The moon is getting smaller. The surprising phenomenon may affect future astronaut missions


Scientists say the moon is cooling and shrinking. Thus, strong tremors occur more often on Earth’s natural satellite, which can threaten future astronaut missions.

According to scientists, the moon is shrinking, which affects its seismic activity.

| Photo: Shutterstock

Long term settlement of the Moon by astronauts is in danger. According to the latest study by American scientists, the lunar core is gradually shrinking, due to which grooves and cracks are forming on its surface, which increase the likelihood of earthquakes and landslides. Scientists compare the phenomenon to the wrinkling of grapes and their shrinking into raisins.

Moon has shrunk by about a hundred meters on average over the past few million years. It’s not enough to be seen from Earth, but on the moon, according to CNN, the changes are showing. The shrinking and cooling of the core must also adapt to the brittle crust, which then cracks. Cracks and wrinkling of the surface result in seismic activity.

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In an article published in The Planetary Science Journal, a team of scientists linked multiple faults at the Moon’s south pole to one of the strongest lunar earthquakes recorded by Apollo seismometers more than fifty years ago. Using various models, according to, experts have determined that existing or emerging fractures on the moon’s surface are responsible for the tremors.

Space missions in jeopardy?

Occurrence of “moonquakes” at the South Pole Months is a problem that experts must now investigate more closely. The place has been in the sights of space agencies for a long time. A year ago, the Indian Chandrayaan-3 mission successfully landed on it, while the Russian spacecraft Lna-25 attempted to do the same, but it crashed. In addition, the US National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) also chose the South Pole as the landing site for the crew from the Artemis III mission. China is also interested in the area, which also wants to build a station for astronauts there in the future.

What the surface of the moon looks like up close:

Source: Youtube

But experts do not see the future of planned missions so bleakly. “The research results are not intended to alarm or discourage anyone from exploring this part of the Moon, but rather to highlight that the Moon is not a harmless place where nothing happens,” said study lead author Thomas R. Watters.

For short-term missions, shocks on Months they didn’t have to be a problem. It is unlikely that a large “moonquake” would occur at the time of the landing lasting several hours to days, which is also very difficult to predict.

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However, for long-term astronaut stays, the geographical characteristics of the site, such as tectonic proximity, will have to be taken into account formations and fractures. Earthquakes on the moon can be so strong that they threaten to damage buildings and other structures that astronauts would build on the surface. In addition, compared to earthquakes, lunar tremors can last for long hours and completely destroy hypothetical human settlements.

Scientists are now continuing to map the moon and hope to identify other places that could be dangerous for human exploration as soon as possible. Current research helps to prepare well for what awaits astronauts on the moon in the future. In this way, scientists can better invent durable building structures and effectively protect the future inhabitants of the moon.

Hiding in caves

NASA stated some time ago that it would like to build bases on the moon in caves. According to experts, they represent a stable and safe environment with pleasant temperatures of around seventeen degrees Celsius and are therefore suitable for long-term exploration and settlement. Pits and caves are also suitable, according to experts, for protection from solar radiation and micrometeorites.

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In the past, NASA also surprisingly stated that, in addition to other materials, it could also be used for construction urea. This waste product of cosmonauts would serve as one of the main components of concrete preparation.

The article is in Czech

Tags: moon smaller surprising phenomenon affect future astronaut missions


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