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The Moon is shrinking: NASA study

14 May 2019

Astronaut James Irwin, lunar module pilot, gives a military salute while standing beside the US flag during Apollo 15 lunar surface extravehicular activity (EVA) at the Hadley-Apennine landing site on the moon, August 1, 1971. Mercury has enormous thrust faults - up to about 600 miles (1,000 kilometers) long and over a mile (3 kilometers) high - that are significantly larger relative to its size than those on the Moon, indicating it shrank much more than the Moon. "It's quite likely that the faults are still active today".

The team then superimposed this location data onto the LRO imagery of the thrust faults. What's more, the constant rain of micrometeoroids should have erased these tracks, suggesting that they are relatively fresh.

The initiative to land the first American woman and next American man on the moon was named Artemis after the Greek goddess and twin sister of Apollo. "That always leads you to the intriguing possibility that maybe these things are still active, and maybe these faults are showing us current tectonic activity on the moon", Watters said.

Since the Moon's crust is brittle, these forces cause its surface to break as the interior shrinks, resulting in so-called thrust faults, where one section of the crust is pushed up over an adjacent section. Researchers believe that these quakes would have measured between 2 and 5 in the "Moment Magnitude scale" if they had been on earth.

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From the data analysed and algorithms used, researchers were able to determine eight of the 28 shallow quakes recorded were within 30 kilometres of faults and were visible in lunar images. They found that at least eight of the moonquakes matched nearly perfectly with scarps, suggesting that they were produced by genuine tectonic activity, rather than processes deep within the moon's interior or from asteroid impacts. This was close enough for the team to conclude that the faults likely caused the quakes. 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.

Astronauts and Jeff Bezos-types hoping to set up shop on the Moon might have another challenge to worry about: moonquakes caused by tectonic activity.

"The first time humanity went to the Moon, it was under the name Apollo", NASA Administrator Jim Bridenstine told a telephone press conference Monday night.

The Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter first helped NASA learn that the moon was shrinking in 2010, the agency reported at the time.

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"The work that they've done simply wasn't possible when the Apollo landings happened because we didn't have such high-resolution images of the moon, Professor Horner said".

In 2011, NASA's Space Shuttle program was shelved.

In a letter to House Speaker Nancy Pelosi formally requesting the changes, Mr Trump said they were "necessary" to correctly reflect his administration's priorities and would not require any new discretionary spending beyond his earlier request.

The College of Computer, Mathematical, and Natural Sciences at the University of Maryland educates more than 9,000 future scientific leaders in its undergraduate and graduate programs each year.

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It also includes $132 million and $90 million respectively for key exploration technologies such as solar electric propulsion and devices that convert polar ice to water, as well as increased robotic exploration of the moon's polar regions.

The Moon is shrinking: NASA study