According to a new research study, the Moon may be shrinking as it experiences lunar quakes, known as "moonquakes". It came as a surprise to scientists when NASA's Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter captured more than 3,500 images of faults on the surface that are younger than 50 million years old.
"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", Thomas Watters, a senior scientist from the Center for Earth and Planetary Studies said.
These cracks in the moon's surface can cause moonquakes, sometimes as strong as level five on the Richter scale.
Each recorded quake was about a magnitude 2 to 5 on the Richter scale.
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The faults created by lunar shrinking take the form of stair-like cliffs. The study was published May 13 in Nature Geoscience.
By looking at the size and location of the tremors, the algorithm estimates the epicenter of the moonquakes. Eight quakes occurred close to faults. Based mostly on the quakes' proximity to the thrust faults, the researchers discovered that a minimum of eight of the shocks seemingly resulted from correct tectonic exercise-the motion of crustal plates-alongside the thrust faults, somewhat than from asteroid impacts or rumblings deep throughout the moon's inside.
The photographs also show physical evidence of geologically recent fault movement - such as landslides and tumbled boulders. Researchers re-calculated the epicentres of these quakes and found that eight of them occurred near small cliffs produced along fault lines. They compared the data with more than 12,000 photos taken by NASA's Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter (LRO) since 2009 and determined the moon is 164 feet "skinnier" than it was in the early 1970s.
The New York Times' Robin George Andrews reports that there were explanations for numerous shakes. Meteorite collisions caused some, others were attributed to Earth's gravitational pull and others were caused by huge 500-degree temperature changes on the moon when night turns to day.
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According to a study published in Nature Geoscience, the Apollo missions observed the quake shocks on the Moon. According to scientists, it has caused the surface to wrinkle as it shrinks. He said that the name, after the goddess Artemis in Greek mythology, is in honor of the agency's plan to put the first woman on the moon.
NASA previously set a goal to land American astronauts on the lunar surface by 2028 - which was declared "not good enough" by Vice President Pence in March during a National Space Council meeting.
Bridenstine says even with more funding, the mission is more a question of time than money. Image credit: NASA / GSFC / Arizona State University / Smithsonian Institution. "This provides some very promising low-hanging fruit for science on a future mission to the moon", said co-author Nicholas Schmerr.
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