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back to article Highest point on the Moon found: Higher than Mount Everest

Space boffins say they have identified the highest point on the Moon, and that it stands higher above the lunar surface than the summit of Mount Everest does above Earth's. The highest point on the Moon. Credit: NASA/GSFC/Arizona State University Top o' the moon, ma According to Mark Robinson, chief of the Lunar …

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Coat

Expect the phone call

Hello, Tensing? It Edmund here. Yes, Edmund Hillary. I know, long time no see. Say, are you buys next next week because there's this mountain <click> .... Hello, Tensing, are you there"

Mines the one with "Ropes are for wimps" in the pocket

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Boffin

Normal height?

As is well-know, we terrestrials measure height above or below sea level*. But what is the reference on the Moon? Surely, there is no sea level and if they took the lowest point as a reference it would be odd to compare against the heights on earth.

*what about changing sea levels?!

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Mean spheroid

Generally you calculate the height of features by how much they diverge from the imaginary spheroid that most closely matches the Moon's shape. On the Moon that's a spheroid with an equatorial radius of 1,738.14 km and a polar radius of 1,735.97 km.

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Joke

Of course there are seas on the moon.

Well there are mare :)

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Earth's speroid without water

Since the average depth of the oceans is approx 4000m and the sea makes up around 71% of the Earth's surface, the Earth's mean spheroid without water would be approx 3km lower.

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Nonsense

"The highest point on the Earth is at the summit of Mount Everest, which is 8,848 meters (29,029 feet) above sea level. The lunar high point is 1938 meters higher than that of the Earth!"

This is clearly nonsense as the Moon has no seas (rather than areas called seas). If you do this on an equivalent basis (considering only the solid surfaces) then the tip of Mt. Everset is over 19,700 metres higher than the low point.

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Boffin

Furthermore...

...the summit of Mount Everest is NOT the point of the Earth's surface which is furthest from the centre of the planet. Because the Earth is an oblate spheroid, i.e. 'flattened' at the poles, mountains nearer the equator have a natural advantage :) The peak of Chimborazo, at 1.6deg from the equator, is a whole two *kilometres* further from the planet's centre than the peak of Mt Everest. Nice explanation, and hints for if you want to pop up to the top any time, here: http://www.summitpost.org/chimborazo/150349

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Anonymous Coward

Apples and pears

ISTR that the oceans average about 3km deep - add that to Everest for a comparable measure of height "from the surface".

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WTF?

Ah, but...

You're counting the Earth from Sea level, what if you take the water away as there is none on the moon?

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Joke

Yeah, I mean from sea level

it's at least a quarter of a million miles higher!

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Question

How do they define the level of the lunar surface? There is no sea-level to take it from. Do they just calculate the mean level of the lunar surface? Has this level changed as a result of the new scanning? What would the heigh of Everest be if taken from a similar reference point? It is all very well suggesting the highest point on the moon is higher than the highest point on earth but as they must use different reference points for that hight it seems meaningless.

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Coat

If I'm not the first to state the obvious:

Of course it's higher than Everest, it's up on the moon, which is UP IN THE SKY people.

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Only at night

The moon is only up in the sky at night. During the day the moon is below the sourthern hemispere, so it is much lower than Everest.

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no

"During the day the moon is below the sourthern hemispere"

Except, of course, when it's not.

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The Moon Has No Oceans

What about the hight of everest above the lowest point on the earths surface as the moon has no oceans? Quick google...

Everest 8848m above sea level

Mariana Trench -10,971m below sea level

This gives a maximum vertical displacement of 19,819m, a significantly greater range than the puny lunar range of 10,786m.

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lardy Earth

Not to forget that in terms of the radius of the Earth, the sea level is not constant either, as the rotation causes Earth to bulge out at the equator by around 21km (radius) relative to the poles, and the sea level/atmosphere follows this bulge. Given that Everest is located a mite shy of 28 degrees North, and the Mariana Trench (using the Challenger Deep label on Google Earth) is located just above 11 degrees North, this takes a bit off the height of Everest, but it should still dwarf the Lunar mountain (and Mount Chimborazo in Equador has a peak further from the centre of the Earth than Mount Everest).

Of course, the Moon will have a similar bulge, but it will be smaller than that of the Earth as the rotational velocity of the Moon is lower, and the Moon is smaller anyway.

Perhaps NASA should stick to the science rather than attempting points-scoring press releases...

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Headmaster

Technically...

Oceanus Procellarum - Ocean of Storms is on the moon.

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Boffin

rotational velocity of the Moon is lower

Yes1 axial revolution every 28 days...

More importantly its tidally locked to earth, as a result I'd expect it to have a tidal bulge facing earth, the gravity is lowest at the centre of the side facing (being pulled by) earth, is this per chance where said mound exists??

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Headmaster

Romanically....

Technically there are no oceans. Oceanus Procellarum was romantically assigned, not a technically assigned, name.

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FAIL

Above sea level?

But surely if you ignore all that water which is sitting in holes on the Earth's surface things become more comparable - the ocean is more than 2km deep in general.

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Headmaster

Sea level?

Apart from the areas that are named as 'seas' there aren't any on the moon.

So we need to measure the height of Everest from the ocean floor rather than a bit higher up.

( No , I don't know. I'm hoping someone else does)

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Stop

What is the height measured from?

Unless conspiracy theorists are to be believed, there is no sea on the moon. So what is the height measured from? If it's going to be a fair comparison then surely they should be measured in an identical fashion.

