Wednesday, 24 July, 2019


NASA aims to put first woman on the moon

A distinctive landform known as a lobate scarp caused by a thrust fault. Image captured by NASA's Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter A distinctive landform known as a lobate scarp caused by a thrust fault. Image captured by NASA's Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter
Bennie Garza | 14 May, 2019, 21:44

Combined with evidence of dust and boulders moving near these faults, the researchers conclude that the Moon is tectonically active.

Seismic activities on the moon were recorded by seismometers that were placed on the lunar surface during the Apollo 11, 12, 14, 15 and 16 missions.

US astronauts placed seismometers on the lunar surface during the Apollo 11, 12, 14, 15 and 16 missions, recording 28 shallow quakes up to nearly 5 magnitude, which is moderate strength. Researchers re-analyzed seismic data they had from the moon to compare with the images gathered by the orbiter. The fault scarps themselves are also a clue.

This means that the Apollo seismometers recorded the moon shrinking, the researchers said.

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.

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.

This is where additional tidal stress from Earth's gravity causes a peak in the total pressure on the Moon's crust - making slippage along the faults more likely.

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

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. They found that eight of those shallow quakes were located within 19 miles of thrust faults visible in LRO lunar images.

"Unlike the flexible skin on a grape, the moon's surface crust is brittle, so it breaks as the moon shrinks, forming "thrust faults" where one section of crust is pushed up over a neighboring part", NASA continued. The quakes suggested it all on their own, though other forces can also shake the Moon.

Those that appear brighter indicate freshly exposed rock, suggesting an event like a "moonquake".

An allotment of $US651 million ($936 million) will be used to support the Orion Spacecraft and the rocket that Boeing is building for the moon mission - called the Space Launch System or SLS.

"While there are many steps ahead in the budget and appropriations process, all of us at NASA should be very proud and excited by this unique opportunity", Bridenstine said in his video message.

"This cooling results in global contraction of the Moon".

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.

"It's the boost NASA needs to move forward with design, development and exploration", the agency said.

The goal of the White House Space Policy Directive 1 is to "make America a leader in space exploration again" and to send NASA astronauts back to the Moon, and then eventually onto Mars "and the broader solar system". Learning more about how the Moon works and the mechanics at play on the surface could teach us a great deal about other planets as well, and help prepare organizations like NASA for trips deeper into space.

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