The fault scarps themselves are also a clue.
Another Nasa project, the Lunar Reconnaissance Orbitor (LRO) spacecraft, has snapped thousands of images of the fault scarps on the moon since 2009, showing various landslides on the Moon's surface. This seismic data was re-analyzed with images from NASA's lunar orbiter.
The findings suggested that these "cliffs", or thrust faults, had formed as a result of tectonic activity related to the moon contracting in size as it cooled.
Vice-President Mike Pence has called for landing astronauts on the moon within five years, and has said NASA needs to achieve that goal "by any means necessary". The study was published May 13 in Nature Geoscience. "It's quite likely that the faults are still active today". "There's long-lead items, there's hardware, there's pieces we need to move in place, and now's the time to go move". The Apollo 11 seismometer operated only for three weeks, but the four remaining recorded 28 shallow moonquakes - the type expected to be produced by these faults - from 1969 to 1977. A 5.5 to 6.0 magnitude quake can cause "slight damage to buildings and other structures".More news: Liverpool fall short of title despite Mane double against Wolves
At least eight of the quakes occurred due to activity along the faults. This was close enough for the team to conclude that the faults likely caused the quakes.
Seismic instruments left by the American explorers showed that the moon experienced occasional quakes - mostly related to internal cooling and tidal forces from Earth's gravity. Instead, as the moon's interior has cooled over the last several hundred million years, it has caused the surface to wrinkle as it shrinks.
"Unlike the flexible skin on a grape, the moon's surface crust is brittle, so it breaks as the moon shrinks, forming "thrust faults" where one section of crust is pushed up over a neighboring part", NASA continued. Since it began operation a decade ago, over 3,500 of these faults have been identified by the LRO. Weathering from solar and space radiation gradually darkens material on the lunar surface, so brighter areas indicate regions that are freshly exposed to space, as expected if a recent moonquake sent material sliding down a cliff.
Similarly, tracks are apparent on slopes where boulders have been dislodged from perches on higher ground. This rules out the possibility of asteroid impacts or rumblings from the moon's interior. With almost a decade of LRO imagery already available and more on the way in the coming years, the team would like to compare pictures of specific fault regions from different times to look for fresh evidence of recent moonquakes.More news: After oil tankers damaged, Trump warns Iran
NASA leaders said today the White House will seek $1.6 billion in extra funding from Congress this fiscal year to meet its ambitious goal of sending a man and a woman to the Moon's surface in 2024, a program now officially named "Artemis" for the sister of Apollo, namesake of the original Moon mission program. With a larger network of modern seismometers, we could make huge strides in our understanding of the Moon's geology. It would also go towards exploration technology development and additional science missions to the moon.
"The lack of planning evident so far is no way to run our nation's human space exploration program", Rep. Kendra Horn (D-Okla.), chairwoman of a subcommittee that oversees NASA, said at a recent hearing. Critically, Gerstenmaier also said the lunar lander would be "integrated" by commercial industry, rather than by one or more NASA center. The content of this article does not necessarily reflect the views of these organizations.
The request for the NASA funding comes as the White House has been signalling its reluctance to endorse a deal to increase spending "caps" for domestic programs backed by both parties on Capitol Hill.More news: Former US President Jimmy Carter hospitalized after breaking hip, spokesperson says