Astrophysicists have noticed the Moon shrinking by 50 meters over hundreds of millions of years.

The moon shook because it shrunk – why is this bad for earthlings, scientists explained


02/12/2024 09:42

The moon literally shook as it shrank, scientists noticed. The results of their observations were published in January in Planetary Science.

Studying data from NASA’s Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter, launched in 2009, researchers recorded a powerful moonquake at the satellite’s south pole – exactly where earthlings should in the future arrange lunar base.

Lead author of the paper, senior scientist at the Center for Earth and Planetary Studies at the National Air and Astronautics Museum Thomas R. Watters considers the cause of powerful tectonic disturbances to be the formation of thrust faults due to the compression of the night star.

It was previously shown that over the past hundreds of millions of years, the Moon has shrunk by 50 meters – primarily due to the cooling of the core, as well as under the influence of Earth’s gravity and tidal forces.

“Our analysis provides the first evidence that these faults are still active and likely producing moonquakes today as the Moon continues to gradually cool and shrink,” Watters wrote in Nature Geoscience in 2019.

NASA plans to land astronauts in the moon’s south polar region in 2026. There are assumed to be water reserves there, so this part of the celestial body is most interesting for humanity. Last year, a Russian lunar probe flew there (crashed) and an Indian one – specifically to search for water (successful landing, but only worked for one lunar day); China plans to send a lander and rover there.

“The global distribution of new faults and their potential activity as a result of ongoing compression should be taken into account when planning the location and stabilization of permanent stations on the Moon,” the scientist concluded.

Author Sergey Kobin

Sergey Kobin – journalist, correspondent for the Pravda.Ru news service

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