How Well Do You Know Basic Facts About the Moon?


By: Allison Lips

6 Min Quiz

Image: narvikk/E+/Gettyimages

About This Quiz

On May 25, 1961, President John F. Kennedy announced that the United States would put a man on the moon before the end of the decade. In July 1969, Kennedy's dream was made a reality. However, the Apollo program was not the first space program intent on exploring the moon. 

Since the 1950s, the United States and the Soviet Union had been launching probes and rovers into space in the hopes of collecting data about the moon. Despite several previous attempts to get an object to the moon, it wasn't until 1959 that Luna 2 became the first object to reach the surface of the moon. 

The United States would not have its first successful attempt to reach the moon until Feb. 2, 1964. On that date, Ranger 6 impacted the moon's surface, but was unable to send back the images that were part of its mission because the camera system short-circuited

Once the United States had some success sending objects to the moon, it focused on sending humans there. From 1969 to 1972, there were six manned missions on the moon. Since then, the United States, Russia, China and Japan have continued with unmanned exploration of the moon. 

If you think you're an expert on the moon, take this quiz and prove it! 

What year did the United States send astronauts to the moon?

While Eisenhower approved the United States' first space missions, it was John F. Kennedy who challenged the nation to send a man to the moon before the end of the 1960s. One of his quotes was "We choose to go to the moon in this decade and do the other things, not because they are easy, but because they are hard."


In terms of all the moons in the solar system, Earth's is the what?

The moon is called the moon because at the time it was discovered humans didn't know that other planets had moons. In 1610, Galileo Galilei discovered four of Jupiter's moons.


What on Earth does the moon affect?

The moon moderates Earth's wobble on its axis. This results in a relatively stable climate.


How far away from Earth is the moon?

The moon has a radius of 1,079.6 miles. It is also moving away from Earth about an inch per year.


How many days does it take the moon to make a complete orbit around Earth?

Even though the moon makes a complete orbit around Earth every 27 days, it appears to orbit the Earth every 29 days. The discrepancy is a result of the Earth rotating on its axis and orbiting around the sun at the same time as the moon moves.


What are the dark features of the moon called?

Maria are basins that were filled with lava billions of years ago. The different areas of the moon are composed of various rocks that differ in age and composition.


How hot does the moon get when the sun is beating down on it?

The moon's atmosphere is so thin that it doesn't provide much protection from the sun. However, when the moon is in darkness, the temperature drops to -280 degrees Fahrenheit.


Which country formed the Luna program to get a closer look at the moon?

Luna consisted of 17 robotic missions. It included the first look of the far side of the moon. The program lasted from 1956 to 1976.


What was the name of the first American spacecraft to orbit the moon?

Lunar Orbiter 1 gave humans the first view of Earth from the Moon. It launched on August 10, 1966. the mission lasted 80 days, ending on October 29, 1966.


How many humans have stepped foot on the moon?

On July 20, 1969, Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin became the first men to walk on the moon. The Apollo program ended in 1972.


Which ocean did Apollo 11 splash down in?

On July 24, 1969, Apollo 11 returned to Earth. The three men inside the command module were Neil Armstrong, Buzz Aldrin and Michael Collins.


How many manned Apollo missions were there?

Of the 11 manned Apollo missions, six landed on the moon. On Dec. 11, 1972, the last manned moon landing took place.


What was the name of the Lunar Module that carried Buzz Aldrin and Neil Armstrong to the moon?

On July 21, 1969, Neil Armstrong stepped on the moon's surface at 10:56:15 pm EDT. Buzz Aldrin left Eagle 19 minutes later.


What was the name of the only rocket to transport humans beyond low Earth orbit?

Saturn V was used to launch Apollo missions and the Skylab space station. The version used on the Apollo missions had three stages. The third stage pushed the spacecraft toward the moon.


Where did Apollo 11 land on the moon?

The Sea of Tranquility was one of 30 sites NASA considered.When deciding where to land on the moon, NASA took smoothness, slope, the amount of propellant required, and how they would approach the site into consideration.


