A new study, conducted by experts a the Smithsonian, UBC and NASA, and published today in Nature Geoscience, analyzed Apollo missions data and brought to light evidence of the moonquakes.
40 Years Old Apollo Missions Data Help Scientists In New Studies
The research was formulated using data gathered during the Apollo missions, approximately 40 years ago. Researchers expressed their excitement to work with data so historically essential to reach revolutionary conclusions.
Thomas Watters, a Smithsonian senior scientist, explained how the analysis on the Apollo data helped their team confirm the tectonic activity of the moon. An algorithm was developed to help observe the connection between the location and timing of the seismical events.
Watters stated that future explorations on the lunar surface, including installing a modern geophysical network could help them develop an even better understanding of shallow moonquakes and how they affect our moon’s interior.
The data used in the study was collected with the help of several seismometers placed by astronauts in the Apollo 11, 12, 14, 15 and 16 missions. In the span of 8 years, from 1969 to 1977, four of the seismical instruments recorded a total of 28 shallow moonquakes.
Faults Caused By Shrinking Of The Moon Generate Moonquakes
The team of researchers concluded that, out of these 28 detected seismical events, eight were located within 30 kilometers of faults that can be spotted in lunar images. Faults are basically cracks in the lunar surface that can accommodate some movement along with them, which can lead to moonquakes.
Experts stated that it the possibility of the faults producing all eight of the moonquakes is pretty high. Global contraction and tidal forces might be the leading causes of faults slipping when the moon crust is compressed.