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Living on the Moon

by Anthony Bright-Paul

Temperatures on the moon are very hot in the daytime, about 100 degrees C. At night, the lunar surface gets very cold, as cold as minus 173 degrees C. This wide variation is because Earth’s moon has no atmosphere to hold in heat at night or prevent the surface from getting so hot during the day.


A single “day” on the moon lasts about 28 Earth days, meaning the lunar daytime is nearly two Earth weeks long.


First radio image of the moon taken with an ACA antenna. Left: Optical image taken with a digital camera. Right: Radio image at a wavelength of 2 mm taken with an ACA antenna. The optical image shows the sunlight reflected by the moon’s surface, whereas the radio image shows the physical temperature distribution of the moon. [ source >>]


On August 27th 2013, the hottest place on Earth is Palm Springs, where some dear friends of mine are living – I trust. The temperature has reached 134o Fahrenheit, which corresponds to 56.67oCentigrade. This is reckoned to be an all time record.

Just imagine then living on the Moon, where the daytime temperature can reach 123oC and the nighttime will drop to MINUS 153oC. 123oC is more than twice as hot as our hottest day recorded.

On the question of temperature I would like to quote an email that I received from Professor James A.Peden, 4.12.2011:

“Temperature” is based on a measure of the energy of molecular motion… and indeed, the temperature at the edge of our atmosphere is quite “hot” … because the molecules, albeit few in number, have a high kinetic energy … thus technically have a high “temperature”.

However, there are very few of them.  Therefore the “heat content” is very small…. resulting in very few calories per unit volume.  At sea level, there is a pretty good correlation between temperature and heat content:  a kettle of boiling water has both a high temperature and high heat content.

But at the edge of space, with very few molecules per unit volume, you have the seemingly paradoxical condition of both high temperature and low heat content.

Ordinary thermometers work by transfer of heat energy from the surroundings to the thermometer.


At the edge of space, they simply don’t work because there aren’t enough surrounding air molecules to counter the natural cooling of an object by radiation.  So, trying to measure the temperature via normal methods results in an erroneously low reading.  We must remember that all bodies emit Infrared radiation and thus “cool” in the process.  A thermometer may read quite low at very high altitudes not because the surroundings are“cold” but because the thermometer is losing heat by radiation and there aren’t enough surrounding “hot” air molecules to counter that cooling. At the Kármán line … the so-called “edge of space” (about 100 km) there is in fact an abrupt rise in temperature… as solar radiation reacts with the few molecules still in that region, increasing their thermal energy, and thus raising their “temperature”.

Now the Moon like us on Earth is some 93million miles from the Sun, yet it is evidently both much hotter and much colder. Why is this? The answer lies in the sentence ‘There is no significant atmosphere on the moon.’

What does this at once tell us? At the edge of space on what is called the Harman line there are very few molecules – like Outer Space the Thermosphere is almost empty of matter, it is almost a vacuum. But the very few molecules that are there can be extremely hot.  (Professor Peden gives no figure for the very good reasons stated in his email.)

The radiation from the Sun has already crossed some 91 – 95 million miles. From the top of the Thermosphere to the level of the sea is a mere 50 or 60 miles, a relatively tiny distance. How then is the surface of the Earth not also similarly hot? Why is the surface of the Earth not 100oC –123oC like the Moon?

The answer lies in the atmosphere, or rather the fact that we have an atmosphere. Without this atmosphere we should be as hot as the Moon by day and as cold as the Moon by night. In this way we can see that the gases of the atmosphere act as a filter, scattering and absorbing the radiation. In direct sunlight the gases of our atmosphere act as a huge coolant, without which life on earth would be impossible for either man or beast. Out of direct sunlight, as well as at night, those self same gases retain enough heat to prevent the temperature from dropping as low as on the Moon. Even the North and South Poles in the coldest part of their winters do not get as cold as the Moon. Airflows from warmer regions prevent the temperatures from dropping to the same low level as on the Moon.

If we take the lowest level of the atmosphere, which is the Troposphere, where all our weather occurs, we know that the warmest part is right at the surface. At 33,000 feet the temperature is circa Minus 55C. How does all this come about? How is I that we feel warm when sitting or working in the direct sunshine? How is it that cloud cover in the daytime will immediately reduce the effect of the sun?

