Space stunner: Moon is shrinking, shocking study reveals

Rodiano Bonacci
Mag 15, 2019

The space agency chief was speaking after US President Donald Trump announced an additional $1.6 billion to go towards accelerating the lunar programme. Democrats in the House have been particularly critical of the White House's plan, calling it a political gambit, timed to align with the elections calendar.

Mr Trump's initial budget proposal had sought to cut the program's federal financing by 90 per cent. If they were very old, from a much earlier period in the Moon's history, then they would have filled in over the years with debris from crater impacts and other surface disruptions. Instead, any ongoing lunar geological resurfacing would be produced by the slow dissipation of heat from the Moon's core and the tidal stresses that Earth puts on Luna as it orbits.

The proposed increase would bring NASA's total spending level for the 2020 fiscal year to $22.6 billion.

But NASA is pursuing its revised target with a renewed vigour. Instead, it pays Russian Federation more than $80 million a seat to fly its astronauts to the International Space Station. The video covers moon landing efforts, but also the concept of an orbital Deep Space Gateway as a stepping stone to Mars.

Bridenstine added: "The president has granted us 1.6 billion additional dollars, that didn't come from the science mission directorate, it didn't come from the International Space Station - 1.6 billion additional dollars for our acceleration of the lunar programme so that we can get the next man and the first woman to the surface of the moon".

In a press release, NASA said, "To land American astronauts on the Moon by 2024, we are working through the acquisition approach for the various projects. In the coming years, we will need additional funds", he told reporters on a telephone conference call on May 14.

"We found that a number of the quakes recorded in the Apollo data happened very close to the faults seen in the [NASA's Apollo and Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter missions] LRO imagery".

The increased funding request, comes nearly two months after Vice President Mike Pence declared the objective of shortening by four years NASA's previous timeline for putting astronauts back on the moon for the first time since 1972. Many lawmakers would likely bristle against the notion that a popular student aide program is being used.

"NASA employees that are there can reach back into the agency and pull in computational fluid dynamics, they can pull in more resources, etc to help these small companies move forward, so we can truly partner", Gerstenmaier said.

"We will see various reactions" from Congress, he said. "Why do we go to the Moon?".

There have only been six times that astronauts have walked on the Moon, all of which were carried out by NASA as part of its Apollo program. That would be followed by another mission, with astronauts in the Orion crew capsule, for a trip around the moon.

"It's really remarkable to see how data from almost 50 years ago and from the LRO mission has been combined to advance our understanding of the Moon while suggesting where future missions intent on studying the Moon's interior processes should go", said LRO Project Scientist John Keller of NASA's Goddard Space Flight Center in Greenbelt, Maryland. The photo below shows the Lee-Lincoln fault scarp, which measures about 80 meters (262 feet) high, as seen during the Apollo 17 moon landing in 1972.

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