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New study suggests the Moon may be shrinking

New study suggests the Moon may be shrinking”

Now, new research has tracked the epicenters of each small moonquake, and found that eight of them could be traced to within 20 miles of so-called fault scarps. Since rocky worlds expand when they heat up and contract as they cool, Mercury's large faults reveal that is was likely hot enough to be completely molten after its formation. Based on the quakes' proximity to the thrust faults, the researchers found that at least eight of the quakes likely resulted from true tectonic activity-the movement of crustal plates-along the thrust faults, rather than from asteroid impacts or rumblings deep within the moon's interior. Because the return to the Moon will include women, Bridenstine said the new program would be named Artemis, after Apollo's twin sister. A paper describing the work, co-authored by Schmerr, was published in the journal Nature Geoscience on May 13, 2019.

He said: "It's quite likely the faults are still active today".

US astronauts placed seismometers on the lunar surface during the Apollo 11, 12, 14, 15 and 16 missions, recording 28 shallow quakes up to nearly 5 magnitude, which is moderate strength. They analyzed seismic data taken from 28 moonquakes recorded during 1969 and 1977 during the Apollo missions with a type of algorithm known as a sparse seismic network. These were very shallow quakes ranging in magnitude from 2 to 5.

As a result, researchers were able to "tentatively attribute" the recorded quakes to the faults. Those breaks in the surface produce thrust faults.

Some of the quakes also happened during a point in the moon's orbit when it was farthest from Earth, indicating that the tidal stress of Earth's gravity could have contributed to stress on the moon's crust.

By comparing lunar orbital imagery from NASA with seismic readings obtained almost half a century ago from equipment left on the moon by the Apollo missions, researchers believe they've figured out what's behind a pattern of mysterious moonquakes that have frustrated scientists for decades, seemingly originating from the upper few miles of the moon's crust: our neighboring satellite, believed to be a cold lifeless rock, is actually geologically alive, just like Earth. The surface of the moon, which is not as elastic as the skin of a grape berry, is broken multiple times and has formed thousands of cliffs. These faults resemble small stair-shaped cliffs, or scarps, when seen from the lunar surface; each is roughly tens of yards high and a few miles long.

More than 3,500 of the faults have been identified by the LRO. The astronauts also examined boulders and boulder tracks on the slope of North Massif near the landing site.

The newly accelerated goal - an endeavor likely to cost tens of billions of dollars - comes as NASA has struggled with the help of private partners to resume human space missions from US soil for the first time since the shuttle program ended in 2011.

Since LRO has been photographing the lunar surface since 2009, the team would like to compare pictures of specific fault regions from different times to see if there is any evidence of recent moonquake activity.

"For me, these findings emphasize that we need to go back to the moon", Schmerr added in the statement.

The announcement comes about six weeks after US Vice President Mike Pence called for an accelerated program to return humans to the lunar surface for the first time since the last Apollo lunar landing in 1972.



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