Radiation has to encounter mass to produce warmth. If we sunbathe we are mass and will experience warmth, even sunburn. The Earth warms up and more importantly the seas and oceans warm. It is the oceans that play the largest part in warming the lower atmosphere, while the atmosphere does very little if anything to warm the oceans.

As the atmosphere warms the warmed air rises, and as it rises it cools. The cold gases cannot heat a warmer earth or oceans, which is the fundamental mistake of the Anthropogenic Global Warmers. The Sun’s radiation warms the Earth and the Earth warms the atmosphere, not the other way round.

The Greenhouse Gases play a major role in filtering the radiation of the Sun and thus keeping the Earth cool enough for mankind and the animal kingdom to live on. At night time the Greenhouse gases also inhibit heat loss, so they play a role both in keeping us cool and in keeping us warm, safe from the extreme fluctuations on the Moon. Water vapour in particular acts as a celestial thermostat.

The idea that Carbon Dioxide ‘causes’ Global Warming is thus seen to be fallacious. The Greenhouse gases do more to cool the Earth than keep it warm, since it is clear that the radiation from the Sun is far mightier than the radiation, infrared, emitted from the earth and oceans.

The idea that Greenhouse gases ‘cause’ warming is simply not true. Not even the most bigoted Alarmist would claim that these gases generate heat. Nor can they in any way add to the heat that is produced by the radiation for the Sun. Nor can a gas, Carbon Dioxide, trap heat. At most these gases can delay for a very short time the exit of that same said heat, and that would be only at night.

Any layman can learn and understand these principles – from which it is clear that there is no such thing as man-made Global Warming – there never has been and never can be. Far from Greenhouse Gases leading to Global Warming, precisely the opposite is true – without the Greenhouse gases we would all be fried to a cinder!


August 2013 Anthony Bright-Paul

(Acknowledging also corrections and additional information from Hans Schreuder.)

PS How do astronauts survive the extreme temperatures on the moon?

From what I understand it gets up to 260 degrees (more than hot enough to boil water) in the daylight and as cold as -400 degrees in the dark. How do the astronauts avoid freezing or boiling?

When anyone asks what “the temperature” is, your very first question should be “the temperature of WHAT?” When “it” gets up to 250 F, you have to know precisely what “it” is. In this case, “it” is the rocks and dust of the lunar surface. That is, the figures cited are lunar surface temperatures.

What we commonly think of as “temperature” in our environment is air temperature. So when you say, “Today it was 75 F in Los Angeles,” what you’re saying is that the air was 75 F. The hot pavement in the parking lot may have been 150 F. And the concrete floor of the bottom level of a parking garage may be 60 F. That is, each item in an environment doesn’t all come to the same temperature.

But more importantly, there’s no air on the Moon. So air temperature is meaningless. The surface may get very hot, but that doesn’t mean everything nearby will get that hot. How hot something gets in space depends largely on how much heat it absorbs from the sun. The lunar soil absorbs 85-90% of the solar energy (1300 watts max per square meter) that falls on it. So when the sun shines most directly on it it — lunar noon — it’s sucking up a lot of heat.

A space suit, on the other hand, absorbs only about 15% of the solar energy that falls on it. And the outer layers are heavily insulated from the inner layers. Aluminum absorbs only about 5% of the solar heat. Things made of aluminum don’t always heat up very much in space.

An astronaut’s boots touch the surface directly and so absorb heat from it. But again, insulation is the key. You can walk very easily in ordinary shoes across asphalt that’s 150 F or more without any ill effects. Your shoe soles get hot, but little of that heat conducts to your feet. Same with the astronauts. They had about an inch total of boot sole between them and the ground.

And the other key factor is that the Apollo missions landed in lunar morning. The sun was low in the sky. And just as surface temperatures on Earth take a while to warm up as the sun climbs, so do lunar surface temperatures. I computed once that the average lunar surface temperature during Apollo 11 was only about 30 F. The sun hadn’t risen very far yet.

Even at lunar noon, the hot part only goes down less than a meter. Dig more than a few centimeters below the surface, and you’ve got very cold rocks and dust. The sunlight never penetrates there, and heat conducts very poorly through the jumble of rocks and dust.

