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Space shocker: Earth's moon is shrinking, experiencing seismic activities

Space shocker: Earth's moon is shrinking, experiencing seismic activities

As the moon's interior cools, it shrinks, which causes its hard surface to crack and form fault lines, according to research sponsored by NASA.

The moon is getting smaller as its interior cools and it has become more than about 150 feet thinner over the last hundred million years. By analyzing images from NASA's Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter (LRO) and using an earth-based algorithm to more accurately pinpoint the epicenters of those quakes, the researchers found eight of them happened within 19 miles of "fault scarps", long clifflike formations crisscrossing the lunar terrain.

Using a new algorithm created to pinpoint the origins of shallow rumblings produced by a sparse fault network, scientists analyzed the data collected by seismometers placed on the lunar surface during the Apollo missions.

Trump announced all of his intentions in a series of tweets, which was later confirmed Monday evening, May 13 by the USA space agency and Office of Management and Budget.

Astronauts placed the instruments on the lunar surface during the Apollo 11, 12, 14, 15, and 16 missions.

Primarily, the budget amendment seeks to accelerate work on the lander, which will be needed to carry humans down to the surface of the Moon from the small Gateway to be built in lunar orbit. Instead, its brittle surface cracks as it shrinks, resulting in "thrust faults", or cliffs akin to stair steps, per CNN. This is close enough to tentatively attribute the quakes to the faults, since modeling by the team shows that this is the distance over which strong shaking is expected to occur, given the size of these fault scarps.

He also plugged NASA's ongoing Space Launch System megarocket and Orion spacecraft, both under development, and a proposed outpost in the vicinity of the moon, called Gateway.

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On Earth the shallow quakes - the type produced by tectonic faults - would have ranged in magnitude from about 2 to 5 on the Richter scale.

The researchers noted other evidence in the orbiter's photos of landslides and boulders at the bottom of bright patches, signaling recent activity.

They also discovered that the six of these eight quakes occur when the moon was at its farthest point away from earth. And because of shrinking, the moon actively produces moonquakes along the faults.

In fact, Watters and his team attribute the moon's interaction with the Earth as part of the reasons the lunar crust is compressing. "You don't often get to see active tectonics anywhere but Earth, so it's very exciting to think these faults may still be producing moonquakes", said Nicholas Schmerr, an assistant professor of geology at the University of Maryland in a recently issued statement.

The space agency wants to establish "sustainable missions by 2028" - taking what they learn from the moon and applying it to reaching Mars. "This provides some very promising low-hanging fruit for science on a future mission to the Moon". Supporting Schmerr's idea, Renee Weber, co-author in a statement said that the new network of seismometers on the lunar surface should be the priority for Moon exploration and to understand Moon's interior.

The Trump administration seeks to increase NASA's next year budget by $1.6 billion - adding to the $21 billion budget President Trump had previously requested - to push forward the initiative, named Artemis, to return American astronauts to the moon by 2024.