A recent study has revealed the craters on the surface of the Moon are forming much quicker than initially predicted. The study raises questions and worries about the future space missions on the Moon. Astronauts might be in danger because of the falling rocks coming from the Moon, as a result of those craters. If the researchers are right, more and more craters will be forming so more rocks are likely to fall. These facts are going to make it hard for astronauts to study the Moon.
The Moon has many craters on its surface. Some are even billions of years old. And because of the Moon’s lack of an atmosphere, the rocks which are falling from it do not get destroyed. On Earth, when rocks are falling, they burn in the atmosphere. And this is why the Moon’s surface is vulnerable to cosmic impacts. Many of them help with the destruction of the first layer of its surface.
Many studies have been done regarding the source and way of forming of the lunar craters. But until now, scientists did not have many information on the current speed at which the Moon craters are forming. In order to find out all of these details, the scientists analyzed some 14 000 pairs of photos which displayed the before and after status of the Moon’s surface. These images were enough for the them to understand when a crater-free area was beginning to develop one and in what period of time. study lead author Emerson Speyerer explained that it is almost impossible to distinguish a newly formed crater from an older one. So these before and after pictures were needed to reach a conclusion in regard with the age of some craters.
The researchers’ results were unexpected. 222 craters have appeared since the first image of the Moon’s surface was taken. This is almost 33 per cent more than they had initially thought. The images also showed some other structures of the surface of the Moon. For example, some volcanic deposits which may have formed more recently than initially thought.
Danger for astronauts
Speyerer said that even with these recent findings, the danger is pretty small. There are small chances that an astronaut should be hit by rocks coming from the Moon’s surface. But still, even small danger means danger. So future missions on the Moon should be well prepared for this impediment. Stronger astronaut costumes may be a good idea. Or, a thorough study of the exact time when those craters are forming. This way, the teams will know when to go on Moon without finding themselves in any danger.
NASA has reportedly confirmed a new mission which will last two years. The Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter will be studying the lunar surface and will bring back more before and after pictures. These will be then used for further analysis of the newly formed craters. This mission will also help scientists uncover more mysteries behind the formation process of the cosmic bodies. How and by what are they hit, when and how much time it takes.
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