What was the name of the last manned mission to the moon?

On Dec. 7, 1972, Apollo 17 became the last manned space mission to the moon. Harrison "Jack" Schmitt, Ron Evans and Eugene Cernan were the three men on board the spacecraft.


Jim Lovell was the commander on which ill-fated Apollo mission that had to abort its moon landing?

John Swigert, Fred Haise and James Lovell flew on Apollo 13. The mission was supposed to explore the Fra Mauro area, but an explosion changed NASA's plans. The landing site was reassigned to Apollo 14.


Which country has not landed a rover on the moon?

The two Russian rovers were called Lunokhod 1 and Lunokhod 2. The Chinese lunar rover is called Yutu.


When does a lunar eclipse occur?

A specific geographical location experiences a lunar eclipse approximately every 2.3 years. The same location will experience a lunar eclipse once every 375 years.


Which of the following is not a phase of the moon?

The lunar phases are new moon, waxing crescent, first quarter, waxing gibbous, full moon, waning gibbous, third quarter and waning crescent. The third quarter is also called the last quarter moon.


What is the leading theory about the moon's origin?

NASA believes that approximately 4.5 billion years ago a Mars-sized object hit the Earth. The resulting debris formed a natural satellite. At the time, the moon was in a molten state and about 100 million years it hardened.


What is the radius of the moon's core?

The moon's core is made up of iron. It is surrounded by a liquid iron shell that is about 56 miles thick.


What was humanity's first attempt to send a spacecraft to orbit the moon?

Pioneer 0 is also known as Able 1. It was humanity's first attempt to send a spacecraft outside Earth's orbit. Pioneer 0's launch predates NASA.


Where did the Apollo missions launch from?

Kennedy Space Center is located on Merritt Island. It was originally called Launch Operations Directorate.


Which moon orbiter was launched on February 17, 2007?

ARTEMIS stands for Acceleration, Reconnection, Turbulence, and Electrodynamics of the Moon's Interaction with the Sun. It is the first mission to orbit the points of the moon where the Earth and moon's gravity balance perfectly.


Which mission was considered a dress rehearsal for Apollo 11?

Thomas P. Stafford, John W. Young, and Eugene A. Cernan were the crew on Apollo 10. It launched from Kennedy Space Center on May 18, 1969.


The moon's gravity is what of Earth's?

A person who weighs 132 pounds would weigh 22 pounds on the moon. However, their mass would remain the same.


How many miles an hour does the moon travel around Earth?

As the moon rotates around Earth, it keeps the same side of the toward Earth. From Earth, only 60 percent of the moon can be seen. The dark side of the moon has only been photographed from space.


How many hours did it take Apollo 11 to reach the moon?

Apollo 11 travel 240,000 miles to reach the moon. Television coverage of the landing was watched by 600 million people.


What did Neil Armstrong say as he walked out of the Eagle?

Neil Armstrong insisted that he actually said "That's one small step for a man." Communication experts have analyzed the recordings and are still unsure about what exactly he said.


Which craft was the first to reach the surface of the moon?

Luna 2 was sixth Soviet attempt to send an object to the moon. However, it was the first successful attempt from any nation.


What was the English name of Japan's first lunar probe?

Hiten made 11 flybys of the Moon. On April 10, 1993, it was purposely crashed into the Moon.


What was the first unmanned Chinese lunar-orbiting spacecraft?

Chang'e 1 was launched on Oct. 24, 2007. The mission cost approximately $169 million.


Who was the first person to play golf on the moon?

In 1971, Alan Shepard hit two golf balls on the moon's surface. He placed a Wilson 6-iron head onto a device that was designed to take lunar soil samples.


Which astronaut left a photo of his family on the moon?

Duke's photo features his two sons, his wife, and himself. On the back, he wrote, "This is the family of astronaut Charlie Duke from the planet Earth who landed on the moon on April 20, 1972."


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