Almost every planet and moon in our solar system has impact craters. Even small
bodies like asteroids have impact craters. Impacts can be catastrophic events
with disastrous results, such as the impact 65 million years ago in the Yucatan Peninsula
that wiped out the dinosaurs.
Though impacts on planets and moons can be devastating, much can be learned
from the craters they create. Some of the things we can learn from impact
There are very few impact craters on Earth that have not been eroded away by
geologic or atmospheric processes. The Moon is another story. It has no
atmosphere and is geologically dead. Because of this, the Moon is an excellent
place to study impact craters.
The Moon was formed approximately 4.6 billion years ago. The currently accepted theory is that
an object about the size of Mars slammed into Earth and the Moon formed from
debris that was ripped from the Earth. For a great article about this theory,
Nova's recent production of "Origins" calls this the "Big
Whack" theory. To see an animation, click here.
The early formation period of the solar system was a dangerous place. There
were constant collisions of bodies, such as asteroids colliding on the Earth and
Moon, and the other planets in the solar system. This era is known as the period
of heavy bombardment.
Geologic processes have occurred on the Moon in the past, such as lava flows
which can be seen today as maria. They are the dark areas seen from Earth, and
may look like the "Woman in the Moon," the "Man in the
Moon," or a rabbit. Lava stopped flowing on the Moon approximately 2
billion years ago.
When you have completed this exercise, you will have your own observing
book filled with images of lunar craters named for women. You will also learn
the properties of these features. Have fun and good luck!
Check out the Web sites
listed above to learn more about maps and coordinate systems. Be sure to
Trek: Mapping New Worlds.
Print out the puzzle by
here. This is a .pdf
file and you must have Adobe Acrobat Reader to open this file. Here is a .jpg
file if you are unable to open the .pdf file.
To find the 28 names listed
on the right side of the puzzle, use the coordinates provided at the bottom
of the page. A couple of things to keep in mind...N=north; S=south; E=east;
W=west. Also, if the number is 78.1E, for example, the letter will be found
in the east column under 70; if the number is 0.3N, it will be found in the
0 row. Columns run from up to down; rows run from left to right.
Example: Using 0.3N,
78.1E. Find the point where 0 latitude (north/south) and 70 longitude (east
in this case) intersect. You will find the first letter of her name is J.
as your starting point, look up, down, and diagonally, and forward and
backwards, to find her name. (The name is Jenkins.)
Write the name next to the
Find the other 27 names in
the word find puzzle and write the names next to the coordinates.
Get your favorite highlighter
and highlight the first letter of each name.
Go to the Map-A-Planet Web
site by clicking here.