Physical Features Of The Moon

The Moon is almost unique in the solar system in that it is quite large compared with its primary, Earth.4 The Moon's diameter is 3,476 km, about 1 the diameter of the Earth. By comparison, the satellites of Jupiter and Saturn are about the size of their primary. Table 1.1 shows the overall physical and orbital properties of the Moon. The average density of the Moon is 3.312 (water is 1.0), which is only about | that of the Earth. Since the surface rocks are essentially the same, this means that the Moon's interior must somehow be different from Earth's. The Moon has no free water and essentially no atmosphere.

4 The Moon and the Earth are so similar in size that they could easily be classified as a "double planet''. Only Charon, Pluto's moon, is of a size-scale so similar to its primary.

Table 1.1 Properties of the Moon, compared with Earth

Moon Earth

Moon Earth

Table 1.1 Properties of the Moon, compared with Earth

Density, g/cm3

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