There are lots of moons in our Solar System. The Earth is the only planet with just a single moon. Some moons are bigger than ours; many are much smaller. There are even tiny moons orbiting some of the asteroids. Some have ongoing volcanic eruptions; others are dead, heavily cratered lumps. One has rivers and lakes of liquid methane. Our own Moon has resources that could help open the Solar System for future exploration. A small handful of moons have conditions below their surfaces where primitive life might exist.
Sign up to explore the rich diversity of moons, the fundamental processes that have shaped them, and the relationship between the Moon and the Earth. You will be under the guidance of experts from The Open University and elsewhere. The course is rich in high-quality text, images, video, audio and interactive elements.
All Open University Science MOOCs presented on FutureLearn are produced with the kind support of Dangoor Education.
What will you achieve?
- Develop an awareness of the nature and diversity of moons in our Solar System and their significance.
- Explain and understand the general nature of moons’ orbits and the effects of tides.
- Describe some of the possible origins of moons.
- Describe the compositions and nature of the surfaces and interiors of moons.
- Calculate and understand how impact craters are formed and recognise their significance for dating surfaces.
- Describe the nature and history of volcanic activity on several moons.
- Assess and be aware of which moons may have subsurface oceans, and the implications for hosting native life.
- Classify and become aware of the history of manned and unmanned lunar exploration, and of some of the major discoveries.
- Identify and recognise aspects of lunar samples seen under the microscope.
- Describe the different settings in which ‘water’ has been found on the Moon.
- Describe and be aware of the history of discovery and exploration of moons, and of future prospects.
- Reflect and suggest ways in which resources from the Moon may help future space exploration.
Who is the course for?
An interest in learning about the moons of our Solar System and the methods used to understand them. Prior knowledge of astronomy is not expected.
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