NASA Names New Moon Landing Program Artemis After Apollo's Sister

Pablo Tucker
May 15, 2019

NASA's Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter, which was launched in 2009 and has been sending images of the surface since 2010, came to the rescue. As the moon's interior has cooled, its radius is contemplated to have diminished by about 100 meters. Researchers re-analyzed seismic data they had from the moon to compare with the images gathered by the orbiter.

The Moon's structure is nothing like Earth.

A total of five seismometers were placed on the Moon's surface by crewmembers of Apollo 11, 12, 14, 15 and 16.

Watters says that the quakes can be strong, around a five on the Richter scale, according to the NASA statement.

To find out if those faults were still active, the team used an algorithm called LOCSMITH used to calculate where some of the Apollo moonquakes originated. At the time, however, we didn't have enough data to map those quakes to specific features on the Moon itself. The American space agency has named it Artemis, after the Greek Moon goddess who was also the twin sister of the Apollo.

Eight moonquakes were discovered to have epicenters within 19 miles (31 km) of geological formations called thrust faults.

Somebody alert Jeff Bezos: The Moon is shrinking.

Since then, Bridenstine and NASA have been grilled by Congress to know why their plan to return to the Moon by 2024 is not ready yet.

But they ran in a fixed pattern: Near the poles, they ran east to west, while near the equator, they ran north to south.

"We think that's good, and in general we support the acceleration of the lunar programme", Eric Salwan, director of Commercial Business Development for Firefly Aerospace, told Al Jazeera.

Additionally, six of the eight moonquakes recorded near the faults occurred when the Moon was at its farthest point from Earth in its orbit - its apogee.

Besides basic financing, the mission will also require the most powerful rocket ever designed, a new launch system, a fresh approach to lunar landing systems, a floating "gateway" station between Earth and the Moon that does not now exist, and brand new lunar space suits for everyone. China has also stated that it's vying to be the first space-faring nation to reach Mars. "Exploring the moon is the next step in our agency's story, and it will be to the benefit of all of us". And once in a while, there's a crack and a thundering quake slips out into the low-gravity environment, deadlier than it would be on Earth.

"We think it's very likely that these eight quakes were produced by faults slipping as stress built up when the lunar crust was compressed by global contraction and tidal forces, indicating that the Apollo seismometers recorded the shrinking moon and the moon is still tectonically active", Thomas Watters, lead author of the research paper and senior scientist in the Center for Earth and Planetary Studies at the Smithsonian Institution in Washington, said in the press release.

The quakes also loosen the lunar soil or regolith, causing it to flow and expose material underneath, which can also be observed in images. The instruments successfully detected 28 moonquakes that were likely caused by friction at tectonic faults before they were decommissioned in 1977. We conclude that the proximity of moonquakes to the young thrust faults together with evidence of regolith disturbance and boulder movements on and near the fault scarps strongly suggest the Moon is tectonically active.

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