Moonquakes are causing the moon to shrink over time

SHRIVELLING The Moon is wrinkling like a raisin as its core shrinks

NASA revealed that the moon is gradually shrinking over the last several hundred million years, hence causing wrinkles in its crust leading to moonquakes.

In the 50 years since NASA's 1969 Moon landing, women have yet to set foot on the lunar surface, something that NASA administrator Jim Bridenstine is looking to change. This is because, as the moon shrinks, its brittle surface breaks forming "thrust faults". -Some of these earthquakes can be quite strong, about five on the Richter scale. These faults resemble small stair-shaped cliffs, or scarps, when seen from the lunar surface; each is roughly tens of yards high and a few miles long.

The study is published on May 14 in the journal Nature Geoscience. This data has now been analysed by Watters and his team using an algorithm that can give a much better estimate of the locations of these moonquakes.

But researchers began to suspect that the mystery quakes were caused by active faults in 2009 when examining images from the Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter, reports Adam Mann for National Geographic.

The quakes' proximity to the thrust faults showed that at least eight of those quakes tend to be resulted from the movement of crustal plates instead of asteroid impacts or rumblings deep within the Moon's interior. At this time, additional tidal stress from Earth's gravity means that slips along the thrust faults become more likely.

From the data that has been analyzed and the algorithms that were used, experts were able to find eight of the 28 shallow quakes that were recorded within 30 kilometers of faults and were visible in lunar images.

To check their findings, researchers ran 10,000 simulations to see if this amount of quakes near faults can be coincidental, however, they found the chances are less than 4 per cent.

NASA posted a video on Twitter showing fault lines on the moon's surface. This is evidence that the moon, like Earth, is tectonically active.

NASA is getting more money for its upcoming moon mission thanks to a budget increase.

In addition to this, the scientists claim to find that the epicentre of one of the moonquakes lies just 13 kilometres from the Lee-Lincoln fault scarp travelled by the Apollo 17 astronauts. NASA announced earlier this year that it hopes to send astronauts back to the moon in 2024. These American astronauts will take a human landing system from the Gateway in lunar orbit, and land on the lunar South Pole.

NASA has also announced that it wants its next mission to put the first woman on the Moon. "Under my Administration, we are restoring NASA to greatness and we are going back to the Moon, then Mars", he said. LRO is managed by NASA Goddard for the Science Mission Directorate at NASA Headquarters in Washington.

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