What is the Moon Made of? - Lesson for Kids

Instructor: Wendy McDougal

Wendy has taught high school Biology and has a master's degree in education.

The moon is one of the most familiar objects in the night sky. We can see it with our naked eye, but it still holds mystery. What is the moon made of? Join us as we head to space to find out.

The Moon: Our Natural Satellite

When you think of the moon, what comes to mind? Perhaps a full moon tinted yellow, looming large over a summer evening. Or maybe a silvery crescent moon brightly adorning a dark winter sky. Any way you look at it, our moon is both fascinating and mysterious. A faithful sidekick of planet Earth, it orbits as our only natural satellite. But what, exactly, is the moon? Is it truly made of green cheese like we read in storybooks? Is it a giant rock, or maybe an enormous ball of gas? Join us as we explore the moon and discover what really makes up this brilliant celestial body.

The sight of a full moon can be captivating
Full moon

A View From Earth

It's no surprise that people have been fascinated and puzzled by outer space since the dawn of time. And the moon is no exception when it comes to our curiosity. Unlike planets and stars, the moon is so close that we can see many of its features with our naked eye. Grey in color with large cracks and giant craters, it is clearly very different than our own blue and green planet. In fact, if you had to make your best guess, you might say the moon was made from rock. And you would be right!

The Lunar Crust

The moon has a very thick outer layer, or crust, made of hard rock. On the surface lies lunar soil, known as regolith. Have you ever seen pictures of astronauts Buzz Aldrin and Neil Armstrong leaving footprints in regolith as they walked on the moon? This layer of dust is the result of countless asteroids, comets and meteorites that have hit the moon over the years. Like cosmic jackhammers, they have blasted hard moon rock to bits.

Craters made by asteroids, meteorites and comets
Craters of the moon

Also included in the landscape of the moon are plenty of dead volcanoes. At one time, volcanic eruptions were a common occurrence, spewing molten lava. That lava is now hardened into a type of rock you may be familiar with: basalt. Basalt deposits are so massive on the moon that they appear as dark areas. In fact, the ''face'' of the man on the moon is made of enormous areas of basalt.

Basalt deposits can be seen on the full moon
Full moon

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