Contents

Preface ix

Acknowledgments xv

Introduction xvii

PART ONE: THE EARTH 1

1. The Earth: Fast Facts about a Planet in Orbit 3

Fundamental Information about the Earth 4

2. The Interior of the Earth 23

Moment of Inertia 26

The Brittle Crust 28

The Solid but Moving Mantle 32

High-Pressure Experiments 36

Rheology, or How Solids Can Flow 38

The Solid and Liquid Cores 43

Magnetic Field 46

Temperatures, Pressures, and Compositions 51

What Is Pressure? 52

3. The Early Evolution of the Planet Earth 57

Elements and Isotopes 64

4. The Visible Planet 71

How Old Is the Earth's Surface? 71

Surface Features 75

Determining Age from Radioactive Isotopes 76

Volcanism 87

Earthquakes 91

Atmosphere, Surface Conditions, and Weather 95

5. Life on Earth 105

Dr. Sara Seager and the Search for Extrasolar Planets 110

PART TWO: THE MOON 115

6. The Moon: Fast Facts about the Earth's Moon in Orbit 117

Formation of the Moon 118

7. Formation and Evolution of the Moon 125

Formation and Crystallization of the Lunar Magma Ocean 128

Highlands 131

The Late Heavy Meteorite Bombardment 135

Fossa, Sulci, and Other Terms for Planetary Landforms 136

Basins and Volcanism 140

8. The Moon's Interior and Surface Today 151

The Interior 151

Surface Features 152

Remote Sensing 156

The Insignificant Magnetic Fields and Atmosphere 168

Water on the Moon? 170

9. Missions to the Moon 173

Planned Missions 183

10. Conclusions: The Known and the Unknown 185

Appendix 1: Units and Measurements 189

Fundamental Units 189

Comparisons among Kelvin, Celsius, and Fahrenheit 191

Useful Measures of Distance 193

Definitions for Electricity and Magnetism 197

Prefixes 200

Appendix 2: Light,Wavelength, and Radiation 201

Appendix 3: A List of All Known Moons 210

Glossary 212

Bibliography and Further Reading 220

Internet Resources 222

Index 225

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