Humans Aren’t the Only Thing that Shrink with Old Age

Over the last hundreds of thousands of years, the moon has began to cool and shrink. The moon’s interior is shrinking due to the cooling that’s causing thrust faults, or “wrinkles” to form on the crust. The National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) explains these thrust faults as, “one piece of the crust is pushed on top of a neighboring section.” This action is what is causing the moon to lose surface area.

To put this into perspective, picture a big grape. As time goes on the grape will turn into a little raisin. This is what is happening to our moon. Even Mercury’s moon has shrunk due to thrust faults. Dr. Thomas Watters, a researcher at the Center for Earth and Planetary Studies, said, “Based on the size of the scarps [a steep bank], we estimate the distance between the moon’s center and its surface shrank by about 300 feet.” This shrinking also makes the moon become much denser.

According to “Digital Trends,” 300 feet is quite significant, as they said. “Some of the wrinkles were formed as recently as 40 million years ago, which is fairly recent in geological terms.”

The cooling of the moon is not caused by us on Earth. It is due to the moons moulton mantle not being hot enough to warm the crust as the Earth’s mantle can.

Not only is the cooling causing our moon to cave in on itself, it is also causing quakes. Scientists refer to these quakes as ‘moonquakes’. NASA says that “many of them occurred near scarps, implying that the forces creating the scarps also caused the quakes, and they continue to shape the lunar surface.” The quakes on the moon are much like those on Earth, and some can be compared to a level five earthquakes.

The website “NASA Believes the Moon’s Continued Shrinking Could be Causing Strong ‘Moonquakes’” explains how “President Donald Trump would request an additional $1.6 billion from surplus Pell Grant funds to speed up NASA’s return to the Moon.” This money will help astronauts go to the moon in 2024 in order to research this phenomenon and have the first woman step foot on the Moon.