Trash the Textbooks: New Moon Volcano Data May Change Everything

Rhykker

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Trash the Textbooks: New Moon Volcano Data May Change Everything



Volcanoes may have continued to be active on the moon much more recently than previously believed, according to new research based on NASA data.

According to new analyses of images taken by moon [http://www.escapistmagazine.com/tag/view/nasa] may have been off by an order of magnitude. For a long time, the moon was believed to be have been a geologically dead world for at least 1 billion years, but newer estimates now put this number at under 100 million.

"This finding is the kind of science that is literally going to make geologists rewrite the textbooks about the moon," says John Keller, Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter (LRO) project scientist.

In a paper published in Nature Geoscience [http://www.nature.com/ngeo/journal/vaop/ncurrent/full/ngeo2252.html], researchers analyzed LRO images of dozens of irregular patches on the moon's surface that are believed to be ancient lava flows. Some of these patches are believed to be less than 100 million years old, with one patch in particular estimated to be less than 50 million years old.

"The existence and age of the irregular mare patches tell us that the lunar mantle had to remain hot enough to provide magma for the small-volume eruptions that created these unusual young features," says Sarah Braden, lead author of the study.

Dating estimation of lunar surface features is based on "crater counting." This method assumes that impact craters slowly accumulate over time, so older surfaces are expected to be more heavily cratered than younger features. Further, if a feature has a crater, than means it is older than the crater; but if a feature infills or overlaps a crater, than it is younger than the crater. These estimates are calibrated using moon rock samples that have been dated.

Combine this research with another recent paper suggesting that the moon was more geologically active than we previously believed [http://www.escapistmagazine.com/news/view/137823-Ancient-Magma-Beneath-Moons-Surface-Suggests-Past-Tectonic-Activity], and it's an exciting time to be in lunar research.


Source: CNET [http://www.cnet.com/news/nasa-those-moon-volcanoes-kept-on-cranking/]

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Aug 1, 2010
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It's always fun when they discover new things like this, especially when we find new things in something we thought we had already explored.

But unfortunately the scientists are wasting their time. The geological activity and whatnot is obvious just the giant Space Butterfly Dragon getting ready to hatch.
 

Bke

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No hypotheses on why this happened? The article linked mention none. Unfortunate... but it probably mean that more data is needed before drawing final conclusions
 

Baresark

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In the end, the data is going to be ultimately inconclusive until geologists get to the moon to study it directly... which I don't see happening anytime soon. You can only get so much from looking at something from 239k miles away.
 

Pyrian

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Short of a substantial coincidence, this strongly suggests that the moon is still geologically active, and will have more volcanoes in the future. 50 million years is, what, about 1% of its lifespan?
 

blackrave

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Baresark said:
In the end, the data is going to be ultimately inconclusive until geologists get to the moon to study it directly... which I don't see happening anytime soon. You can only get so much from looking at something from 239k miles away.
Yeah, this^

Sadly only real way to study this info is going there and building permanent (more or less) scientific base
But I guess personnel rotation would be quite high (since low-g isn't exactly beneficial for skeletons)
 

synobal

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Damn scientists they don't know anything! I swear we never have this problem with religion (my neighbor on the subject).
 

DoPo

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Really? NASA are the ones who should trash their textbooks - what kind backwards "science" are they up to over there? Are they also going to claim the world is flat? I mean, come on SPSM institute of Astronomy has already proven there is no moon [http://www.escapistmagazine.com/videos/view/loadingreadyrun/6959-Thats-No-Moon]
 

Pyrian

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BigTuk said:
Listen the moon may have had more geologic activity simply becauses it was much closer to the earth at that time. Beleive it or not the moon's orbit isn't stable.. it drifts a little further from the earth each year. Not alot but if you add up the change ove a hundred million years you're talking about miles and kilometers.
As I mentioned earlier, 50 million years is about 1% of the moon's lifespan. There's nothing special about the changes in the last 1% that suggests that the next 1% will be different. Sure, it's slightly farther away now, but it's going to be slightly farther away in another 50 million, too.

BigTuk said:
Given that the force of gravity is directly proportional to distance.
Not literally directly; it's an inverse square law. So if you double the distance, the force drops by a factor of four.