Shallow moonquakes recorded at four different landing sites during the Apollo programme suggest that the Moon is now tectonically active, say scientists who have been trying to pin point the epicentre of the quakes with the help of data from NASA's Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter (LRO).
He added: 'The president has granted us 1.6 billion additional dollars, that didn't come from the science mission directorate, it didn't come from the International Space Station - 1.6 billion additional dollars for our acceleration of the lunar program so that we can get the next man and the first woman to the surface of the moon.
Researchers compared the location of the epicenters for those quakes with the orbiter imagery of the faults.
Hints that the moon is not quite geologically dead though have been around since the Apollo era, 50 years ago. A paper describing the work, co-authored by Schmerr, was published in the journal Nature Geoscience on May 13, 2019.
Further data is needed to thoroughly test this result say the team but as the seismometers which faithfully radioed data back to Earth were switched off in 1977, this would fall to images collected by the LRO's narrow-angle camera (NAC) to help search for evidence of very recent changes in the landscape.
It has been almost 50 years since NASA's Apollo program sent the first men to the moon, but with NASA's new focus on putting a woman on the moon, it is only fitting that the mission bear Apollo's twin sister's name, Artemis.
There have been a range of theories about what causes quakes, including meteorite collisions or gravitational forces exerted by the Earth and sun. In the new study, Tom Watters of the Smithsonian Institution in the United States and colleagues employed a new way to pinpoint the locations of the near-surface moonquakes in the Apollo data more precisely than was previously possible.
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At least eight of the quakes occurred due to activity along the faults.
The difference is the moon doesn't have tectonic plates.
It is now widely agreed that these are thrust faults, caused as the moon cools down from its hot birth.
What's more, most of the Moonquakes occurred during times of the month when the tidal stresses between the Moon and Earth were at their greatest, which would make those faults more likely to slip and thus cause a quake.
Unlike the flexible skin of a grape when it shrinks into a raisin, the moon's brittle crust breaks.
The cliffs that form are called thrust faults. These dramatic features, which are similar in appearance to cliffs found on Earth, can be miles long and tens of feet high. They will need to take the potential for moonquakes into consideration by avoiding landing near or building any permanent structures on particularly "active" areas, Watters says. Some of these images show landslides or boulders at the bottom of relatively bright patches on the slopes of fault scarps or nearby terrain.
The hope now is that new seismic measurements can be taken, to build on the understanding of what's going on under the surface of the Moon. Some 3,500 such faults have been discovered by the LRO to date. "We told the White House, and we told OMB, how much money it would take in the year 2020 to get us out of the gate for a landing on the moon in 2024", he said.