The moon is a lot more seismically active than we thought

NASA Administrator Jim Bridenstine talks to employees about the agency's progress toward sending astronauts to the moon and on to Mars during a televised event Monday

NASA's Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter spotted the crash site of SpaceIL's Beresheet spacecraft, which failed during a moon landing April 11, 2019.

Missions to explore the Solar System, keep the International Space Station going, and make new breakthroughs in countless research fields take time and funding.

The increased funding request, announced by President Donald Trump on Twitter, comes almost two months after Vice President Mike Pence declared the objective of shortening by four years NASA's previous timeline for putting astronauts back on the moon for the first time since 1972.

Bridenstine also said that the $1.6 billion in additional funding was in line with what the agency requested of the White House, despite reports that NASA sought much more money. Researchers led by Thomas Watters, from the Smithsonian Institute in Washington, D.C., published their findings Monday in Nature Geoscience. "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", said Nicholas Schmerr, an assistant professor of geology at the University of Maryland in a recently issued statement. 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.

Moonquakes, like the recent marsquakes that were recorded on Mars, are caused by the sudden release of energy transmitted as seismic waves and there are at least four different kinds of them on the Moon. This breakage results in thrust faults, where one section of crust is pushed up over an adjacent section.

These now litter the moon's surface, averaging a few metres high and several kilometres long.

The LRO has imaged more than 3,500 fault scarps on the moon since it began operation in 2009.

Analysis shows that these faults are relatively young, not older than about 50m years.

Despite the apparent intensity felt by those stood on the lunar surface when the waves rippled beneath their feet, the epicentre locations of these quakes were poorly constrained by data collected at the time. 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.

The space agency wants to establish "sustainable missions by 2028" - taking what they learn from the moon and applying it to reaching Mars. According to Watters, planners of future missions to the moon will probably need to consider this if they intend to build permanent structures in the lunar surface.

Beresheet - whose name is Hebrew for Genesis - was meant to measure the magnetic field at the landing site and travelled with a time capsule including a picture of Israeli astronaut Ilan Ramon, who died on the space shuttle Columbia in 2003, as well as a lunar library containing 30 million pages on a disk from the US-based Arch Mission Foundation. The content of this article does not necessarily reflect the views of these organizations.

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