Earth’s moon is shrinking and quaking, study says

An image depicting the moons tectonic plates

More evidence that the moon's fault lines are active comes from images taken by NASA's Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter (LRO) spacecraft. The LROC is managed at Arizona State University in Tempe.

The Gateway is a small spaceship for astronauts and science experiments which will orbit the moon, acting as a kind of staging post.

"We found that a number of the quakes recorded in the Apollo data happened very close to the faults seen in the LRO imagery", Schmerr said in a statement.

Apart from the plain and simple fact that this new finding helps us understand the Moon better, it is significant because humans are looking to establish a base there by the turn of the century, and information about tectonic activity would be necessary to mitigate risk and help decide optimal locations for explorers to reach.

Of those quakes, eight were picked up near to the faults that could be seen in images of the Moon's surface.

Also on Monday, the president proposed that his administration would meet this requirement-in addition to the space agency's $21.5 billion annual funding allocation-with a new budget amendment, although this is not guaranteed as Congress still has to sign the money off.

The Moon is shrinking as it becomes cooler from the inside, according to latest research conducted by the National Aeronautical and Space Administration (NASA). The Apollo 11 seismic instrument listened for rumbles in the moon's crust for only three weeks, but subsequent missions recorded 28 moonquakes.

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The moon is shrinking - much like the way a grape shrivels into a raisin - and that may be causing it to have "moonquakes", according to NASA.

The pushed-up crusts typically measure tens of meters high and extend for a few miles, NASA said.

The moonquakes detected in the 1960s and 70s shook the lunar surface with power the equivalent to magnitude two to five quakes back on Earth. "It's quite likely that the faults are still active today". The fact that these moonquakes occur at or near-apogee, when the Moon is most distant from us, imply that they are related to tidal forces exerted by gravity. We conclude that the proximity of moonquakes to the young thrust faults together with evidence of regolith disturbance and boulder movements on and near the fault scarps strongly suggest the Moon is tectonically active.

NASA's Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter captured this view of the Taurus-Littrow valley. Such tracks would be erased relatively quickly, in terms of geologic time, by the constant rain of micrometeoroid impacts on the Moon. Normally, weathering darkens material on the moon's surface in time.

Astronaut James Irwin, lunar module pilot, gives a military salute while standing beside the USA flag during Apollo 15 lunar surface extravehicular activity (EVA) at the Hadley-Apennine landing site on the moon, August 1, 1971. "I have a daughter who is 11 years old, and I want her to be able to see herself in the same role that the next women to go to the moon see themselves in today". "With a larger network of modern seismometers, we could make huge strides in our understanding of the moon's geology", added Schmerr.

Mr Bridenstine has previously said President 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.

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