The Moon Is Shrinking, Says NASA

May 14, 2019 - 8:28 am

Moonquake!

A study has revealed that the moon has been slowly shrinking over time and, as a result, been causing quakes to occur on the its surface.

NASA has taken to Twitter to reveal the reality of moonquakes. "You've heard of earthquakes. But what about moonquakes? Like a wrinkled grape drying out to a raisin, the Moon is shrinking as its interior cools causing wrinkles or faults to form on its brittle surface. When enough stress builds, it releases the quakes," the post reads. 

But the researchers assure there is no reason to be alarmed as this shift in size poses no threat to Earth.

"As the moon cools, its overall size has contracted or decreased by about 100 meters over the past 4.5 billion years, which is why we say it is shrinking," University of Maryland geologist Nicholas Schmerr told USA Today. "This puts the crust under compression. If there's enough compressive stress, the crust can fail, producing earthquakes – or in this case moonquakes.”

Schmerr added, “…the radius change is small, so the effect on Earth is minuscule, and it won’t affect tides or make the moon disappear.”

The quakes were first documented by looking at data gathered from the Apollo missions in the ‘60s and ‘70s and comparing it with information obtained by the unmanned lunar probe currently orbiting around the moon.

According to the study, there are still quakes occurring as strong as 5 on the Richter scale which is causing the moon to continue to shrink and cool.

Researchers believe these results prove the need for further space exploration and to return to the moon

"We learned a lot from the Apollo missions, but they really only scratched the surface,” Schmerr continued. “With a larger network of modern seismometers, we could make huge strides in our understanding of the moon's geology. This provides some very promising low-hanging fruit for science on a future mission to the moon."

Don’t worry, Jeff Bezos is on it! 

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