Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Newsy: Moon is Shrinking

A recent study of the moon’s crust reveals the moon may have experienced some shrinking in the recent past.
Have you noticed anything different about the moon lately? A recent study reveals the moon is shrinking! If you haven’t noticed anything, well, that’s probably because it’s been a slow process. 
“Researchers finding evidence by studying cracks in the moon’s crust. They say this is the result of the moon cooling down since it formed hundreds and millions years ago ...But don’t worry, it’s only lost about a 100 yards from its diameter, in ALL THAT TIME!” (Fox News)
National Geographic reports the cracks are younger than what scientists originally thought -- a BILLION years younger. The website features a statement by geophysicist Pat McGovern with the Lunar and Planetary Institute in Houston, Texas, who says: "Heat is what drives the overall evolution of a planet, and the moon is thought to have lost most of [its heat] long ago. But the idea that you have very young faulting going on is very exciting, because it's somewhat unexpected."
Steve Snyder, a scientist with The Franklin Institute, tells MSNBC the shrinkage’s impact on the earth won’t be physical, although it certainly is emotional for astro-geeks: “You'll have a lot of excited scientists and hopefully a lot of future scientists as well. It means that the moon has for us really means the moon has a lot of mysteries to be solved and new surprises for us. Otherwise it's not something you're going to be able to see, not something that's going to affect the tides.”
The study’s co-author, Thomas Watters, tells NewScientist.com the shrinking and contracting of the moon shows it is not a dead geological object, as scientists originally thought. It may also explain one particular lunar phenomenon: “...the contraction might have triggered some of the moonquakes recorded by seismometers placed on the moon in the 1970s by NASA astronauts, he said.”
The moon’s shrinking process will continue to slow down and eventually it will come to a complete stop. AOL News features a statement by Watters, who stresses that the moon’s shrinkage should not be a cause for alarm: “The moon is not shrinking away. There's no fear that if you don't get out there and see the moon today, in the next cycle, it won't be there."
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WRITER: Harumendhah Helmy

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