National Aeronautics and Space Administration Logo
Follow this link to skip to the main content NASA Banner
Solar System Exploration
Multimedia
Lunar Terrae
Lunar Terrae (click to enlarge)
 
 

Lunar Terrae

The major features of the Moon's surface can be seen by just looking up at it. It has lighter and darker areas. These distinctive terrains are the bright lunar highlands (also known as the lunar terrae, which is Latin for land) and the darker plains called the lunar maria, Latin for seas, which they resembled to Thomas Hariot and Galileo Galilei, the first scientists to examine the Moon with telescopes. The names terrae and maria were given to lunar terrains by Hariot and Galileo's contemporary, Johannes Kepler. In fact, the idea that the highlands and maria correspond to lands and seas appears to have been popular among ancient Greeks long before telescopes were invented. Although we now know they are not seas, we still use the term maria, and its singular form, mare.

Credit: NASA



Awards and Recognition   Solar System Exploration Roadmap   Contact Us   Site Map   Print This Page
NASA Official: Kristen Erickson
Advisory: Dr. James Green, Director of Planetary Science
Outreach Manager: Alice Wessen
Curator/Editor: Phil Davis
Science Writer: Autumn Burdick
Producer: Greg Baerg
Webmaster: David Martin
> NASA Science Mission Directorate
> Budgets, Strategic Plans and Accountability Reports
> Equal Employment Opportunity Data
   Posted Pursuant to the No Fear Act
> Information-Dissemination Policies and Inventories
> Freedom of Information Act
> Privacy Policy & Important Notices
> Inspector General Hotline
> Office of the Inspector General
> NASA Communications Policy
> USA.gov
> ExpectMore.gov
> NASA Advisory Council
> Open Government at NASA
Last Updated: 16 Jul 2013