The moon is shrinking — also, moonquakes are a thing

A new NASA report shakes up lunar geology.

  • The moon is indeed shrinking. It has been since it formed.
  • The shrinking is producing thousands of fault lines.
  • Archived seismometer data from Apollo missions show moonquakes.
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Surprising Science

Mining the Moon

How can we use the resources that are already on the Moon to make human exploration of the satellite as economical as possible?

The All-Terrain Hex-Limbed Extra-Terrestrial Explorer (ATHLETE), a prototype heavy-lift utility vehicle to support future human exploration of extraterrestrial surfaces, at right, is parked beside the Habitat Demonstration Unit - Pressurized Excursion Module (HDU-PEM), at left, a concept off-Earth living and work quarters for astronauts stationed on asteroids, the moon or Mars, 15 September 2010. Photo by: ROBYN BECK/AFP/Getty Images

If you were transported to the Moon this very instant, you would surely and rapidly die. That's because there's no atmosphere, the surface temperature varies from a roasting 130 degrees Celsius (266 F) to a bone-chilling minus 170 C (minus 274 F). If the lack of air or horrific heat or cold don't kill you then micrometeorite bombardment or solar radiation will. By all accounts, the Moon is not a hospitable place to be.

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Technology & Innovation

Behold, close-ups of the sand from around the cosmos

Think you've seen sand? You haven't seen sand.

Image source: Evil Minion on Shutterstock
  • Microscopic photography exposes the beauty and strangeness of sand.
  • Water wave action produces a startling variety of sand grains.
  • That stuff between your toes is a lot more interesting than you might think.
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Surprising Science

Black hole death: How extreme tidal forces turn humans into spaghetti

Getting to close to a black hole is a nightmare waiting to happen.

  • Like ocean tides caused by gravity, a nearby black hole would create a 'tide' inside your body, which is mostly water.
  • As your body drew nearer to the black hole, your head would be stretched away from your feet.
  • Scientists call this streching "spaghettification", from the word of spaghetti.
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Videos

In a first for humankind, China successfully sprouts a seed on the Moon

China's Chang'e 4 biosphere experiment marks a first for humankind.

Image source: CNSA
  • China's Chang'e 4 lunar lander touched down on the far side of the moon on January 3.
  • In addition to a lunar rover, the lander carried a biosphere experiment that contains five sets of plants and some insects.
  • The experiment is designed to test how astronauts might someday grow plants in space to sustain long-term settlements.
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Surprising Science