Lunar shrinkage may be causing moonquakes

A distinctive landform known as a lobate scarp caused by a thrust fault. Image captured by NASA's Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter

A distinctive landform known as a lobate scarp caused by a thrust fault. Image captured by NASA's Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter

"The Apollo program forever changed history and I know all of us in this room and on the phone are very proud of the Apollo program".

Officials insisted the re-allocation of the Pell Grant money would have no impact on those now receiving grants, which help low-income students pay for college. Democrats in the House have been particularly critical of the White House's plan, calling it a political gambit, timed to align with the elections calendar.

Pence's announcement took many inside NASA by surprise.

"No woman has ever walked on the lunar surface".

The space agency chief was speaking after US President Donald Trump announced an additional $1.6 billion to go towards accelerating the lunar programme. He and the other NASA officials on the call would not say how much that would be. At the moment, NASA now does not have the ability to fly astronauts anywhere in space.

NASA's associate administrator for human exploration and operations, Bill Gerstenmaier, said the architecture for the Artemis program would be open to commercial and worldwide partners.

The Gateway is a small spaceship for astronauts and science experiments which will orbit the moon, acting as a kind of staging post.

Earth's tectonic activity is driven by its hot interior. The key takeaway from the study is that the moon is more active in this regard than was previously thought, which could have ramifications for, say, the location of a future outpost, reports National Geographic. Furthermore, the space agency needs to develop a new lunar lander, which can only be achieved if Congress approves the additional funding request.

"We have to figure out how small rocky bodies like the Moon can retain their interior heat over billions of years". "All we need. we've got in this budget".

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During the eight years the five Apollo seismometers functioned, they picked up 28 near-surface moonquakes measuring the Earth equivalent of between a 2 and 5 on the Moment Magnitude scale.

This is more than a coincidence - the quakes were likely caused by slipping at these fracture points, said the study's lead author Tom Watters of the Smithsonian Institution. "Our goal is to build a program that gets us to the surface as soon as possible, one that America can be proud of", Bridenstine said.

"If Congress comes in with a lower number, the probability of success goes down and the risk goes up", Bridenstine said. "I think there's a lot of excitement on both sides of the aisle", he said of their reactions.

NASA's plans for manned launches with SpaceX have recently faltered after a vessel exploded during testing in April.

Artemis was also selected by a team competing for NASA's Commercial Lunar Payload Services (CLPS) contract.

Nasa's total annual budget is approximately $21.5 billion, and in the 2019 fiscal year, the agency spent about $4.5 billion on developing the Orion spacecraft, the Space Launch System (SLS) heavy rocket and a new lunar orbital mini-station, three elements essential to the Artemis mission.

But at a recent Congressional hearing, Bridenstine disputed that. NASA Administrator Jim Bridenstine announced that the Moon 2024 mission would officially be named "Artemis," and that he was excited to land "the first woman and next man" on the lunar surface.

This article was written by Christian Davenport, a reporter for The Washington Post.

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