep for a long time. Others sleep like a log … in between there are many who are not aware of any of this and not able to  determine by their sleep patterns whether it is full moon or not.

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The Moon and the tides

It is well known the tides are caused by the tidal forces that are formed through gravity between the Earth and the Moon (and also between the Earth and the Sun). To put it simply, you can say that the Moon moves masses of ocean waters. At the full moon and the new moon, the Sun, the Moon and the Earth are roughly in alignment, hence, the forces are greater and cause so called spring tides, thus a slightly higher tide. Now, many people conclude that the Moon – and in particular the full moon – ought to move and influence us people accordingly, because our bodies consist mostly of water. This claim contains several errors in reasoning, which we would like to explain in the following.

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Dependent on or independent of the Moon?

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Suitable for today’s 4th July, »Independence Day« in the US, and moreover it being the new moon, we pose the question of the dependency or independency of the Moon. Are we dependent on the Moon or not? And is the Moon dependent on us?

If we believe the surveys, more than 40% of people feel influenced by the Moon, in particular during sleep. In other ways as well and the influence of the Earth’s moon is being discussed in many areas, although there is still no evidence. Science rather confirms the opposite and verifies this by referring to various studies that the human is independent of the Moon; however, this does not correspond with the basic feelings of most.

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Michael Jackson’s movie “Moonwalker”

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“Moonwalker” is a musical film from 1988 starring Michael Jackson. The movie is a wild and trendy mixture of music videos, live concert recordings, action scenes, science fiction effects and cartoons – so less of a classical movie, but more so an anthology. The plot revolves around how Michael saves three children (i.e. played by Sean Lennon, John Lennon’s son) and the children of the world from the deadly intrigues of the villain Mr. Big (played by Joe Pesci).

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Water on the Moon

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The exploration of foreign celestial bodies is particularly interesting for science, when there is the possibility of life could exist. An important condition for this provides the evidence of water (mostly in frozen form, because it contains oxygen).   One may simply say that where water exists, life could develop, or is already present.

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»The shepherd in the Moon« (Romania)

The Rumanian fairytale »The shepherd in the Moon« tells the story of a shepherd:

He once came to a rich nobleman and received the gift of a piece of land and a herd of sheep from him. He settled as shepherd and began to play beautiful melodies on his flute at night, which – as you’ll find out later – reminds him of his deceased beloved. These songs were so wonderful that all sheep gathered around him to listen, even the ones of the neighbouring shepherds. They now became envious of the flute player and tried to blacken his name with the nobleman. But when he stuck by the shepherd with the flute, the other shepherds made attempts on the life of the good shepherd and tried to kill him. He escaped and left the country full of grief and pain.  

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