Moon is steadily shrinking, causing wrinkling on its surface and quakes
Moon is steadily shrinking, causing wrinkling on its surface and quakes
SHRIVELLING The Moon is wrinkling like a raisin as its core shrinks
14 May, 2019, 20:12
NASA says the moon isn't the only part of our solar system that is "shrinking with age", as planet Mercury has shrank more than the moon has. Researchers compared the location of the epicenters for those quakes with the orbiter imagery of the faults.
The relative proximity of the quakes to the faults suggest that they were triggered by geological activity rather than asteroid impacts or tremors from much deeper within the rocky body. Because the return to the Moon will include women, Bridenstine said the new program would be named Artemis, after Apollo's twin sister. The space agency has also recorded evidence of fault lines in a series of images.
He said: "It's quite likely the faults are still active today". "Not often do you get somewhere outside of the earth, active tectonics to see, therefore, it is very exciting to ponder that these fractions produce, perhaps, still moon quakes".
Astronauts placed five seismometers on the moon's surface during the Apollo 11, 12, 14, 15 and 16 missions. The quakes ranged from about 2 to around 5 on the Richter scale.
"Newly discovered cliffs in the lunar crust indicate the moon shrank globally in the geologically recent past and might still be shrinking today, according to a team analyzing new images from LRO spacecraft", NASA said at the time. This is close enough to tentatively attribute the quakes to the faults, since modeling by the team shows that this is the distance over which strong shaking is expected to occur, given the size of these fault scarps.
NASA's next mission to the Moon will be called Artemis, the U.S. space agency announced Monday, though it's still looking for the money to make the journey happen by its accelerated 2024 deadline. Unlike the flexible skin of a grape when it shrinks into a raisin, the moon's brittle crust breaks. Detectors laid down by Apollo astronauts half a century ago revealed small shakes on the Moon, but their causes weren't well understood.
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The discovery of young faults less than 50 million years old by the LSO's camera in 2010 has been interpreted as evidence of lunar tectonic activity. For example, bright patches of ground have been observed near faults, which appear to be patches of lunar regolith that have yet to be darkened by weathering and radiation.
Other LRO fault images show fresh tracks from boulder falls, suggesting that quakes sent these boulders rolling down their cliff slopes. With almost a decade of LRO imagery already available and more on the way in the coming years, the team would like to compare pictures of specific fault regions from different times to look for fresh evidence of recent moonquakes.
"We will once again astonish the world as we boldly go to meet our future in the skies and in the stars", Pence said during a speech to the National Space Council in October 2017. With a larger network of modern seismometers, we could make huge strides in our understanding of the moon's geology.
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This release is adapted from text provided by NASA's Goddard Space Flight Center. Researchers led by Thomas Watters, from the Smithsonian Institute in Washington, D.C., published their findings Monday in Nature Geoscience.
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