Tuesday, 23 July, 2019

Moon's Shrinking May Be Causing Moonquakes

The moon is shrinking like a grape — and that may be causing ‘moonquakes,’ NASA says | The Kansas City Star The moon is a lot more seismically active than we thought
Sandy Nunez | 16 May, 2019, 00:02

This, in turn, causes its surface to wrinkle, similar to a grape that shrivels into a raisin.

As of now, there are thousands of cliff all over the Moon's surface, which are few miles long and several yards high. Then the data from the '60s and '70s was laid on top of the 2010 data to create an algorithm to better understand where the quakes were coming from.

The study appears in the journal Nature Geoscience.

USA 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. Four of the seismometers operated from 1969 to 1977 and recorded 28 shallow moonquakes. On Earth, the quakes would have ranged in magnitude from about 2 to 5.

NASA also is trying to evolve its work culture, said Bill Gerstenmaier, associate administrator for human exploration and operations for the space agency. The study mentions that six of the eight quakes occurred when the moon was at its farthest point from Earth, its apogee. They found that the epicenters of eight quakes were near young faults and occurred when tidal stress on the moon was the greatest, suggesting that the moon is still cooling and causing these thrust faults to form. They found it is less than 4 percent.

NASA's revised plan scales down its previous plan for a platform in lunar orbit, known as the Gateway, so that it focuses more tightly on the needs for a single mission putting two astronauts on the surface in 2024. 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. Such tracks would be erased relatively quickly, in terms of geologic time, by the constant rain of micrometeoroid impacts on the Moon. In addition to being the goddess of the moon, Artemis was also the goddess of the hunt, with Orion her hunting companion.

Boulder movements and disturbed soil near the scarps also indicated tectonic activity.

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"This additional investment, I want to be clear, is a down payment on NASA's efforts to land humans on the moon by 2024", NASA Administrator Jim Bridenstine said in a call with reporters announced on a little more than an hour's notice that evening. These faults resemble small stair-shaped cliffs, or scarps, when seen from the lunar surface.

To humans, the moon appears solid and unchanging, but new evidence reveals that it is actually shrinking over time, causing lunar wrinkles and moonquakes.

The Moon isn't the only world in our solar system experiencing some shrinkage with age. "We all know that", he said. In place of Mercury and Mars, the moon is fundamentally a one plate planet says Thomas Watters a planetary scientist.

He added: "The president has granted us 1.6 billion additional dollars, that didn't come from the science mission directorate, it didn't come from the International Space Station - 1.6 billion additional dollars for our acceleration of the lunar programme so that we can get the next man and the first woman to the surface of the moon".

Astronauts would launch to the gateway and transfer to a lunar orbiter with a descent/ascent vehicle.

Rather than develop the lander itself, NASA is looking to commercial space companies to make that happen. The LROC is managed at Arizona State University in Tempe.