Keep in mind that +250 F and -300 F are the extremes. Most of the surface temperatures measured on the surface will lie somewhere in the middle of those. And it takes a long time for any object to change between those extremes. It’s not like you stand in full sun and then walk into the shadow of the spacecraft and your suit temperature immediately plummets to hundreds of degrees below zero. Heat transfer just doesn’t work that fast.

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Voyager 2 has discovered something amazing: Denser space outside the solar system

In November 2018, after a 41-year voyage, Voyager 2 crossed the boundary beyond which the Sun’s influence ends, and entered interstellar space. But the mission of the little probe is not yet complete – it continues to make amazing discoveries

Perhaps the probes have found some kind of traffic jam at the edge of the solar system. The Voyager flight continues and we will soon find out what it was.

Voyager 2 discovered something amazing: as the distance from the Sun increases, the density of space increases.

Voyager 1, which entered interstellar space in 2012, transmitted similar indicators to Earth. New data have shown that the increase in density may be a feature of the interstellar medium.

The solar system has several boundaries, one of which, called the heliopause, is determined by the solar wind, or rather by its significant weakening. The space inside the heliopause is the heliosphere, and the space outside is the interstellar medium. But the heliosphere is not round. It looks more like an oval, in which the solar system is at the leading edge, and a kind of tail stretches behind it.

Both Voyagers crossed the heliopause at the leading edge, but within 67 degrees heliographic latitude and 43 degrees longitude apart.

Interstellar space is usually considered a vacuum, but this is not entirely true. The density of matter is extremely small, but it still exists. In the solar system, the solar wind has an average density of protons and electrons from 3 to 10 particles per cubic centimeter, but it is lower the further from the Sun.

The average concentration of electrons in the interstellar space of the Milky Way is estimated to be about 0.037 particles per cubic centimeter. And the plasma density in the outer heliosphere reaches approximately 0.002 electrons per cubic centimeter. When the Voyager probes crossed the heliopause, their instruments recorded the electron density of the plasma through plasma oscillations.

Voyager 1 crossed the heliopause on August 25, 2012 at a distance of 121.6 astronomical units from the Earth (121.6 times the distance from Earth to the Sun – about 18.1 billion km). When he first measured plasma oscillations after crossing the heliopause on October 23, 2013 at a distance of 122.6 astronomical units (18.3 billion km), he found a plasma density of 0.055 electrons per cubic centimeter.

After flying another 20 astronomical units (2.9 billion kilometers), Voyager 1 reported an increase in the density of interstellar space to 0.13 electrons per cubic centimeter.

Voyager 2 crossed the heliopause on November 5, 2018 at a distance of 119 astronomical units (17.8 billion kilometers. On January 30, 2019, it measured plasma oscillations at a distance of 119.7 astronomical units (17.9 billion kilometers), finding that the density plasma is 0.039 electrons per cubic centimeter.

In June 2019, Voyager 2’s Instruments showed a sharp increase in density to about 0.12 electrons per cubic centimeter at a distance of 124.2 astronomical units (18.5 billion kilometers).

What caused the increase in the density of space? One theory is that the lines of force of the interstellar magnetic field become stronger with distance from the heliopause. This can cause electromagnetic ion cyclotron instability. Voyager 2 did detect an increase in the magnetic field after crossing the heliopause.

Another theory is that the material carried away by the interstellar wind should slow down in the heliopause, forming a kind of plug, as evidenced by the weak ultraviolet glow detected by the New Horizons probe in 2018, caused by the accumulation of neutral hydrogen in the heliopause.

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NASA has banned fighting and littering on the moon

New details of the agreement signed by representatives of a number of countries on the development of the moon and the extraction of minerals within the framework of the Artemis program have appeared. Reported by the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA).

So, astronauts involved in the mission are prohibited from littering and fighting on the territory of a natural satellite of the Earth.

So, we present to you the new rules for being on the Moon:

Everyone comes in peace;

Confidentiality is prohibited, all launched objects must be identified and registered;

All travel participants agree to help each other in case of emergencies;

All received data is transferred to the rest of the participants, and space systems must be universal;

Historic sites must be preserved and all rubbish must be disposed of;

Rovers and spacecraft should not interfere with other participants.

