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Solar system
The Moon

About the same age as Earth: 4.5 billion years


Solar system

Avg. distance from Earth

384,400 km (238,900 miles)


3476 km (2160 miles)

Orbital period around Earth

27 Earth days


7.35 x 1022 kg

Distinguishing features

The Moon has no atmosphere or magnetic field. Most rocks on the surface of the Moon seem to be between 4.5 and 3 billion years old, older than those usually found on Earth. Thus the Moon provides evidence about the early history of our solar system.

The heavily cratered surface of Earth's Moon (image courtesy of NASA)

Enlarge Image


"Fast Facts: The Moon" is a table that lists the Moon's age, location, average distance from Earth, diameter, orbital period around Earth, mass, and distinguishing features. A picture of the Moon is included.

Printer-friendly web page
Adaptable, at teacher's discretion
How to use in the classroom

Use this resource as:

A source of information. Read the table to find out about this object.

A large-number recognition and ordering activity. Have students review several Fast Fact moon tables, including this one. Have students read the tables to find each object's mass. Then ask them to arrange the objects according to their mass, from smallest to largest. Students also can arrange the objects according to their diameter.

A math activity. Use Newton's law of gravitation, the distance between Io and Jupiter, and the masses of the two objects to determine the gravitational force between them. (Recommended for grades 10-12)

An inquiry tool. Have students write down questions they would like answered about the image and the information in the Fast Facts table.

An engagement tool. Involve students in a discussion.

Related materials

Amazing Space resources by topic: Solar system

HubbleSite: Press releases on Moons