Moon shrinking causes quakes

The moon is shrinking like a grape — and that may be causing ‘moonquakes,’ NASA says | The Kansas City Star

The moon is a lot more seismically active than we thought

The researchers mapped these focal points and compared them to faults lines spotted by the NASA's Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter (LRO) and found that eight of the moonquakes were caused by the movement of crustal plates along the faults rather than from asteroid impacts.

According to NASA's images, this process has caused the moon to shrink about 50 meters, or about 164 feet, in diameter from what it was back in 1972.

Thomas Watters, the lead scientist of the Nature publication says -"Our analysis gives the first evidence that these faults are still active and likely producing moonquakes today as the Moon continues to gradually cool and shrink". -Some of these earthquakes can be quite strong, about five on the Richter scale. On Earth, the quakes would have ranged in magnitude from about 2 to 5.

By looking at the size and location of the tremors, the algorithm estimates the epicenter of the moonquakes.

Using the new algorithm, the team found that 8 of the 28 shallow quakes lie within 30 kilometres from the faults visible in the lunar images. Future research can also help scientists understand what is occurring on other celestial bodies like the planet Mercury, which is also shrinking and has thousands of thrust faults. Instead, its tectonic activity occurs as it slowly loses heat from when it was formed 4.5 billion years ago.

Watters and his team also looked carefully at data from the Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter and identified areas near the faults that look like they've been recently disturbed - boulders that have rolled in the near past, or evidence of landslides. The measurement of these quakes proves that the Moon is shrinking and tectonically active as the results obtained from simulations run by scientists have reduced the chances of it being co incidence to less than four percent. The findings reveal that the moon has shrunk. "Our efforts will include new work at NASA centers to provide the key technologies and scientific payloads needed for the lunar surface, adding to efforts already underway across the country".

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Astronauts have described these fault marks as a step-shaped cliff.

NASA plans on sending "the first woman" and "next man" to the moon by 2024, via the Lunar Gateway. This is happening because the Moon's crust is not flexible, but brittle, causing the crust to break.

"Under my Administration, we are restoring NASA to greatness and we are going back to the Moon, then Mars", Trump tweeted.

The VP called on NASA to "reignite the spark of urgency" for space exploration and make it a priority to set "bold goals" and stay on schedule.

Seismometers left on the moon by Apollo missions recorded 28 moonquakes between 1969 and 1977. LRO is managed by NASA Goddard for the Science Mission Directorate at NASA Headquarters in Washington.

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