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Moon NASA Science

Moon May Not Be As Dead As We Thought 120

Posted by timothy
from the lunological-activity dept.
rivin2e writes "It would seem our neighbor, the moon, has something hidden below the surface. 'Images collected by the Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter hints the moon has probably seen tectonic activity within the last 50 million years.' It would appear from the article that the moon is changing a lot more than we think, even if it doesn't seem like it. I, for one, am still waiting for that big black obelisk to be dug up." From NASA's press release: "A team of researchers analyzing high-resolution images obtained by the Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter Camera (LROC) show small, narrow trenches typically much longer than they are wide. This indicates the lunar crust is being pulled apart at these locations. These linear valleys, known as graben, form when the moon's crust stretches, breaks and drops down along two bounding faults. A handful of these graben systems have been found across the lunar surface."
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Moon May Not Be As Dead As We Thought

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  • by mestar (121800) on Tuesday February 21, 2012 @12:23PM (#39112069)

    It is obvious. The moon is growing.

    • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

      by Anonymous Coward

      It's not growing--something inside it is ready to burst out. This must be what the Mayans were talking about.

      • Re: (Score:2, Funny)

        by Anonymous Coward
        It's the First Angel, Adam.
        The Second Impact occurs 12 years later than we thought, but it's imminent.
      • by fedos (150319) <allen.bouchard@nOsPaM.gmail.com> on Tuesday February 21, 2012 @12:56PM (#39112609) Homepage
        It's a mutant space goat. We better get the telephone cleaners and hair dressers loaded onto B Ark.
        • by Coisiche (2000870)

          Well, it was a book of it's time.

          I think in the modern world, we of the 99% know exactly who the real drains on society who should be on the B ark are.

        • It's a mutant space goat. We better get the telephone cleaners and hair dressers loaded onto B Ark.

          A bit of Douglas Adams humor that's often overlooked is the final sequel to the story: all the people left on the planet, the ones who would've been in the A and C arks, were killed by a disease caught from a dirty telephone, because they'd gotten rid of all their telephone sanitizers. The people on the B ark ended up outliving all the "useful" people, a point that is wilfully missed by most readers who identify with the A and C ark people. I'm pretty sure Douglas Adams knew exactly how this would be read

        • by bryan1945 (301828)

          No. FSM is making his Noodly Reappearance!

      • by Beardo the Bearded (321478) on Tuesday February 21, 2012 @01:14PM (#39112889)

        I'm not worried. The last time any Gods showed up, we killed it -- nailed the fucking thing to a cross and let it bleed to death. This was during the Roman Empire when the highest technology was what, a slightly faster chariot? A Galleon with archers on deck?

        It's 2012. We've got battleships, satellites, hypersonic jet aircraft, helicopter gunships, atomic weapons, and a grudge deeper than Mariana's Trench.

        You want to destroy the Earth? Well, you'll have to get through us first.

        • by osu-neko (2604)

          Indeed. It used to be that only gods could destroy cities in an instant, and took 40 days to destroy the whole world. Now we can do better. We've leveled up beyond that in the last century.

          Oh wait... what if the gods have leveled up too? They seem to have been gone for a while, but perhaps they've just be running a particularly long instance for XP and awesome loot? This could be bad...

        • by bryan1945 (301828)

          Beardo, meet Cthulhu. Cthulhu, meet Beardo. I'm outta here!

        • I've got mod points, but I couldn't find the mod for +1, way too cool.

          Gotterdammerung!

      • by hairyfeet (841228)
        Just don't go near the pole [yahoo.com] man and you'll be alright. Oh and if anything twitches KILL IT!
    • by g0bshiTe (596213)
      The moon isn't growing. It's due to Mooninite overpopulation.
    • by MadMoses (151207)

      You might be joking, but there is a hypothesis that it actually is growing:
      http://www.nealadams.com/sciencedown/sciencepremium.html [nealadams.com]

  • Moon... dead? (Score:5, Interesting)

    by girlintraining (1395911) on Tuesday February 21, 2012 @12:24PM (#39112085)
    I'm not sure tectonic plate activity really moves a planet over from the 'dead' category to the 'mostly dead' category (also known as 'slightly alive'). Unless of course you just found Thor hanging out there running around banging mountains flat or something.

    Perhaps you meant to say "Moon not as geologically stable as we thought." ?

    • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

      by chill (34294)

      Its not fooling anyone, you know? The moon'll be stone dead in a moment.

    • Re:Moon... dead? (Score:4, Insightful)

      by Kjella (173770) on Tuesday February 21, 2012 @12:50PM (#39112521) Homepage

      Dead as in inert, inactive like a dead volcano. Not everything we describe as dead was ever alive...

