A recent study published in the Planetary Science Journal suggests that “moonquakes” may have an effect in the vicinity of the lunar south pole, causing our Moon to shrink, which could be a problem.
The study draws attention to a restless Moon that may be causing “moonquakes” that could endanger upcoming explorations – some of which may be enormous.
For hundreds of millions of years, the size of our moon has been decreasing. This might cause issues for a possible location that NASA has been considering for a future manned Moon trip. Although there are water deposits in the area that may support life, a recent study indicates that seismic activity has affected the area.
Astronomers predict that by 2025, Saturn’s Iconic Rings will disappear and will not be visible from Earth due to a tilt in Saturn’s angle.
A recent study that was published in the Planetary Science Journal suggests that this seismic activity, or “moonquakes,” may have an effect in the vicinity of the lunar south pole.
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“A concept that I think that many people have is that the moon is this geologically dead body, that something on the moon never changes,” said Tom Watters, a senior scientist emeritus in the National Air and Space Museum’s Center for Earth and Planetary Studies and the lead author of the study. “[But] the moon is a seismically active body.”
The diameter of the earth has decreased by roughly 150 feet (45 meters) over the past few hundred million years. This is the outcome of both Earth’s tidal forces and the molten core’s natural cooling process. The Moon’s surface shrinks and modifies to fit its new volume as the interior cools. The crust is forced together to form thrust faults, which are ridges that are the consequence of this shrinking process.
The authors of the study discovered that an area in the south polar region was affected by one of the greatest seismic events recorded by seismometers left there during NASA’s Apollo mission, using data from NASA’s Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter (LRO), which was originally deployed in 2009.
The findings of this study are noteworthy because, since India’s Chandrayaan-3 lander made a successful landing on the Moon in August, the Moon has become the target of a worldwide space race. Large craters near the area of the Moon’s south pole that is always shrouded in a chilly shadow are thought to contain ice. Furthermore, NASA intends to land the Artemis III mission there by late 2026 at the latest.
“Our modeling suggests that shallow moonquakes capable of producing strong ground shaking in the south polar region are possible from slip events on existing faults or the formation of new thrust faults,” said Watters.
“The global distribution of young thrust faults, their potential to be active, and the potential to form new thrust faults from ongoing global contraction should be considered when planning the location and stability of permanent outposts on the Moon,” Watters added.