Space stunner: Moon is shrinking, shocking study reveals

Space stunner: Moon is shrinking, shocking study reveals

A new analysis suggests that the moon may still be shrinking today and actively producing moonquakes along these thrust faults. This creates stair-step cliffs called thrust faults as part of the crust is pushed up and over another close part of the crust.

Shallow moonquakes recorded at four different landing sites during the Apollo programme suggest that the Moon is now tectonically active, say scientists who have been trying to pin point the epicentre of the quakes with the help of data from NASA's Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter (LRO). These active fractures, or thrust faults, are responsible for moonquakes.

QUAKES: The moonquakes measure from about 2 to 5 on the Richter scale.

A team of American researchers designed an algorithm to analyze seismic data recorded by NASA's Apollo missions in 1960s and 1970s which provided epicenter locations of 28 quakes on the Moon from 1969 to 1977. The space agency has also recorded evidence of fault lines in a series of images.

As a result, researchers were able to "tentatively attribute" the recorded quakes to the faults.

The researchers found that moonquakes - first observed by Apollo astronauts over 50 years ago - tend to happen when the Moon is at or near its apogee, the point in the Moon's orbit when it is farthest from Earth. This is where additional tidal stress from Earth's gravity causes a peak in the total stress, making slip-events along these faults more likely.

For the first time, scientists have connected moon-quake data to the changing lunar landscape, showing that our satellite is tectonically active, according to the study published Monday in Nature Geoscience.

The budget increase is on top of the initial $US21 billion ($30.19 billion) budget request from NASA to accelerate the return to the lunar surface. "And then we will use what we learn on the Moon to take the next giant leap - sending astronauts to Mars". Mercury has enormous thrust faults - up to about 600 miles (1,000 kilometers) long and over a mile (3 kilometers) high - that are significantly larger relative to its size than those on the Moon, indicating it shrank much more than the Moon. Image captured by NASA's Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter (LRO). Boulder fields, patches of relatively high bright soil or regolith, are found on the scarp face and back scarp terrain (high side of the scarp, right-pointing arrows).

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"While there are many steps ahead in the budget and appropriations process, all of us at NASA should be very proud and excited by this unique opportunity", Bridenstine said in his video message.

They also compared the quakes' timing to the distance between Earth and the Moon, to test how tidal forces between the two orbs could have influenced the seismic behaviour. You can see a lunar fault cutting across it. Credit: NASA.

"This cooling results in global contraction of the Moon".

A team of geologists believe these cliff-like features are evidence of lunar tectonic activity.

Exploration technology: $132 million to speed the development of technologies such as solar electric propulsion and conversion of lunar polar ice to water.

The money would go toward ramping up NASA's previous plans for crewed missions to the moon starting in 2028.

"Under my Administration, we are restoring @NASA to greatness and we are going back to the moon, then Mars".

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