“”It is important not only to go to the moon with our astronauts, but also that we bring our values ​​with us,” said Mike Gold, acting head of NASA’s international and inter-agency relations.

According to him, violators of the above rules will be asked to “just leave” the territory of the moon.

The effect of these principles so far applies to eight signatory countries of the agreement: the USA, Australia, Canada, Italy, Japan, Luxembourg, the United Arab Emirates and the United Kingdom. Countries other than China can join if they wish.

 It should be noted that at the moment NASA is prohibited from signing any bilateral agreements with the PRC leadership.

The first NASA mission to the moon, known as “Artemis 1”, is scheduled for 2021 without astronauts, and “Artemis 2” will fly with a crew in 2023.

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Methane snow found on the tops of Pluto’s equatorial mountains

Scientists believe that it arose as a result of the accumulation of large amounts of methane at an altitude of several kilometers above the surface of the planet.

In the images of the Cthulhu region – a dark region in the equatorial regions of Pluto – planetary scientists have found large reserves of methane snow that covers the peaks of local mountains and hills. It formed quite differently from how snow forms on Earth, astronomers write in the scientific journal Nature Communications.

“The white caps on the tops of Pluto’s mountains did not arise from the cooling of air currents that rise along the slopes into the upper atmosphere, as it happens on Earth, but from the accumulation of large amounts of methane at an altitude of several kilometers above Pluto’s surface. This gas condensed on the mountain tops, “the scientists write.

We owe almost everything we know about Pluto to the New Horizons interplanetary station. It was launched in January 2006, and in mid-July 2015 the station reached the Pluto system. New Horizons flew just 13 thousand km from the dwarf planet, taking many photographs of its surface. 

New Horizons data indicated an interesting feature of Pluto – in its depths, a giant subglacial ocean of liquid water can be hidden. It can be a kind of engine of those geological processes, traces of which can be seen on the surface of a dwarf planet. Because of this discovery of New Horizons, many discussions began among planetary scientists. Scientists are trying to understand how such a structure could have arisen, as well as to find out the appearance of Pluto in the distant past.

Members of the New Horizons science team and their colleagues from France, led by planetary scientist from NASA’s Ames Research Center (USA) Tanguy Bertrand, have discovered another unusual feature of Pluto. They studied the relief of one of the regions of the dwarf planet – the Cthulhu region. This is what astronomers call a large dark region at Pluto’s equator, which is whale-like in shape and is covered in many craters, mountains and hills.

Snow in Pluto’s mountains

By analyzing images of these structures taken by the LORRI camera installed on board New Horizons, astronomers have noticed many blank spots on the slopes of the highest mountain peaks. Having studied their composition, scientists have found that they consist mainly of methane.

Initially, planetary scientists assumed that these are deposits of methane ice. However, Bertrand and his colleagues found that the slopes and even the tops of Pluto’s equatorial mountains are actually covered not only with ice, but also with exotic methane snow that forms right on their surface.

Planetary scientists came to this conclusion by calculating how methane behaves in Pluto’s atmosphere. In doing so, they took into account how the molecules of its gases interact with the sun’s rays and other heat sources. It turned out that at the equator of Pluto, at an altitude of 2-3 km from its surface, due to the special nature of the movement of winds, unique conditions have formed, due to which snow is formed from methane vapor.

Unlike Earth, where such deposits are formed as a result of the rise of warm air into the upper atmosphere, on Pluto this process goes in the opposite direction – as a result of contact of the cold surface of the peaks and slopes of mountains with warm air masses from the relatively high layers of the dwarf planet’s atmosphere.

Previously, as noted by Bertrand and his colleagues, scientists did not suspect that this was possible. The fact is that they did not take into account that due to the deposition of even a small amount of methane snow and ice, the reflectivity of the peaks and slopes of mountains in the Cthulhu region increases. As a result, their surface temperature drops sharply, and snow forms even faster.

Scientists suggest that another mysterious feature of Pluto’s relief could have arisen in a similar way – the so-called Tartarus Ridges, located east of the Sputnik plain. A distinctive feature of this mountainous region is strange peaks that are shaped like skyscrapers or blades. Bertrand and his colleagues suggest that these peaks are also methane ice deposits that grow “from top to bottom.”

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