Earthguide Online Classroom


Earthrise Image of Earth rising over the horizon of the Moon, taken by crew of Apollo 8 on December 24, 2008. Taken during a time of unrest and environmental crisis, this image become an icon for a growing environmental movement in the U.S. marked by the establishment of the U.S. EPA. Source: NASA

Questions for discussion

  1. How should you dress for a trip to the Moon? Should you dress for warmer or colder temperatures than back at home?

    • What are the high and low temperatures found on Earth?

    • What are the day-to-night temperature swings?

    • What are the high and low temperatures found on the Moon?

    • How do we know the surface temperature of the Moon?

  2. What factor(s) set the Earth's temperature?

    • Does the distance to the Sun explain the surface temperature difference between the Earth and Moon?

    • Do differences in rotation rate and length of day and night explain surface temperature differences?

    • Do differences in the atmospheres fo the Earth and Moon explain surface temperature differences?

Related resources

Take away concepts

  • That the distance to the Sun is not the only factor that sets the Earth's surface temperature.
  • That the presence and particular composition of the atmosphere play an important role in setting planetary surface temperatures.
  • That the Earth and Moon have extremely different surface temperatures even though they are located at practically the same distance from the Sun.

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