However, when a team of researchers used a new computer model to pinpoint the epicenter of the N9 earthquake, they found that it overlapped with almost half of the potential landing sites.
The magenta dot on this LRO image of the Moon’s south pole is the likely epicenter of the N9 event. The shaded area surrounding this potential epicenter cluster covers nearly half of Artemis III’s potential landing site.Credit: NASA/LROC/ASU/Smithsonian Institution
“Our modeling suggests that shallow lunar earthquakes, which can cause strong ground shaking in the Antarctic region, could be generated by slip events on existing faults or the formation of new thrust faults. ” said Tom Watters, research director at the Smithsonian Institution. told NASA.
“When planning the location and stability of a permanent outpost on the Moon, consider the global distribution of young thrusts, their potential for activation, and the potential for new thrusts to emerge from ongoing global contraction. The possibility of an overlying fault forming should be considered,” Watters advised.
Here, a map of the potential instability of the crater’s slope has been added to the N9 earthquake hypocenter map and shows that if a similar lunar earthquake were to occur, Shackleton Crater (an important site where water ice deposits could be found) location) is likely to be unstable. Credit: NASA LRO/Watters et al., 2024
And there are thousands of these young seismic faults on the moon.
During its first 10 years of operation, from 2009 to 2019, NASA’s Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter discovered about 3,500 relatively recent fault lines on the moon’s surface, all of which are part of the lunar continuation. This was caused by a reduction in Researchers examining LRO images captured evidence of landslides and even traces left by large rocks rolling down slopes as a result of activity along these faults.
This LRO image reveals a geological formation known as the “escarpment” near the moon’s south pole. A cliff is a cliff-like formation that resembles a small staircase on the moon’s surface. They form when the moon’s surface contracts and breaks, causing one side of the fault to push up and cover the other side.Credit: NASA/LRO/LROC/ASU/Smithsonian Institution
according to Nicholas SchumerCo-authors of the University of Maryland study say the moon’s surface is mostly gravel and dust, and that material has been reshaped over billions of years by asteroid and comet impacts.