Scientists found that the Moon is shrinking. Will this affect future space missions?

According to NASA, the lunar core cools and contracts, causing earthquakes and landslides. (NASA/Europa Press)

He earth’s natural satelliteThe moon, is undergoing a series of changes that may redefine future missions of exploration and human settlement. According to research sponsored by potThe lunar core is slowly cooling and contracting, causing folds to develop on its surface and hence, a series of “lunar earthquakeIt can last for several hours, and may even result in landslides.

This event could pose a significant threat to future colonists and their equipment, especially in lunar south polar regionThe focus of intense international attention due to its potential content water iceAs published cnn,

The international space race has been redefined with lunar south poleIt was until recently considered one of the most promising sites for future exploration and habitation missions, due to the belief that it might contain deposits. water ice,

Newly discovered geological faults link seismic activity to lunar cooling. (NASA/JPL-Caltech/Reuters)

Success soft landing of mission Chandrayaan-3 of India In this area, the ship’s failed attempt was closely followed moon-25 Of Russiaas well as plans pot for your mission Artemis III and future plans ChinaThere are signs of growing international interest in this area.

However, new research presents a less encouraging outlook than expected. ,This is not meant to alarm anyone and certainly not to discourage exploration from that part of south pole of the moon, This is a wake up call to remind us that moon “It’s not a benign place where nothing is happening,” he said. Thomas R WatersLead author of the study and senior emeritus scientist Center for Planetary and Terrestrial Studies of National Air and Space Museum,

He Cooling and contraction of the lunar core They cause the formation of wrinkles on the surface, just as grapes become wrinkled when they become raisins. This process not only causes the already mentioned lunar earthquakeBut it could also trigger landslides, endangering future human missions and robotic explorers considerable risk,

Researchers have managed to link a major earthquake on the Moon with new geological faults at the satellite’s south pole, which were detected thanks to seismic instruments left by the Apollo missions. (NASA/LRO/LROC/ASU/Smithsonian Institution)

He Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter (LRO) of pothas played an important role in connecting a powerful moonquake with a series of failures In this south pole According to the study published on January 25, 2024, the Moon’s Planetary Science Journal,

Using data collected by lroReleased in 2009, researchers have been able to relate a lunar earthquakeDetected from instruments left by astronauts Apollo More than half a century ago, with the youth geological fault,

This discovery deviates the traditional belief moon, has long been considered a dead object from a geological point of view. “The moon It was considered a geologically dead object where nothing had happened for billions of years, but This couldn’t be further from the truth.“, he claimed Waters, The data indicate that moon It has experienced a contraction of approximately 45 meters in circumference over the past million years due to internal cooling, creating a Notable seismic activity,

The Moon’s south pole is a region of immense international interest because of its potential water-ice content. (NASA/Eugene Cernan/Europa Press)

“As soon as it gets cold, moon shrinks, the internal volume changes and the cortex has to adjust to that change; This is a global contraction, whose tidal forces land“he explained Waters, It is important to highlight that, although the contraction of moon seems insignificant from geological point of view, It has no effect on the Earth or the tidal cycle,

He lunar earthquake The strongest recorded was a magnitude 5.0 earthquake. land, Although this would be considered moderate, the lowest gravity on the planet moon This would intensify its effect, so that even the slightest movement of the ground could unbalance someone walking on the moon’s surface. “In land, you have a much stronger gravity holding you to the surface. In moonis very small, so there is also a slight acceleration going to the ground potentially knock you off your feet “If you’re moving,” he said. Waters,

Seismic instruments left by the mission Apollo Played an important role in providing preliminary data on shallow moonquakesHowever, the source of these seismic events is not yet fully understood.

Despite these discoveries, NASA has assured that plans for the Artemis III mission, planned to land on the Moon’s south pole, will continue without any changes. (Reuters/Joe Skipper)

pot Landing area selection process for the mission confirmed Artemis IIIwhich is destiny lunar south poleBut will not be affected by the findings of a recent study lunar earthquake,

The mission, which plans to send two astronauts to live and work on the lunar surface for about a week, has identified 13 candidate areas for landing, which have been selected under the criteria. Security, scientific possibilities, available launch windows and terrain, communications and lighting conditions. “this is because Estimate how often a specific area experiences Moonquakes are difficult to pinpoint and, like earthquakes, We can’t predict lunar earthquakes“he explained renee weberStudy co-authors and planetary scientists pot,

In the short term, accordingly alan huskerResearch Professor of Geophysics California Institute of Technologyadvised by cnnThere is a possibility that a big moonquake This happens when astronauts are present very low on the surface. “It is very unlikely that a major moonquake While they are there. However, it is good to know that these seismic sources exist.

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