New study shows the Moon is shrinking

Shrinking Moon may be experiencing powerful quakes to this day

Analysis of the imagery shows that the lunar surface is covered in small, shallow, cliff-like features: faults. The Apollo 11 seismic instrument listened for rumbles in the moon's crust for only three weeks, but subsequent missions recorded 28 moonquakes. The algorithm gave a better estimate of moonquake locations.

Instead of going directly to the surface of the moon, as NASA did during the Apollo missions of the late 1960s and early 70s, it is instead looking to build a more permanent presence by building an orbiting outpost known as the Gateway.

These faults push one part of the lunar crust up and over the adjoining part, said University of Maryland geologist and study co-author Nicholas Schmerr.

He said: "It's quite likely the faults are still active today. 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.

Astronauts have placed seismometers on the moon over a series of past missions.

During the eight years the five Apollo seismometers functioned, they picked up 28 near-surface moonquakes measuring the Earth equivalent of between a 2 and 5 on the Moment Magnitude scale.

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Watters hopes the LRO team will be able to re-analyse fault scarps imaged by the orbiter since 2009 to find evidence of movement-that would be a smoking gun signature, he said. With a larger network of modern seismometers, we could make huge strides in our understanding of the Moon's geology. The shrinking has caused ridges on the moon's surface called "thrust faults" - where one section of crust is pushed up over a neighboring part.

Further data is needed to thoroughly test this result say the team but as the seismometers which faithfully radioed data back to Earth were switched off in 1977, this would fall to images collected by the LRO's narrow-angle camera (NAC) to help search for evidence of very recent changes in the landscape.

It's believed these slip-events - much like landslides - were caused by additional tidal stress heightened by the Earth's gravity.

It would also boost technologies to help the agency explore the lunar poles with robots ahead of a human mission, using solar energy as a propulsion source and converting ice found under the moon's crust into water. Over time, the lunar surface darkens due to weathering and radiation, so bright spots are areas where recent activity has exposed areas on the lunar surface.

Future cash boosts will need to be higher than $1.6 billion, he added, comparing the funding requirements to a bell curve: Needs will start out low, get higher and higher, and then come back down again. "We learned a lot from the Apollo missions, but they really only scratched the surface". The White House can send such requests, called "rescissions", to Congress to clawback unspent money the administration views as wasteful or unnecessary. The college's 10 departments and more than a dozen interdisciplinary research centers foster scientific discovery with annual sponsored research funding exceeding $175 million.

U.S. President Donald Trump listens to questions during a meeting with Hungary's Prime Minister Viktor Orban in the Oval Office at the White House in Washington, U.S., May 13, 2019. To contact the author, please use the contact details within the article.

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