(PHOTOS) Moon, Shrinking?

by the Left Coast Rebel

The moon is shrinking? Essentially in layman's terms, the moon's core is becoming cooler, thereby drawing the rest of the moon's matter inward.

Guardian explains some of the science-stuff:

Astronomers have declared that the moon is shrinking after spotting wrinkles all over the lunar surface. The tell-tale contraction marks were discovered by US scientists who examined thousands of photographs of the moon's surface taken by a Nasa orbiter.

Some of the wrinkles are several miles long and rise tens of metres above the dusty terrain. Researchers believe they arise from the moon decreasing in size by around 200 metres across its diameter. The moon's mean diameter is generally calculated to be 2,159 miles.

The prospect of a shrinking moon is not new to planetary experts. When the moon formed it had a hot core, much like that of the Earth, which caused it first to expand and then contract as it cooled down.

The latest findings suggest the moon could still be cooling, a process that causes the surface to compress and form the wrinkle-like features, known as lobate scarps.

A team led by Thomas Watters at the Smithsonian Institution in Washington DC studied high-resolution images of the moon taken over the past year by Nasa's latest moon probe, the Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter. The spacecraft cameras provide the most detailed images of the moon ever taken from orbit.

This image from the Register shows the 'wrinkles' or lobate scarps that point to the fact that that the moon is shrinking:

http://regmedia.co.uk/2010/08/20/moon_scarp.jpg

And another from Fox News:

http://www.foxnews.com/static/managed/img/Scitech/lobate-scarps-lunar-surface_604x341.jpg

Image: Moon wrinkles or lobate scarps.


The moon's landscapes named:

http://asset-server1.libsyn.com/show/k-bf1a0361d39f0a40/assets/moon.jpg

Image: Landscapes of the moon

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