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Far Side of the Moon

September 17, 2007

Have you ever thought about the visual experience on the far side of the moon? The moon is rotating around the Earth in an almost circular orbit. But our satellite planet has no circular motion around its own axis. That is called “bound gravitation” and it is the reason why we always see the same side of the moon. But how about the other one, the far side?

Imagine the moon had an atmosphere and was covered by a large ocean. Only on the other side there is a small continent with a population of intelligent mammals. Their temperament would probably be different from the one of human beings. It’s just because their days and nights are going on for two weeks each. For them the sun rises also in the east but reaches high noon only seven terrestrial days later. The range of temperature would be something between -100 C and +80 C (now, without atmosphere, it’s between -160 C and +120 C). The strange thing is: they would completely ignore the existence of Earth! They could never see Earth and they never could imagine to live just on a satellite of a much bigger planet. I bet they would think of their planet as being flat and round, the sun turning around them in slow motion and the limits of their planetary disk out there on the ocean would just dilute into dark night and space. Some individuals might come up with the idea that What You See Is NOT What You Get (WYSINWYG instead of WYSIWYG). They would speculate about a big and heavy mother planet that is controlling their own orbital rotation. But nobody would believe it. It’s just too crazy. And nobody would dare to prove it as you would risk to fall into empty space if you cross the borders of day and night.

Far side of the moon

The first picture of the far side of the moon taken 1959 by the Soviet satelite Luna 3

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