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New images show that as the moon cools, it is shrinking

The unchanging moon humans gaze up at every night may be slightly smaller than the one our ancestors saw, recent research by U.S. scientists suggests.
Darren Williams, associate professor of astronomy at Penn State Erie, says new high-resolution images released by NASA show distinctive cliffs, called lobate scarps, all over the surface of the moon, evidence that the moon is getting gradually smaller.

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Full Moons Get Electrified by Earth's Magnetic "Tail"

When the moon is full, it develops a strong electric field near the surface as it swings through Earth's magnetic "tail," according to new observations from a Japanese probe.
Earth's magnetic field creates a protective bubble known as the magnetosphere, which surrounds the planet and shields us from solar wind - a rush of charged particles, or plasma, constantly streaming from the sun.

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The Earth may have played a major role in shaping the lunar surface, according to a new research study by US researchers.
The team members say our planet's gravitational pull distorted the shape of the Moon in ancient times.
This led to "bulging" at the equator and could explain why the far side is more elevated than the near side of the Moon even today.

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The unfamiliar farside of the moon

Visually combining data sets makes it easier to synthesize information and increase comprehension. Maurice Collins used LTVT to overlay the 35 year old geologic map of the Moon from the US Geological Survey on the new high resolution digital topographic map from LRO's LOLA altimeter. The version of the geologic map used came from the Virtual Moon Atlas.
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Highest Point on the Moon

Over the course of the Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter mission, the LOLA team has diligently watched as the highest point on the Moon got higher and higher. No, the Moon is not expanding, but rather the LOLA profile coverage increases each month so the chances increase that a ground track will pass directly over, or very near to the highest point. Once the LOLA team had the spot narrowed down to a small area, the LROC team commanded a NAC stereo pair (12 August 2010) to get an even higher resolution measurement of the elevation and coordinates of the highest point. Once the stereo pair was on the ground, the LROC team processed the images into a digital elevation model (DEM), or topographic map.
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Scientists from NASA's Diviner Lunar Radiometer Experiment team have detected the widespread presence of water ice in large areas of the moon's south pole.
Their findings appear Oct. 22 in two papers published in the journal Science. The research was funded by NASA.

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Slipher crater
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Over time, the surface of the Moon fractures and buckles as it cools and shrinks, resulting in spectacular landforms. Stereo images provided by the LROC NAC allow a detailed look at these amazing features; view is to the east, foreground to background distance is ~3 km [NASA/GSFC/Arizona State University].
The wall of Slipher crater is deformed by one of many scarps found in the lunar highlands, which are thought to form as the Moon shrinks due to magma deep inside the Moon cooling and freezing to solid rock. Unlike water-ice (ice floats), most rocks are denser than their magma (you can think of water as magma and ice as rock), meaning rocks occupy less volume than their parent melt. As the interior of the Moon shrinks due to this volume change, the outer crust of the Moon wrinkles and folds, and the linear, rounded shape of the lobate scarp occurs as the crust breaks and one segment is thrust on top of another.

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Three Moon Craters Named After Chinese Scientists

The International Astronomic Union (IAU) has named three impact craters on the moon after Chinese scientists Cai Lun, Bi Sheng and Zhang Yuzhe, the State Administration of Science, Technology and Industry for National Defence (SASTIND) announced Monday.
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Shrinking moon may explain lunar quakes

The moon has shrunk in the past billion years, and may still be shrinking today, triggering moonquakes and making the moon a more active body than previously thought.
The shrinkage has wrinkled parts of the moon's surface like a raisin, creating pinched formations called lobate scarps.
Apollo astronauts imaged some of these wrinkles near the moon's equator 40 years ago. Now, new images from NASA's Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter (LRO) have revealed 14 more. Some of these lie near the poles, showing that the scarps occur all over the moon's surface.

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The International Astronomical Union (IAU) has approved the names Bi Sheng, Cai Lun, and Zhang Yuzhe for features on the Moon.


Bi Sheng is a 55-km-wide crater, located at Latitude 78.4, Longitude 148.6, named after a Chinese inventor (c. 990-1051).

Cai Lun is a 43-km-wide crater, located at Latitude 80.3, Longitude 113.5, named after a Chinese inventor (c. 57-121).

Zhang Yuzhe is a 35-km-wide crater, located at Latitude -69.1, Longitude -137.8, named after a Chinese astronomer(1902-1986).




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