April 16, 2024

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The moon is shrinking, which could endanger astronauts on a planned 2026 NASA mission

The moon is shrinking, which could endanger astronauts on a planned 2026 NASA mission

The Moon is shrinking, and future NASA missions may be severely affected by this new reality. A New study Confirms.

As the moon's metallic core continues to cool after it formed about 4.5 billion years ago, the moon's surface — which is not elastic but brittle — shrinks further, making it more vulnerable to earthquakes, researchers from the University of Maryland hypothesize. Those earthquakes could trigger landslides that would endanger astronauts on the surface.

“As we approach the launch date of the crewed Artemis mission, it is important to keep our astronauts, equipment, and infrastructure as safe as possible,” said Nicholas Schmer, a geoscientist at the University of Maryland who helped author the study. “This work helps us prepare for what awaits us on the Moon — whether that's engineering structures that can better withstand lunar seismic activity or protecting people from really dangerous areas.”

NASA plans to launch Artemis III in 2026, marking the first time a human has landed on the moon in more than half a century. The flight is scheduled to land near the moon's south pole.

“NASA's Orion spacecraft will be the crew's journey to and from Earth and to and from lunar orbit,” NASA said He writes. “Orion is the only spacecraft capable of returning a crew to Earth at lunar reentry speeds. … Four astronauts will depart from Launch Pad 39B at Kennedy Space Center in Florida over Space Launch System (SLS)the only rocket powerful enough to send Orion, its crew, and their supplies to the Moon in a single launch.

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“First, the crew will launch into Earth orbit where they will perform systems checks and solar panel adjustments on Orion. Then, a powerful boost from the SLS Temporary cryogenic propulsion stage Orion will help perform Translunar injection NASA goes on to note that Elon Musk's Space

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The study indicated that “the south pole regions of the Moon are exposed to global pressures that lead to contractional deformation and associated seismicity.” “This deformation is expressed mainly by lobate fault slopes; examples are distributed globally, including in polar regions. A small group of lobate slopes lies within the candidate subsidence zone of De Gerlache Rim 2 Artemis III.