Why Moon Is Getting Smaller?

Pat Wise
May 16, 2019

The study was published May 13 in Nature Geoscience.

In March, US President Donald Trump's administration moved the date for the next American lunar mission up by four years from its original goal of 2028 while pledging to get a female astronaut to the Moon's surface for the first time.

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. This causes its surface to wrinkle. Around $651 million is earmarked for the Space Launch System (SLS), the new large rocket NASA is developing, and the Orion capsule that would take astronauts to the moon and other deep-space destinations.

What's more, most of the Moonquakes occurred during times of the month when the tidal stresses between the Moon and Earth were at their greatest, which would make those faults more likely to slip and thus cause a quake. This is evidence that the moon, like Earth, is tectonically active.

This breakage results in thrust faults, where one section of crust is pushed up over an adjacent section.

The initiative to land the first American woman and next American man on the moon was named Artemis after the Greek goddess and twin sister of Apollo. This point, which is called apogee, is also the period during which Earth's gravity inflicts the most stress, or tidal pressure, on the Moon's structure. But 28 of those quakes were relatively shallow and powerful - one had a magnitude of 5.5, according to a NASA factsheet.

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The moon is getting smaller as its interior cools and it has become more than about 150 feet thinner over the last hundred million years.

They found that eight of the 28 recorded shallow quakes originated very close to faults visible in lunar images.

We found that the epicentres of eight near-surface quakes fall within 30km of a fault scarp, the distance of the expected strong ground shaking. These images show that there are boulders at the bottom of bright patches on the slopes of the faults. A new analysis of archival data from seismometers deployed during Apollo missions gives the first evidence that these thrust faults are still active and likely producing moonquakes today as the Moon continues to gradually cool and shrink.

But it's also a name that looks to the future, as a nod to NASA's five-year goal of landing a female astronaut as part of its planned mission to the lunar south pole. Impact craters, another common lunar feature, can help geologists better date these "wrinkle ridges" and their importance in the moon's cooling and shrinking activity.

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

"They use a lot of statistical arguments, and I think they do good science, but I wouldn't say it's definitely there", Ceri Nunn of NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory, not involved in the study, tells Mann.

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