      • Dead as in inert, inactive like a dead volcano. Not everything we describe as dead was ever alive...

        These words, they do not mean what you think they mean. In this context, dead is used as an adjective: and in that context it means no longer living, deprived of life, not endowed with life, inanimate, resembling death, bereft of sensation: numb, etc. There is no definition of "dead" which does not imply it was once alive.

        The moon is dead. It has been dead for a very long time. It is bereft of life. Nothing grows on the Moon. Nothing is alive on the moon except the occasional man from Ohio which, for yet u

      • by Kittenman (971447)

        Dead as in inert, inactive like a dead volcano. .

        Well, it may not be inert, but it's a long way from being ert. (With apologies to P.G. Wodehouse)

    • by equex (747231)
      Isn't it just gravity pull from the earth ? Lots of other moons in our solar system has gravity trenches.
      • I'm pretty sure they took that into account. They can even reproduce the effects of the moons gravity on our oceans in simulations. The other moons that contain trenches from the pull of a planets gravity "Titan, Europa" are orbiting Saturn which is 95 times the mass of the earth.

        Not that it isn't possible. Our scientific theories keep being revised as we learn more but that's just it. It would be unlikely that it is caused by earths gravity and we should invest our research in other possibilities th
    • by mikael (484)

      It's life jim, but not as we know it. What they are saying is that these crinkles are forming as the moon is slowly contracting inwards?

      Has any compared visually, high-resolution photographs taken from the 1960's (or whenever photographs were first taken) against photographs now, using something basic like ImageMagick subtract? Just to see what changes have occurred?

    • I'm not sure tectonic plate activity really moves a planet over from the 'dead' category to the 'mostly dead' category (also known as 'slightly alive'). Unless of course you just found Thor hanging out there running around banging mountains flat or something.

      Perhaps you meant to say "Moon not as geologically stable as we thought." ?

      I don't know, can we still try a miracle asteroid with chocolate frosting (to make it go down easier)?

  • by Anonymous Coward

    I will assume that it is no moon, but is, in fact, a battle station.

  • Yeah, yeah. (Score:5, Funny)

    by pushing-robot (1037830) on Tuesday February 21, 2012 @12:25PM (#39112115)

    We all know this is just marketing for Iron Sky. [wikipedia.org]

  • I, for one, am still waiting for that big black obelisk to be dug up.

    Obelisk [wikipedia.org]? Really? Not a 1:4:9 rectangular solid?

    • I, for one, am still waiting for that big black obelisk to be dug up.

      Obelisk [wikipedia.org]? Really? Not a 1:4:9 rectangular solid?

      I believe the word you are looking for is 'monolith'.

      • Why do you assume the series stops at 1:4:9 ?
        • by Dogtanian (588974)

          Why do you assume the series stops at 1:4:9 ?

          Does this mean it's 16:9 widescreen in the third and fourth dimensions?

          Does the Monolith support 1080p? At any rate, I hear that they're extremely black and non-reflective, so contrast and saturation should be absolutely excellent on them. Plus I hear that these are *very* smart TVs.

          They'll still be out-of-date in a couple of years time, though.

    • by Gideon Wells (1412675) on Tuesday February 21, 2012 @12:33PM (#39112229)

      Oh sure, hold up the 1:4:9s as the standard of beauty. Anorexic slabs. Its bad enough that they go through purge cycles. Just look at what they did to Jupiter. Now if they maintained a healthy mass...

      • by Sulphur (1548251)

        Oh sure, hold up the 1:4:9s as the standard of beauty. Anorexic slabs. Its bad enough that they go through purge cycles. Just look at what they did to Jupiter. Now if they maintained a healthy mass...

        You didn't say that when they discovered Alice Kramden.

    • by rivin2e (1738784)
      As i just replied to someone else, its been a while since i read the book. My mistake.
  • No volcanos (Score:4, Interesting)

    by i kan reed (749298) on Tuesday February 21, 2012 @12:26PM (#39112123) Homepage Journal

    Regardless of the facts concerning the moon's plate tectonics, there's a lot of evidence of how dead it is in the lack of active volcanoes. Earth has 2-5 eruptions each year, the moon has none, as long as we've been observing it. Any active mantle, must therefor be deep below the crust. I've heard it said that tidally locked planetoids elsewhere in the solar system have some high energy earthquakes due to the relative forces on their near and far faces. Perhaps this is like that?

