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Study this free course
Enrol to access the full course, get recognition for the skills you learn, track your progress and on completion gain a statement of participation to demonstrate your learning to others. Make your learning visible!
Explore the many moons of our Solar System. Find out what makes them special. Should we send humans to our Moon again?
There are lots of moons in our Solar System. The Earth is the only planet with just a single moon. Some moons are bigger than ours; many are much smaller. There are even tiny moons orbiting some of the asteroids. Some have ongoing volcanic eruptions; others are dead, heavily cratered lumps. One has rivers and lakes of liquid methane. Our own Moon has resources that could help open the Solar System for future exploration. A small handful of moons have conditions below their surfaces where primitive life might exist.
Enrol to explore the rich diversity of moons, the fundamental processes that have shaped them, and the relationship between the Moon and the Earth. You will be under the guidance of experts from The Open University and elsewhere. The course is rich in high-quality text, images, video, audio and interactive elements.
This Open University science open course, presented on OpenLearn, is produced with the kind support of Dangoor Education.
An interest in learning about the moons of our Solar System and the methods used to understand them. Prior knowledge of astronomy is not expected.
After completing this course you will be able to:
- discuss the nature and diversity of moons in our Solar System, and their significance
- understand the general nature of moons' orbits and the effects of tides
- describe some of the possible origins of moons
- describe the compositions and nature of the surfaces and interiors of moons
- understand how impact craters are formed and recognise their significance for dating surfaces
- describe the nature and history of volcanic activity on several moons
- consider which moons may have subsurface oceans, and the implications for hosting native life
- recognise the history of manned and unmanned lunar exploration, and of some of the major discoveries
- recognise aspects of lunar samples seen under the microscope
- describe the different settings in which 'water' has been found on the Moon
- discuss the history of discovery and exploration of moons, and of future prospects
- suggest ways in which resources from the Moon may help future space exploration.
Record of achievement
By enrolling on this course you can track your progress and gain a Statement of Participation for completing the whole course.
Creative Commons: The Open University is proud to release this free course under a Creative Commons licence.
However, any third-party materials featured within it are used with permission and are not ours to give away. These materials are not subject to the Creative Commons licence. See terms and conditions and our FAQs.
Full copyright details can be found in the Acknowledgements section of each week.
Copyright & revisions
Originally published: Wednesday, 13th April 2016
- Creative-Commons: The Open University is proud to release this free course under a Creative Commons licence. However, any third-party materials featured within it are used with permission and are not ours to give away. These materials are not subject to the Creative Commons licence. See terms and conditions. Full details can be found in the Acknowledgements and our FAQs section.
- This site has Copy Reuse Tracking enabled - see our FAQs for more information.
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