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Earth’s moon is shrinking and quaking, study says

14 May 2019

The White House is asking Congress for an additional $1.6 billion for NASA's budget next year as the space agency attempts to return humans to the moon by 2024.

This in turn causes its surface to wrinkle, similar to a grape that shrivels into a raisin. This breakage results in thrust faults, where one section of crust is pushed up over an adjacent section. Still, to meet the five-year goal, NASA has said it would scale back the scope of the Gateway, at least initially. The researchers ran 10,000 simulations to calculate the chance of a coincidence producing that many quakes near the faults at the time of greatest stress.

By tracing the moonquakes both in time and location to places where the Moon's surface is most likely to be in motion, scientists are more certain than ever that the Moon is not dead yet, and is in fact still settling its own surface, and its interactions with its closest neighbor - our own Earth.

By analyzing images from NASA's Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter (LRO) and using an earth-based algorithm to more accurately pinpoint the epicenters of those quakes, the researchers found eight of them happened within 19 miles of "fault scarps", long clifflike formations crisscrossing the lunar terrain.

Other LRO fault images show fresh tracks from boulder falls, suggesting that quakes sent these boulders rolling down their cliff slopes.

Bridenstine said that around $1 billion of the additional funding would enable NASA to begin the development of a commercial landing system, which will transport astronauts from lunar orbit to the surface and back. 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.

The moon is slowly shrinking over time, which is causing wrinkles in its crust and moonquakes, according to photos captured by NASA's Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter. I think it is very attractive that 50 years after Apollo, the Artemis program will carry the next man and the first woman to the Moon. Analysis of the imagery shows that the lunar surface is covered in small, shallow, cliff-like features: faults. With the study, scientists can better understand how the moon is actively changing and how its movements impact future conditions on the lunar surface. The relatively small size of the Moon's fault scarps is in line with the more subtle contraction expected from a partially molten scenario. They will need to take the potential for moonquakes into consideration by avoiding landing near or building any permanent structures on particularly "active" areas, Watters says. Our solar system's innermost planet Mercury, too, boasts numerous thrust faults.

In addition to the groundbreaking research, NASA hopes that this new exploration will inspire the next generation of scientists.

In a tweet Monday evening, President Trump wrote: "Under my Administration, we are restoring @NASA to greatness and we are going back to the Moon, then Mars".

However, there are several significant challenges to overcome before the Artemis program-which is still in the early stages of development-will be ready put people on the moon, and some experts are concerned that NASA will not be able to meet the 2024 deadline, AFP reported. LRO is managed by NASA Goddard for the Science Mission Directorate at NASA Headquarters in Washington. Credit: NASA/GSFC/Arizona State University/Smithsonian.

Earth’s moon is shrinking and quaking, study says