NASA Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter recently spotted wrinkles and quakes on the moon, suggesting that our moon is slowly shrinking over time. A new NASA study shows that our moon has thinned by more than 50 meters in the last hundred million years. However, the surface of the moon is brittle, so as it shrinks, it creates cliff-like "thrust faults" or fault scarps with sections pushed up against others.
"NASA 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", said Thomas Watters. Some of the quakes were recorded to be strong enough-corresponding to magnitude 5 on Earth.
The seismometers measured the shaking produced by moonquakes - ranging from two to five on the Richter scale - and used an algorithm to detect the locations.
Using the revised location estimates from their new algorithm, Dr. Schmerr and colleagues found that the epicenters of eight of the 28 shallow quakes were within 19 miles of faults visible in the LRO images.
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The quakes' proximity to the thrust faults showed that at least eight of those quakes tend to be resulted from the movement of crustal plates instead of asteroid impacts or rumblings deep within the Moon's interior. This is where the extra tidal stresses due to the gravity of the Earth cause a peak in the total stress, which makes it more likely to slip events along these faults. Researchers re-calculated the epicentres of these quakes and found that eight of them occurred near small cliffs produced along fault lines.
This prominent lunar lobate thrust fault scarp is one of thousands discovered in Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter Camera (LROC) images.
Approximately 4.5 billion years old, the Moon is considered "tectonically active", the researchers wrote in the study, published in the scientific journal, Nature Geoscience. Apparently, the moon is aging the same way.
Symbolic or no, it will be the first time that a woman has ever walked across the surface of Earth's grey satellite. The fault scarps themselves are also a clue.
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NASA just announced its plan to send the first female astronaut to the Moon by 2024.
The research also sheds some light on the moon's internal composition. "That is an extreme declaration and a charge that we are going to live up to at NASA".
"This investment is a down payment on NASA's efforts and will allow us to move forward in design, development and exploration", said NASA administrator Jim Bridenstine.
Mr Bridenstine has previously said Mr Trump's desire to put humans back on the moon by the year 2024 would provide an opportunity to test technology and capabilities before carrying out a mission to land on Mars by 2033. NASA's Apollo 11 mission succeeded in landing the first humans on the moon on July 20, 1969.
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