Don't miss

Replay


LATEST SHOWS

EYE ON AFRICA

Court ruling expected on Gabon's contested election results

Read more

MEDIAWATCH

Clinton's Comedy Turn

Read more

THE WORLD THIS WEEK

Sarkozy's Populist Pivot, Bahamas Leaks, Syria Truce, Rome Olympic Bid (Part 2)

Read more

THE WORLD THIS WEEK

US Police Shootings: Race relations and the race to the White House (Part 1)

Read more

#TECH 24

Breaking the wall between technology and people

Read more

FRANCE IN FOCUS

Rural France: Challenges and opportunities

Read more

REPORTERS

Video: In Burma, ex-political prisoners struggle to return to normal life

Read more

ENCORE!

Xavier Dolan: Wunderkind of Québecquois cinema

Read more

FOCUS

The battle for UK Labour’s leadership

Read more

Planète

Moon is shrinking, new research reveals

Text by News Wires

Latest update : 2010-08-20

The surface of the moon has reduced by around 100 metres over the past billion years, a new study has revealed.

 

AP - The moon may be shrinking but it will not be disappearing any time soon.
 
New research indicates cracks in the moon’s crust that have formed as the interior has cooled and shrunk over the last billion years or so. That means the surface has shrunk, too, though not so anyone would notice just from gazing at it.
 
Scientists have identified 14 landforms called lobate scarps scattered over the surface of the moon, explained Thomas R. Watters of the Center for Earth and Planetary Studies at the Smithsonian’s National Air and Space Museum.
 
Watters and colleagues describe their find in Friday’s edition of the journal Science.
 
The scarps had previously been noted at the moon’s equator, but this is the first evidence in other areas, indicating they result from a global process.
 
The study calls the scarps “evidence of recent thrust faulting on the moon.” But this is planetary science, where “recent” can mean a billion years ago.
 
The scarps, or cliffs, extend across some small craters, and small craters tend to be obliterated over time, Watters explained in a telephone interview. In addition, there are no large craters imposed on top of the scarps, another indication they are relatively recent, in planetary terms, he said.
 
“One of the really cool parts of this ... the faults are so young-looking that you can’t escape the possibility that this contraction occurred recently, and could indicate that the moon is still active,” Watters said.
 
The size of the scarps indicates a shrinkage in the size of the moon of about 100 meters (328 feet), which would not be nearly enough to be noticed with the naked eye. The moon is about one-fourth the size of the Earth in diameter.
 
The scarps range up to 10 meters (a little over 30 feet) high and a few kilometres long, he said. By comparison, the planet Mercury has much larger scarps indicating considerably more shrinkage over time.
 
The moon’s not going to disappear and its shrinkage will not affect the Earth in any way, Watters stressed.
 

 

Date created : 2010-08-20

  • SPACE

    NASA finds a "significant amount" of water on the moon

    Read more

  • SPACE

    NASA 'bombs' the moon to find water

    Read more

  • SPACE

    NASA launches successor to space shuttle

    Read more

COMMENT(S)