Earth’s moon is shrinking and quaking, study says

Shrinking Moon may be experiencing powerful quakes to this day

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

Our Moon is slowly shrinking, creating wrinkles on the surface and causing moonquakes, which were spotted by the NASA Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter. Watters hopes the LRO team will be able to re-analyse fault scarps imaged by the orbiter since 2009 to find evidence of movement-that would be a smoking gun signature, he said.

Astronauts have placed seismometers on the moon over a series of past missions.

The new analysis, published this week in the journal Nature Geoscience, showed six of the eight quakes occurred when the moon was at its farthest point from Earth, its apogee, when tidal forces put additional stress on lunar faults.

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Trump announced all of his intentions in a series of tweets, which was later confirmed Monday evening, May 13 by the US space agency and Office of Management and Budget.

NASA leaders said today the White House will seek $1.6 billion in extra funding from Congress this fiscal year to meet its ambitious goal of sending a man and a woman to the Moon's surface in 2024, a program now officially named "Artemis" for the sister of Apollo, namesake of the original Moon mission program.

Watters says that the quakes can be strong, around a five on the Richter scale, according to the NASA statement. The Apollo 11 seismic instrument listened for rumbles in the moon's crust for only three weeks, but subsequent missions recorded 28 moonquakes. If they were very old, from a much earlier period in the Moon's history, then they would have filled in over the years with debris from crater impacts and other surface disruptions. However, the moon's surface crust is very brittle, and it breaks down as the moon shrinks, developing "thrust faults" where one area of the crust is pushed up over a nearby part.

Using the revised location estimates from the new algorithm, the team found that eight of the 28 shallow quakes were within 30 kilometers (18.6 miles) of faults visible in lunar images. It would also go towards exploration technology development and additional science missions to the moon. On Earth, the quakes would have ranged in magnitude from about 2 to 5. 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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So does this mean that the moon is unsafe for human exploration?

Rumblings under the lunar surface captured by Apollo-era equipment may be a sign that the Moon is still tectonically active, researchers say.

Nicholas Schmerr, another author of the study and assistant professor of geology at the University of Maryland, expressed his excitement on the result of the study and mentioned in a statement that faults producing moonquakes are different to that of Earth's. With a larger network of modern seismometers, we could make huge strides in our understanding of the Moon's geology. "She happens to be the goddess of the moon", said Bridenstine, referring to Greek mythology.

NASA announced Mr Trump challenged the agency to land at the south pole of the moon by 2024.

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According to the Office of Management and Budget, the extra money for the moon mission would come from surplus funding for Pell grants, the financial aid program for low-income college students.

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