Like a Raisin: Study Finds Earth’s Shrinking Moon is Causing Quakes

A collage of images showing the moon's tectonic plates

A collage of images showing the moon's tectonic plates

Resembling stair-shaped cliffs, the fault scarps are tens of metres high and extend for several kilometres.

For the next wave of lunar missions, the space agency wants its moonwalkers to reflect today's astronauts, thus the name of Apollo's sister. The algorithm gave a better estimate of moonquake locations.

Astronaut James Irwin, lunar module pilot, gives a military salute while standing beside the USA flag during Apollo 15 lunar surface extravehicular activity (EVA) at the Hadley-Apennine landing site on the moon, August 1, 1971.

The U.S. Apollo program, NASA's forerunner to the effort at returning humans to Earth's natural satellite, tallied six manned missions to the moon from 1969 to 1972. The quakes ranged from about 2 to around 5 on the Richter scale.

As a result, researchers were able to "tentatively attribute" the recorded quakes to the faults. If this is correct, the discovery demonstrates that the moon pursues to be tectonically active today. They found it is less than 4 percent.

Studying the images along with the seismic data finally helped scientists piece together a picture of what is now causing frequent and regular quakes on the Moon.

This prominent lunar lobate thrust fault scarp is one of the thousands discovered in Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter Camera images. Researchers made this conclusion after analysing images taken by NASA's Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter.

To get down to the lunar surface and back, NASA will need a transfer module, a descent module for landing, and an ascent module to come back up from the surface.

The authors used their model to produce "shake maps" based on predictions of where the strongest shaking should occur, given the size of thrust faults.

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If it all works out, America will have an outpost on the way to Mars, quietly orbiting in the gravity between Earth and its Moon.

Additionally, one of the revised moonquake epicenters is just 13 kilometers (8 miles) from the Lee-Lincoln scarp traversed by the Apollo 17 astronauts. A large landslide on South Massif that covered the southern segment of the Lee-Lincoln scarp is further evidence of possible moonquakes generated by fault slip events.

In a press release, NASA said, "To land American astronauts on the Moon by 2024, we are working through the acquisition approach for the various projects".

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.

The Moon isn't the only world in our solar system experiencing some shrinkage with age.

Neither the moonquakes nor the moon shrinking is unsafe to us on Earth, said Steigerwald. "The moon's formation generated a lot of heat, and it has been gradually cooling off ever since". This rules out the possibility of asteroid impacts or rumblings from the moon's interior.

NASA will send the first woman, and next man, to the Moon by 2024.

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

Speaking later at a NASA town hall meeting, Bridenstine reiterated that the $1.6 billion in additional funding for 2020 is enough to get started on a 2024 lunar landing, and hopes to win bipartisan support for it in Congress. LRO is managed by NASA Goddard for the Science Mission Directorate at NASA Headquarters in Washington. Credit: NASA/GSFC/Arizona State University/Smithsonian.

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