New images of the moon’s surface taken from the Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter Camera show fault lines with a surprising explanation: the moon may be shrinking. Writing in the journal Science, researchers describe the “lobate scarps,” a type of thrust faults that occur primarily in the lunar highlands. Characteristics of the faults indicate that the moon has shrunk significantly in the recent past—a change the researchers suspect is due to cooling of the moon. We’ll talk about the research and what it might mean.
Thomas R. Watters is a senior scientist at the Center for Earth and Planetary Studies at the Smithsonian National Air and Space Museum in Washington, D.C.