The Moon is the only natural satellite of Earth. It does not have an atmosphere, so parachutes and aerobraking will not work. However, it has a rocky terrain and it has many landmarks and surface features.
The Moon is the closest celestial body to Earth and has a low gravity (7 times lower than that of Earth in-game), making landing burns easy and orbital maneuvers less expensive in fuel. It is also the place where players then go to after orbiting the Earth.
Many players choose to go to the Moon after orbiting the Earth, and usually before visiting the Red Planet (Mars).
The terrain is covered with a lot of craters and a few mountain peaks. In between the craters the terrain is mostly flat with small craters on it. Some craters are inside a large crater, as seen above. Landing on an edge of a crater is safe, but there is a small risk of tipping over due to the Moon's gravity is so small. Landing on an edge of a mountain on the moon is safe, since the Moon's mountain peaks are not steep enough for rockets to tip over.
The safest zone to land on the moon is the areas between the craters. In that area, the terrain is mostly flat.
Moving on the Moon
Although the Moon has a low gravity at 1.42 m/s2, it is very high than Mars's moons, Phobos and Deimos, and has a higher gravity than the last 3 Galilean moons. RCS Thrusters are required to propel a rocket to liftoff. Considering the relatively low efficiency of the thrusters, 120s, moving on the surface with Rover Wheels or even using engines like the Kolibri Engine may be a more economic solution for moving.
There are many landmarks to explore on the moon. Some of them are craters, while others are basins and all sorts of things.
Mare Tranquillitatis is a sea on the moon. It is large in size and it is covered with some shallow craters.
Due to its large size, some landers will land on this point. The material from this location is mainly basalt, so sample return mission are recommended to land on this area. Some will even build bases on the surface.
Mare Tranquillitatis is the landing site of the famous Apollo 11 mission and Surveyor 5.
Mare Serenitatis is another sea on the moon. It is slightly smaller than Mare Tranquillitatis, and it has a few craters on its surface. The material is mainly basalt, just like Mare Tranquillitatis. Rovers and sample return missions are also recommended on this site.
Mare Serenitatis is the landing site of the Apollo 17 mission.
Tycho is a large crater on the moon. It is named after Tycho Brahe, a Danish astronomer. It can be a prime landing site for many landers and rovers.
Lunar bases can be built beside the crater or on the crater itself.
Oceanus Procellarum is an ocean on the moon. It has some craters on it. Copernicus is situated on this ocean.
Due to its large size, it is recommended for lunar bases and large landers.
It is the landing site of Luna 9 and 13, Surveyor 1 and 3, Apollo 12 and Chang'e 5.
Named after Nicolaus Copernicus, Copernicus is a large crater on the moon, located east of Oceanus Procellarum. The material on this crater is mainly young basalt which is darker than in any place in the moon. Apollo 12 landed south of this crater.
Lunar bases and some research probes are recommended on this site.
What to do on the Moon
The Moon is the next destination for players to explore after orbiting Earth. They first try to land on the moon, and then do complex things on the moon, such as Moon bases. Some even recreate famous space missions, such as the Apollo program.
They send different spacecraft on the moon, such as:
Impactors are spacecraft that are sent into a trajectory to the moon, then they crash on the surface of the moon. They can be intentional or not. When it crashes on the moon, the remains of the spacecraft would bounce on the moon a couple of times, then it lands safely on the surface, or it's destroyed entirely leaving a crater that is a few meters wide on the surface.
An orbiter or a satellite on the moon can be launched. Lunar flyby probes also passed on the moon, but they didn't land or orbit on the moon.
Some space probes used lunar gravity assists to help push the rocket out of the Earth's sphere of influence. However, it is unnecessary to do that in most landing missions; but in return missions, it is recommended to do that. One or two gravity assists can help push the rocket out of the earth and put it into a heliocentric orbit around the Sun with the right position.
Landers are spacecraft that land on the moon. Players usually do that before even going to do complex activities.
Moon rovers are vehicles that drive on the moon. They explore the surface of the moon. They can also be used to drive around to make a spot for a surface base.
Rovers may get upside down when going into rough terrain (such as craters or mountains); so, it is advised to drive slowly or make the rover a bit larger.
Lunar space station
A lunar space station can be built on the Moon. They usually sit in a medium orbit. They refuel spacecraft to land on the moon, and to return to Earth orbit and return safely. They can have their own lander, and return to the space station.
A lunar space station can be used to dock service modules and capsules while the other astronauts explore on the moon lander that has landed. They wait until the lander docks to the space station again. They then return to Earth.
Lunar bases and launch pads can be built on the moon, if they are near a crater on the moon, or if they are in a flat surface. The launch pad can be in the moon's craters or near the base, and can launch multiple rockets to send it to somewhere else.
Buildings may be built beside the launch pad.
There are two achievements that can be obtained on on Venus:
- Captured into low Moon orbit
- Landed on the surface of the Moon
- The moon in-game has less gravity than the real life moon.
- When the solar system is scaled to 1:20, the moon's orbit turns out to be 19,220 kilometres, not 11,200 kilometres in the game.
- The moon can be also called Luna.
- The moon's texture can be used on unknown moons, along with the Comet texture.
- The Moon has areas with red, blue or yellow on it.
- The Moon's gravity was reduced from 1.62 to 1.42 in version 1.4.
- The moon's eccentricity was decreased from 0.3 to 0.0549 in version 1.5.6.
- The first moon landing was Luna 9 on 3 February 1966 at 18:45:30 UTC. If you count hard landings, the first moon landing was Luna 2 at 13 September 1959 at 21:02:24 UTC.
- The first manned moon landing was Apollo 11 on July 20, 1969 at 20:17:40 UTC.
- At present, the Moon gets 3.8 cm further away from Earth every year.
- In about 50 billion years, the Moon will stop moving away from us and settle into a nice, stable orbit. At this point, The Moon will take about 47 days to go around the Earth. Currently, it takes a little over 27 days. (Source Here)
- Then it escapes earth's SOI because the sun's gravity takes it outside.
- The Moon formed by a Mars-sized planet crashing to Earth called Theia. The debris then coalesced to form the Moon.
- After its formation, The Moon even had a thick atmosphere: 0.012 bar to be exact, or about twice the atmospheric pressure of Mars today.
- The atmosphere was created by volcanic eruptions.
- The atmosphere was stripped away because of the solar winds. It was not replenished due to the inactivity of the moon.
- The moon actually has a very thin atmosphere in real life, composed of water vapor emitted from humid lunar dust as of the discoveries of the Chang'e missions, the Chandrayaan 1 mission, and NASA's LRO and LCROSS.
- The moon might have lava oceans once.
- The moon is the fifth largest moon in the solar system, and the 14th largest celestial body in the solar system.
- The moon is now explored by many spacecraft, including the Apollo spacecraft, which landed on the moon and returned back to the Earth safely.
- The moon has an egg-shape because of the tidal bulges of the Earth and the Sun, and its rotation around its axis.
- Some players even try to go to the moon, go back to Earth, go to the moon again, and return to Earth again. This thing is very complex, since they need a large rocket, or dock extra stages to the main rocket itself, or using a helping rocket to refuel and/or send it into the moon in the second attempt.
|Sun||Mercury • Venus • Earth (Moon) • Mars (Phobos · Deimos) • Jupiter (Io · Europa · Ganymede · Callisto)|
|Mars||Phobos • Deimos|
|Jupiter||Io • Europa • Ganymede • Callisto|