    • Re:No volcanos (Score:5, Interesting)

      by vlm (69642) on Tuesday February 21, 2012 @12:41PM (#39112355)

      Another good point in favor of dead moon is the seismological studies that were done. Supposedly all evidence at that time pointed to a solid body. For example seismic waves reflect off solid/liq transition boundary, you see that on earth, not on moon, so either the entire moon is liquid or the entire moon is solid, and surface studies clearly show its solid, so the inside must also be solid. Plate tectonics are much harder if the whole moon is a solid cold rock.

      Probably a good excuse to visit the moon again... drop a permanent base, several geologists with moon buggies and C-4 to run some standard seismic surveys...

      • by steelfood (895457)

        How about we ditch the base and buggies, keep the C-4, and swap those geologists with lawyers, politicians, and media company executives?

      • Speaking as a geologist who would go on that mission in a heartbeat, even if it was one-way: you can do it with robots, and so there's no way you'd be able to convince any funding bodies to fund a manned mission. If a manned mission/moon base is planned for other reasons as well, of course, then it certainly would be a lot easier to do it with moon buggies than with slow robots.

        • by vlm (69642)

          you can do it with robots, and so there's no way you'd be able to convince any funding bodies to fund a manned mission

          Ask your friends in engineering, we'll find a way. Probably you're right, dozens (hundreds?) of little RC cars with C4 and geophones driving everywhere, but you're gonna need a RC car mechanic back at the garage to maintain the cars, replacing wheel bearings if nothing else, and may as well make that dude a geologist too...

    • Re:No volcanos (Score:4, Informative)

      by mbone (558574) on Tuesday February 21, 2012 @12:50PM (#39112519)

      ...the moon has none, as long as we've been observing it.

      Don't be so sure [columbia.edu].

      The Moon has shallow (non-tidal) Moonquakes [nasa.gov]. No one knows much about their causes.

      No other solar system body (except, of course, for the Earth) has had any seismological data at all. (One of the Viking landers had a working seismometer; it was totally swamped by wind vibrations; at most it may have detected the grand total of one Marsquake, but that's not clear.)

      • by mbone (558574)

        Oh, and I can't resist commenting that the fully functional Apollo seismological network was shut off to save $ 200,000 per year, and that Senator Proxmire was proud to be responsible for this saving of government waste.

    • Re:No volcanos (Score:4, Informative)

      by stjobe (78285) on Tuesday February 21, 2012 @01:38PM (#39113229) Homepage

      Earth has 2-5 eruptions each year

      That's off by a factor of ten.

      From wikipedia [wikipedia.org]: "Presently there are about 500 active volcanoes in the world – the majority following along the Pacific 'Ring of Fire' – and around 50 of these erupt each year.[6] The United States is home to 50 active volcanoes.[7] There are more than 1,500 potentially active volcanoes.[8] An estimated 500 million people live near active volcanoes.[9]"

  • It's a Moonquake!

    • by Chas (5144)

      You can't run on the moon. If you do, the combination of low gravity and leg power will push you into orbit.

      So "Shuffle really really fast man!"

      • by riverat1 (1048260)

        Ooh, you awakened the pedant in me. I doubt you could achieve orbit around the Moon on human power alone.

        According to the Wikipedia article on orbital speed [wikipedia.org] orbital velocity for a circular orbit where the orbiting body's mass is small compared to the body being orbited is approximately equal to sqrt(u/a) where u is actually the Greek letter mu and the standard gravitational parameter [wikipedia.org] and a is the length of the semi-major axis which for a circle is the radius. So the SGP for the Moon (from the Wikipedia ar

        • an orbital velocity of 2.82 km/sec or 10152 km/hr. That would be pretty difficult to achieve on human power.

          Noted, Added propulsion will be required - I vote for White Castle Sliders.

          They can cause liftoff in earths gravity well at times.

  • by na1led (1030470) on Tuesday February 21, 2012 @12:29PM (#39112175)
    An obelisk is a tall pointed structure, the monolith in 2001 was not pointed, it was rectangular.
  • by Galaga88 (148206) on Tuesday February 21, 2012 @12:32PM (#39112213)

    Science Max: It just so happens that your moon here is only MOSTLY dead. There's a big difference between mostly dead and all dead. Mostly dead is slightly alive. With all dead, well, with all dead there's usually only one thing you can do.

    Inigo Moontoya: What's that?

    Science Max: Go through its craters and look for loose helium-3.

    • by Anonymous Coward

      Sir, if this post doesn't have a +5 (Inconceivable) rating by the end of the day - you have been robbed.

      • by yurtinus (1590157)
        Oh gods, my kingdom for an Inconceivable mod!!!
      • by lennier (44736)

        Sir, if this post doesn't have a +5 (Inconceivable) rating by the end of the day - you have been robbed.

