Research

Moon's Shrinking May Be Causing Moonquakes

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The Moon is shrinking Five decades on Apollo mission data still surprising

The study estimates that some of these "wrinkle ridges" came about in the last billion years, while other "wrinkle ridges" could be no older than 40 million-years-old. Instead, its brittle surface cracks as it shrinks, resulting in "thrust faults", or cliffs akin to stair steps, per CNN. Six of moonquakes occurred while the moon was at or near its apogee, which is the point where the moon is farthest away from Earth.

He said: "Our analysis gives the first evidence that these faults are still active and likely producing moonquakes today as the Moon continues to gradually cool and shrink".

As of now, there are thousands of cliff all over the Moon's surface, which are few miles long and several yards high.

"NASA employees that are there can reach back into the agency and pull in computational fluid dynamics, they can pull in more resources, etc to help these small companies move forward, so we can truly partner", Gerstenmaier said.

Hints that the moon is not quite geologically dead though have been around since the Apollo era, 50 years ago. This, they say, all adds up to a strong case that fault movements are still occurring on the moon.

The LRO has imaged more than 3,500 of these fault scarps on the moon since 2009.

The White House and NASA announced May 13 that they will seek an additional $1.6 billion in funding for the agency in fiscal year 2020, a "down payment" on efforts to achieve a human lunar landing by 2024. Image LROC NAC frame M190844037LR. The algorithm then allowed scientists to better pinpoint the epicenters of the quakes.

It is measured on a machine called a seismograph. The Apollo 11 seismic instrument listened for rumbles in the moon's crust for only three weeks, but subsequent missions recorded 28 moonquakes. "We think it is very likely that these eight earthquakes were caused by fractures, which are slipped, after the voltage in the moon had a crust due to the global contraction and tidal forces", explained Watters.

The Taurus-Littrow valley is the location of the Apollo 17 landing site (asterisk).

NASA officials said they would turn to private companies such as Lockheed Martin Corp, Boeing and Jeff Bezos' Blue Origin for proposals on the design of Gateway and the human landing system.

"I have a daughter, she's 11 years old, and I want her to see herself in the same position that our current, very diverse astronaut corps now sees itself, having the opportunity to go to the moon", Bridenstine said.

To check their findings, researchers ran 10,000 simulations to see if this amount of quakes near faults can be coincidental, however, they found the chances are less than 4 per cent. Other events such as meteorite impacts can produce quakes, but those would produce different seismic signatures. These transmitted recorded data to Earth until 1977, showing vibrations caused by internal "moonquakes".

The team also investigated fresh looking tracks left by boulders that have been dislodged.

The recent research has been all about drawing a direct connection between the quakes and the "staircase on the Moon".

"We found that a number of the quakes recorded in the Apollo data happened very close to the faults seen in the [NASA's Apollo and Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter missions] LRO imagery", Nicholas Schmerr, an assistant professor of geology at the University of Maryland, said in a statement.

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