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Fun Facts: Moon, Space Exploration, and Google

Did you know...

  • The mass of the Moon is about one-eightieth of the Earth's mass.
  • The distance between the Earth and its moon averages about 238,900 miles (384,000 kilometers).  Armchair explorers can visit the Moon by downloading Google Earth 5.0 at
  • From measuring the ages of lunar rocks it's estimated that the moon is about 4.6 billion years old, or about the same age as Earth.
  • "Moon" was Buzz Aldrin's mother's maiden name.
  • Apollo 11's engines had a thrust equal to 92,000 locomotives. When the hold down clamps released, all 3,000 tons (6,000,000 pounds) of the rocket lifted up off the ground. People could hear, see, and feel Apollo 11 taking off. The engines caused a shock wave that could be felt for miles around. Two and a half minutes later, Apollo 11 was moving 9,000 feet per second. At this speed, you could go from Los Angeles to New York in only 24 minutes!
  • In high orbit, the temperature difference between the dark and sunlight is more than 200 degrees Celsius.  So, if one side of the spacecraft got too hot the electrical wiring that maintained the guidance system and the oxygen supply might collapse.  This meant that Apollo spacecraft had to rotate at intervals all the way to the Moon and back!
  • Space travelers have spent over 30,400 days (or a cumulative total of over 83 years) in space, including over 100 astronaut-days of spacewalks.
  • The man who has spent the most time in space is Sergei K. Krikalev, who has spent 803 days, 9 hours and 39 minutes, or 2.2 years.
  • The term 'astronaut' is derived from the Greek words ástron (ἄστρον), meaning "star", and nautes (ναύτης), meaning "sailor".
  • Laika (from the Russian: Лайка, literally meaning "Barker" or "Howler") was a Soviet space dog (c. 1954–November 3, 1957) who became the first living mammal to orbit the Earth.

Learning about Space with Google

  • Google is proud to have it's very own former NASA Astronaut, Ed Lu, who leads a team of Google engineers working on the Google PowerMeter.  The Google PowerMeter analyzes energy consumption data captured by “smart meters” and translates that into easy-to-understand information so people see where they can reduce energy use.
  • Only 24 people have been lucky enough to see our whole planet from Space, but you can enjoy this view anytime with Google Earth - it has been downloaded 500 million times!
  • More than 100 million stars and 200 million galaxies are visible in Google Sky - some of them have never been seen before by a human eye.
  • You can also explore the stars on your mobile phone.  In May, we introduced Sky Map for Android an app enables you to point your phone at any part of the sky, and see an annotated map of the stars, planets, and constellations you're looking at.  You can also search for specific objects and Sky Map will give you instructions to move your phone until you've found the exact location of the star, planet, or constellation you were seeking.
  • This isn't the first venture to the Moon for Google - back in September 2007 Google released a 2-Dimensional version of Moon that enables you to explore the surface of the Moon and Apollo landing sites in a 2D Google Map-style format.