        As we all know, Slashdot is populated entirely by criminals.

  • Weren't they saying last year that these were ancient lava tubes that had collapsed?

    • Re:Lava Tubes (Score:5, Interesting)

      by bmo (77928) on Tuesday February 21, 2012 @12:43PM (#39112413)

      But that was before they got a closer look.

      When the model changes to accept new data, we call it science.

      When the model never changes and rejects all new data, we call it religion and dogma.

      Hope this helps.

      --
      BMO

      • by idontgno (624372)
        Even religion can change the model, [wikipedia.org] once in a while.
        • by bmo (77928)

          The model really didn't change.

          Just a bunch of smaller models spun off of it with more rigid thinking.

          What changed was the politics.

          --
          BMO

      • by yurtinus (1590157)
        So what you're saying is... Science was wrong and will always be wrong!!! Praise Jesus!
        • by tompaulco (629533)
          Hawkin's Theory of Progress: "Progress does not consist of replacing a theory that is wrong with one that is right. It consists of replacing a theory that is wrong with one that is more subtly wrong."
  • by mbone (558574) on Tuesday February 21, 2012 @12:39PM (#39112333)

    The Moon has Transient Lunar Phenomena [columbia.edu] - lights and other features that come and go. These have
    been observed enough, over a long enough time, and are correlated enough with recent lunar features to make me think they are real.

    So to me, the real questions is, are these LRO features correlated with the TLP locations ?

  • Couldn't these formations be caused by Earth's tidal forces instead of tectonic ones?

    • by mikael (484)

      Tidal forces would cause the moon to squash and stretch, if it rotated, like Earth's oceans. But the moon is gravity locked to facing the Earth.

      There are line formations on Earth, I'm curious about this formation in the North Sea?

      Google Ocean maps [g.co]

  • It's only mostly dead!

    (It was either that, or yet another Parrot Sketch reference.)

  • the blue planet next to it?

  • Upgraded (Score:3, Funny)

    by MadKeithV (102058) on Tuesday February 21, 2012 @12:53PM (#39112555)
    The moon has been upgraded from "harmless" to "mostly harmless" then?
  • by Lucky75 (1265142) on Tuesday February 21, 2012 @01:08PM (#39112799)
    That's no moon!
  • I, for one, am still waiting for that big black obelisk to be dug up.

    Don't you mean the tetrahedron [wikipedia.org]?

  • The tectonic activity on the moon is caused by Chinese Teikonauts fracking the moon to extract natural gas.

  • by davidbrit2 (775091) on Tuesday February 21, 2012 @01:41PM (#39113279) Homepage

    ...small, narrow trenches typically much longer than they are wide.

    Well yeah, if they aren't, we just call them "holes".

  • Did they first rule out the earth's gravitational pull as the cause of these small delicately formed features? I am guessing not since it was not mentioned in the article.
  • Here is the top of the central peak in Tycho: http://lunarscience.arc.nasa.gov/articles/tycho-central-peak-spectacular [nasa.gov] Maybe it is a round monolith ;^)
  • It's a giant EGG!
  • Along with the body being active, moon has a active exosphere and surrounded by a sodium cloud bright enough to be seen by the unaided eye if not for the brightness of the moon's surface. This active "atmosphere" will be further investigated by LADEE, Lunar Atmosphere and Dust Environment Explorer, spacecraft being built now at NASA Ames and Space Systems Loral (on San Antonio off hwy 101 few miles north of Ames), to be launched next year. LADEE is Small Spacecraft/Big Science. http://www.nasa.gov/mission_p [nasa.gov]
  • by Ogive17 (691899) on Tuesday February 21, 2012 @02:19PM (#39113873)
    NASA should seek out Miracle Max, maybe he can help.
  • In the phrase "Ph'nglui mglw'nafh Cthulhu R'lyeh wgah'nagl fhtagn"

    R'lyeh was apparently mistranscribed by Mr Johanssen. Rl'yeh is the southern Pacific. R'lyeh is in fact, the moon.

  • It's just pining for the fjords!
  • Just wait until it opens it's eye.
  • ....Mr. Powers. As you can see, we have been busy with our new supply of red-hot mag-muh. Bwah-ha-ha....
  • Never, never discuss the earth and how brutal its inhabitants are with a Selenite and certainly not with the Grand Lunar. Else the consequences can be quite dire.

  • > has probably seen tectonic activity within the last 50 million years.

    probably, 50 million years.

    Seriously?

Put no trust in cryptic comments.

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