Astronomy

Lunar seas

Lunar seas

Did you know that there are seas not only on Earth, but also on the Moon? And did you know that the seas of the terrestrial satellite are visible to the naked eye, from our planet?

But, be careful: that our imagination does not play a trick on us by imagining large areas of salt water, agitated by large and numerous waves on the lunar surface. The lack of a consistent atmosphere prevented a hydrosphere from being created in our natural satellite.

If a night of clear sky (that is, without any cloud) we look at the sky and observe the Moon, we can distinguish different spots on it and even some craters distributed by lighter and darker areas. Well, those dark areas are what the experts call the lunar seas, which are areas of enormous extension and of little slope, which we can see with dark tones because they are formed by similar igneous rocks similar in composition to The land ones, surrounded by mountains.

Surely there will be those who wonder the reason why they are called seas (mare, in Latin and in the plural they say marias) to these esplanades surrounded by mountains, if they do not have any salt water body inside. Good observation.

The fact is that when astronomy still had precarious instruments to scrutinize the sky, astronomers observed those dark regions and, by comparison with how our seas were observed at night, they believed they were seeing seas. That's why they called them that.

As technology progressed, the error could be corrected, but the denomination was preserved, thus remaining names as poetic as the Sea of ​​Serenity or the Sea of ​​Tranquility. Precisely in the latter landed for the first time in the history of mankind, the man on the Moon. It happened in 1969, during the North American mission Apollo XI. The first human beings to step on the moon were Neil Armstrong and Elwin Aldrin. In addition to performing different experiments, they collected two hundred kilograms of lunar sediments.

Well, this type of seas (rocky) are not exclusive to the terrestrial satellite, but in The Solar System is also found on other planets such as Venus or Jupiter. Regarding the seas of liquid water, it is also possible that in our galaxy they occur, as astronomy progresses in its analyzes and studies.

Thus, in November 2011, Nature magazine reported the discovery of underground seas in one of the 65 moons of Jupiter, Europe. Some of them, like the terquequeos, seem to have a salty composition. The question has not been expected: if on Earth the water is life, on that moon, or on others, will there be life, even if it is underground?

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