Damn those scientists and their fuzzy claims.

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If the Earth was as dry as the Moon...

Then Everest would be much taller.

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@Matthew 17

Yes, but no one would be around to care about such things.

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Headmaster

Erm...

Erm.....so where exactly is sea level on the moon!?

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Paris Hilton

highest point

As there is no sea level on the moon how is the 0M point judged?

If it is the lowest point then do we not have to count the lowest point on Earth? http://geology.com/records/deepest-part-of-the-ocean.shtml says it is 10,924 meters below sea level. By that method Mt Everest is 19772M high.

Paris as she usually strives to be the highest point on Earth.

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FAIL

Is this meaningful?

"The highest point on the Earth is at the summit of Mount Everest, which is 8,848 meters (29,029 feet) above sea level. The lunar high point is 1938 meters higher than that of the Earth!"

So to compare the highest point on the moon must be above Sea level - so where's the sea?

It must be more meaningful to compare the difference between the lowest solid surface point and the highest solid surface point on each sphere. I which case Everest to the Mariana Trench (depth approx 11.03 km). So combined "relief" is 19,881 which beats the moons bulge somewhat.

PS - I was expecting some spectacular side views of a towering mountain - not a wee arrow on an acned surface. Perhaps you can generate a Playmobil scene ?

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Joke

Impressive

..but probably a lot easier to climb than Everest due to lower gravity and fewer snow storms :)

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But...

...getting to base camp is more of a challenge.

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Black Helicopters

why go to base camp?

just land on the summit :)

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"with the ground sloping away around it at no more than 3° "

I want to see the playmonaut skiing down it.

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Physics lesson

Skiing relies on gravity, of which there is little on the moon. The pitiful 3 degree slope won't help either.

Although that said, apparently the fastest man on the moon was an alpine skiier, who found the technique much better than the loopy bouncing everyone else was doing.

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Happy

Exactly what you'd expect

Firstly, lunar gravity is 1/6 of the Earth's, so there's less downforce trying to flatten out a lunar mountain.

Secondly, the moon is a lot less hot inside than the Earth. Here, solid rock gives way to stuff with the consistency of toffee a few tens of miles down. Mountains melt from the bottom up over geological time (like icebergs, but slower). On the moon it's hard rock a lot further down (all the way? )

If they'd found that the Earth was wrinklier than the Moon, it would have been interesting.

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Anonymous Coward

Gravity

I wasn't aware that gravity has a particular effect on "flattening out" mountains.

Sure, if erosion causes a chunk of the mountain to become more of a rock, gravity, maybe helped by a gust of wind, will send the rock tumbling downwards, but doubt that is the main reason why mountains aren't taller. I would have though plate tectonics, volcanoes etc would be more resonsible.

But then, I'm not a geologist...

That's one small step for (a) man, one giant leap for a man with crampons.

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Megaphone

BS

Not really comparable, is it?

The moon doesn't have a sea level to measure it against. If our planet had just half the water, the everest would be higher than it is now...

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Anonymous Coward

Higher...

..but 83% less hard to climb.

Low gravity FTW!

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This post has been deleted by its author

Hardly fair.

Measuring from sea-level - after all we have one and the moon doesn't - unless they measured the moons high-point from the earths sea-level, but that would be a silly thing to do.

ttfn

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FAIL

above sea level!

So if you take away the sea (no sea on the moon) - then the highest point can be measured from the bottom of the deepest ocean IIRC Challenger Deep at 11,033m

So for earth the lowest to highest is 19,881m

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Sea level? On the moon?

I know they have found water ice on the moon but how do they know where "sea level" is?

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Tosh

Bet they're measuring highest point to lowest point.

On Earth that is approximately 19,900m.

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Pint

Selenean Summit

Superb, Lewis. Have a beer.

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FAIL

Wheres the sea

When did the moon get a sea to measure the sea level (Yes I know there are seas on the moon, but they are not liquid ones so don't count)

Actually should'nt they be using Mauna Kea as the reference point since thats the tallest object on earth at over 10000m(Wikipidea is annoyingly unprecise in this regard). But that is much closer to the 10,786 m of this object.

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No sea

The moon does not have a sea, so the highest point is being measured from the lowest point, if you follow.

The lowest point on Earth is at the bottom of the Mariana Trench (correct me if I'm wrong) therefore the moon's puny mountain is literally miles lower than our highest prominence, on a lowest-to-highest rating as was done on the moon. So there.

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Headmaster

Friday pedant's note

Does not the moon have an unfair advantage, in not having any real seas, above which it's high points must poke?

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Thumb Up

Good.,

We like the moon.

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Yag
Alien

And we like sea level!

just look at 90% of the comments.

(well, I was about to post the same kind of comment actually)

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Mean Radius

A little more research indicates that this is the height above the mean radius of the Moon (not the lowest point) so we'd need to know the mean radius of the Earth's solid surface rather than the sea level (which clearly isn't the mean radius either with, or without the oceans content).

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Really...?

"Space boffins say they have identified the highest point on the Moon, and that it stands higher above the lunar surface than the summit of Mount Everest does above Earth's."

Last I checked, the summit of Mount Everest was part of the surface of the Earth, and unless there's a sophisticated optical illusion in that photo, this mountain is part of the surface of the moon.

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(Written by Reg staff)

Re: Really...?

*headdesk*

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