"That is an extreme declaration and a charge that we are going to live up to at NASA". But a new analysis of Apollo-era data suggests these conclusions are inaccurate. For the study, Nathan Williams, a post-doctoral researcher at NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, California, and his co-authors studied Mare Frigoris (the Cold Sea), a region near the moon's north pole. "As NASA acknowledges, more information and more funding will be needed to make this goal a reality, and we'll be reviewing those details as they become available". While these seismometers have long since gone silent, they returned up to eight years of data while active. While one of the instruments only functioned for three weeks, the four others were able to record 28 shallow moonquakes from 1969 to 1977. Some of these images show landslides or boulders at the bottom of relatively bright patches on the slopes of fault scarps or nearby terrain.
Since LRO has been photographing the lunar surface since 2009, the team would like to compare pictures of specific fault regions from different times to see if there is any evidence of recent moonquake activity. Thrust faults are sections of the crust that have been pushed up over their adjacent areas.
The study appears in the journal Nature Geoscience.
Of the 28 quakes, eight were within 30 kilometres of scarps. "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". It isn't volcanic like Io or Venus (Venus is not known to be volcanically active at present, but the planet contains more volcanoes than any other location in the solar system). The Moon doesn't undergo cryovolcanism that we've observed (cryovolcanoes may have been observed on Pluto, Titan, and Ceres), and it has no regular ice geyser activity like Enceladus.
Astronauts would launch to the gateway and transfer to a lunar orbiter with a descent/ascent vehicle. The fact that these moonquakes occur at or near-apogee, when the Moon is most distant from us, imply that they are related to tidal forces exerted by gravity.
"It's really remarkable to see how data from almost 50 years ago and from the [orbiter] mission has been combined to advance our understanding of the Moon while suggesting where future missions intent on studying the Moon's interior processes should go", said John Keller in a statement, study author and Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter project scientist at NASA's Goddard Space Flight Center.
In fact, Watters and his team attribute the moon's interaction with the Earth as part of the reasons the lunar crust is compressing.
A new study has found the moon may be shrinking - and shaking as it crunches down.
This, in turn, causes its surface to wrinkle, similar to a grape that shrivels into a raisin. Eventually, it breaks, forming thrust faults. Unlike Earth, the moon doesn't have tectonic plates, instead, the moon's tectonic action takes place as the moon slowly loses heat from its formation, which occurred about 4.5 billion years ago, and this heat loss causes the moon's interior to get smaller, crinkle the lunar surface, and form distinctive features, including those pointed out in the study.