New study casts dark cloud over future human Moon missions

New study casts dark cloud over future human Moon missions

Casting a dark cloud over future human Moon missions, a new study has warned that Earth’s only natural satellite is being bombarded by fast-moving space rocks and chunks of debris more frequently than previously estimated.

An analysis of images captured by NASA’s Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter, a team of scientists found that Moon is being bombarded by falling space rocks at a rate 100 times faster than impact models earlier suggested.

They observed 47,000 more subtle surface changes on Moon and found 222 craters that appeared on the surface after the first Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter images were taken, which is 33 per cent more than estimated by current models.

Lead author Emerson Speyerer said, “As the mission continues, the odds increase of finding larger impacts that occur more infrequently on the moon. Such discoveries will enable us to further refine the impact rate and investigate the most important process that shapes planetary bodies across the solar system.”

Unlike earth, Moon has no atmosphere. Thus, falling space rocks or chunks of debris don’t burn up like they do when they fall on our planet. They also concluded that Moon will continue to get bombarded by falling rocks, raising concern that future moon missions will face a notably higher risk of being hit by a rock.

The researchers detailed their findings online in the Oct. 12th issue of the journal Nature.



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