In their long journey to the moon, the Apollo missions never left Earth’s atmosphere. The Earth’s atmosphere extends far further into space than previously thought. It extends 630,000 kilometers into space, 50 times the diameter of the Earth. A group of scientists only recently found this. The Moon is encased in this magnificent atmosphere.
When the SOHO spacecraft of NASA and ESA employed a highly sensitive sensor called Swan to monitor Lyman-alpha photon emission from hydrogen atoms in the ultraviolet range, it discovered this.
The geocorona is depicted (not to scale). ESA is the source of this image.
According to Russian Space Research Agency astronomer Igor Baliukin, the Moon passes through Earth’s atmosphere. “We didn’t realize this until we dug out the SOHO satellite’s observations from twenty years ago.
The geocorona’s margins are invisible from the ground. We must measure it from space in order to see it. In 1972, astronauts on the Apollo 16 mission photographed the geocorona from within it without even realizing it. According to Jean-Loup Bertaux, lead scientist and co-author of the Swan project, astronauts on the Moon’s surface were unaware that they were trapped in the geocorona.
Geocorona is made up of neutral hydrogen atoms that shine in the ultraviolet spectrum and is found on the far side of the exosphere.
These facts are altering our perceptions of the planet’s atmosphere. This knowledge might aid our hunt for Earth-like planets with potentially habitable circumstances.